Scilla siberica

Scilla siberica

Sunday, May 01, 2016

Spring Ephemerals on a Cool and Blustery Day

From yesterday's 16 miler at Jay Cooke State Park:
Spring Beauty (Clayton virginica)
We didn't make it half a mile before I was stopping to snap photos of some of my favorite spring wildflowers, or "old friends" as I called them to my friend Shaun.

Bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis) with Trout Lily leaves in the background
Trout Lily/Dogtooth Violet (Erythronium species)

Hepatica (Hepatica americana)
Hepatica (Hepatica americana)
Bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis)
Bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis) The leaves clasp the
flower stalk and will fully open once the flowers are done blooming.
Unknown shrub (for the moment).  Leaves were barely emerging but there were plenty of flowers!

Possibly Fragrant Sumac (Rhus aromatica)
Newcomb's has this to say "Yellowish flowers in short, dense spikes; blooms in early spring as the leaves unfold. Leaflets with blunt, coarse teeth, the terminal leaflet short-stalked or stalkless. 2-6' high. Rocky woods, w.N. Eng. to Kan. south."

Shaun insisted on a photo at this bridge.
I think I have a similar one from last year about this time. 
Spring Beauty (Clayton virginica)
Spring Beauty (Clayton virginica)
Catkin
St. Louis River was roaring! 
Looking downriver to the Swinging Bridge
Route included the following trails: Summer; Bearchase; Lost Lake (lower and upper); Spruce; Silver Creek and Ridge.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

A Little Bit of Knitting


Finished up the Baby Surprise with attached I-cord edging. This photo was taken under artificial light so the colors are off just a little bit. I still need to search out the right buttons for this little jacket. 

Three Irish Girls Adorn Sock - Everlasting Gobstopper
Every baby, boy or girl, needs a soft friend for snuggles. So, with the remnants of the sweater yarn and other sock yarn/fingering yarn I had about the house I made a Knubbelchen:



Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Catching Up - A Photo Essay

October 11th - Playing on the fat bike at Hartley Park after a trail race on one of the warmest days of the year.
Finished Wild Duluth 50K - my only ultra of 2015.
I ran this on minimal training and spent a lot of time visiting with volunteers and Hams
Tomten Jacket - knit for friends expecting their first child 
My "granddog" made an announcement
Crewed and paced Ron at a the Ozark100 mile.
In between driving to aid stations I got to hang out with Adam's wonderful crew.
Annual trip to Boulder Lake to go tree hunting
Baby booties to go along with a blanket for another friend who was expecting
Black ice + steep downhill + darkness + fat bike = sudden, and unprepared for, meeting with the ground.
A month later the scabs are finally gone and my knee cap is no longer tender to touch.
Checking out a dam on the St. Louis River during a long run
Socks for Sam! Hawk Ridge color way (Three Irish Girls Adorn Sock Yarn)
Merry Christmas from the Piedmont Trails!
Post-ride on fresh snow at Mission Creek
9th Annual Barely Organized New Years Day Run (we even had press coverage!)
Post-run potluck
One sock done!
How I custom knit socks
January 3rd - view from the newest section of the Duluth Traverse Trail overlooking Lake Superior and the Harbor
Start of the Tuscobia 150(160) bike race in Rice Lake, WI

The bathroom renovation continues with the removal of the old tub/shower unit
 and some interior walls and installation of a new tub
Ready to use! (note: this is our only bathroom so things need to be done in steps that allow for ongoing use)
Knitting Origami, otherwise known as the Baby Surprise Jacket
Fold A to A and B to B...
.... and seam the shoulders. I added a bit of applied I-cord after this photo was taken.
Once buttons have been sewn on it will be ready for the newest addition to our family. 
My fascination with lichen continues


Thursday, October 01, 2015

Look what followed me home!

Last week I received a great gift - a certificate for a fat bike. Since I was heading out of town the next day I had to delay a visit to the local dealer - Galleria Bicycle to try out bikes. The certificate was for a Framed Minnesota 2.0. I did ride their 15" model but it was too tall for me (aka, I was hitting the bar when standing over the bike). Brent the owner convinced me to try the Wolftrax, which, even though it was the same frame size, has a lower stand-over height. The fit seemed good and after thinking about it overnight I let him know I wanted to buy this bike. Luckily for me he had the color combination I wanted on hand and had it built up later that day. Sadly, I didn't have time to pick it up until today.
Framed Wolftrax 15" next to my Fit
Once I had a quick tutorial on removing and re-installing the through axle it was time to head for the trails for a quick ride before darkness fell. 
Can't ride over it, can't ride under it. 
I headed to a new section of the Duluth Traverse off of the old Mission Creek Parkway. I was joined by my daughter and son-in-law for a short bit, but due to a mechanical issue with one of their bikes I was on my own after about a mile. I was having fun learning how this bike handled on the trails and rolling over terrain that would have made me think twice on my mountain bike. I did encounter a short section with many mud puddles and dismounted and walked through a few to prevent further damage to the trail. When I reached the downed tree I took a short break to capture this photo and then lifted the bike up and over for a bit more riding.

I ended up turning around after 2.5 miles as I was loosing light fast. On the way back I flushed:
 - a grouse
 - a beaver (which ran across the trail in front of me, then waited until it was well into the pond to slap a warning)
 - a few deer

All in all it was a good first outing on the bike.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

A bit of catching up, a volunteering opportunity, late summer sightings and trail ethics

I started writing this post in the last few minutes of summer 2015. Tomorrow (now today) brings us the autumn equinox and the slow, beautiful slide towards winter. 

I am off on my annual camping trip in a day, though this time not to Isle Royale. That trip will need to be deferred a year due to lack of PTO (new job = resetting the time off clock to zero). Instead I am heading for the Sibley Peninsula and Sleeping Giant Provincial Park. If all goes well I will hike/run out to the Head of the Giant at least one day and gaze at Isle Royale across the water. 

I have hit a bit of a lull in my running, finding it quite hard to run more then about 11.5 miles at a time. This is not setting me up well for Wild Duluth 50K. But, I have decided to go with what feels like fun while running and figure the fire will rekindle in due time. I suspect several years of very stressful work conditions, coupled with my injury this spring, have emptied the tank and it will just take time to refill it. 

I did make it up to Superior 100 to volunteer this year. I did some crewing as well, though no pacing this year (just as well in light of my attitude towards long runs of late). 

I have been helping Andy and Kim Holak with recruiting and organizing volunteers for the Wild Duluth races on October 17th. If you, or anyone you know, would be interested in volunteering please contact me at lbmessereratgmaildotcom. As Robyn Reed points out in a recent blog post volunteering can make you a better runner!

Autumn Crocus - they always appear just as the seasons change
Sungold tomatoes - Mmmmmmm
Riders out after a heavy rain = wrecked trail.
This is on a brand new section (not open) of the Duluth Traverse
I was saddened to see the damage to the newly built trail above my house. I was exploring the area a couple of days after we received heavy rain (1.5 inches in an hour). This section is so new (built the previous week) that it isn't even open to riders yet. It will likely mean a delay in opening the trail due to the need for repair work. A similar situation happened at Lester Park earlier this year and resulted in a really nice section of new trail being closed a large part of the summer for repairs. Hopefully along with all the new trails will come a push by COGGs to educate the mountain biking public on trail ethics, something similar to IMBA's Rules of the Trail.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Sunday Ride - and a little running

Saturday I headed up the shore to meet up with friends for a run on the Superior Hiking Trail in the Finland area. It has been a long time since I have seen that section of trail in the daylight!

Photos from Saturday's 14 mile run:
Sam, Marcus and Ron enjoying the view from the Section 13 cliffs
Three-toothed Cinquefoil (Potentilla tridentata) - Section 13  cliffs

Beaver Pond - partway through the Co. Rd 6 - Finland section
There's a spider in there somewhere.
Swans (one was hidden in the tall grasses to the left)

Somewhat sketchy boardwalk across the beaver dam

Worth taking your time to traverse in order to avoid a swim

Glacial erratic?
Looking back at the trail from the bridge over the East Branch of the Baptism River

East Branch of the Baptism River - looking upstream


Fruit of the Nodding Trillium


Corpse Plant/Indian Pipe (Monotropa uniflora)


Lilly's Island on Sonju Lake
 I took a little break here to look around, write a note in the trail log, and remember a hike with my dog Porter (who passed away 7 years ago).

Sonju Lake

Lilly's Island

I finished up my run at Sonju Lake Rd. trailhead and then proceeded to George Crosby-Manitou State Park to wait for Sam, Marcus and Ron to finish up their run. While I waited I took a stroll around Benson Lake and scoped out some of the campsites in preparation for future trips.

Virgin's Bower (Clematis virginiana) - growing along the road/trail to Benson Lake
Fungi!
 I stopped on some rocks to wet my bandana and wash the mud off my legs only to discover a friend:
Fisher Spider (Dolomites species)
 Nestled along the rocky edge of Benson Lake I spied this plant:
Creeping Snowberry (Gaultheria hispidula)
 Apparently the leaves make an "...excellent wintergreen-flavored tea, which is also very high in caffeine" (Canoe Country Flora - Mark Stensaas) and the berries are edible, assuming you can find enough for a meal.
Benson Lake
Overall it was a great day to be out in the woods. I covered 14 miles (longest run since my injury) and my legs felt the best they have in ages. Due to my pace I was often alone, which is just what I needed to get regrounded and recuperate from a rough work week.

Sunday Mr. Wildknits and I headed out on the airheads. We took the scenic highway north to Two Harbors, then Hwy 61 to Co. Rd. 3. This gave me ample opportunity to practice my gravel road riding skills (maintained 40 mph). It also took us out of the fray that is north shore traffic during tourist season.

We made a brief stop at the Silver Bay Airport (outside of Beaver Bay), then headed to Beaver Bay for a pit stop before traveling up Co. Rd. 4/Lax Lake Rd to Hwy 1 and then on to Finland for lunch at Our Place (the pulled pork sandwich was delicious!).

From Finland our plan was to take Hwy 1 to Hwy 2 to Hwy 15 to Pequaywan Lake Rd and on back to Duluth. Unfortunately we had to detour to Two Harbors for gas (the tanks on the airheads are not all that large and gas stations are few and far between up north).

We did stop at the White Pines rest stop on Hwy 2 for a break. It is one of my favorite spots in that section. This time we didn't take stay long, but in the past have walked around and enjoyed the old growth white pines.

Taken a few years ago at the rest stop. I have since removed the back rack from my bike. 
Overall we did 180 miles. An enjoyable tour of northern Minnesota. By the time we got home my throttle hand was a bit sore (no cruise control on these older bikes). But I did become more comfortable using one foot to balance the bike at stops, with the other acting as a counter balance on the foot peg. A technique Mr. Wildknits had shown me via a Youtube video about riding tall bikes. While the R65 is not tall by most peoples standards, when you are 5' 1.5" almost every bike seems tall.