Thursday, December 05, 2013

An attempt to ski the Superior Hiking Trail

Headed out my door and up the hill to go for a ski and enjoy the lovely sunshine after two days of snow:

My Fischer Backcountry skis waiting for their first outing this season

Where is the trail?!?

Snow depth - mid-thigh in the meadow above my house

On the Superior Hiking Trail. My poles were sinking so far I had to bend over to reach them.
Trees were coated in snow and mostly obscuring the trail. 
It ended up being a short outing. It took a long time to hike up to the trail due to the snow depth and the need to break trail the whole way.  Once I got up to the trail I discovered that I had the wrong wax and no grip. The new plan is to head back out there with snowshoes and start packing the trail down.

A little bit of knitting

I find holidays the perfect time to get a lot of knitting done. In the finished pile:

Cabled headband in 100% merino for my daughter

A pair of daily wear mittens for myself (silk/merino blend)
Not pictured are the pair of socks I finished that are already in circulation. Basic sock pattern, nothing fancy. Used up most, but by no means all, of a skein of Three Irish Girls yarn left over from a previous sock project.

On the needles and nearing completion after some time out to contemplate the appropriate edging is the Little Leaf Stripe Baby Blanket/Shawl. Still well ahead of the deadline (baby is due in March 2014).

Knitting on Isle Royale, overlooking Malone Bay.
 The bulk of the knitting was done during my vacation on the island.

Edging done on two sides, a first look at the blanket off circular needles.
About 22 inches from center to outer edge, minus the edging, unblocked.

A look at how the edging is shaped around the corners using short rows. 

Lace inserted in steps as the stitches increased. 
 As with all lace, this should be even better looking after it is blocked. The pattern will open up, the yarn will bloom, and it's true beauty will be revealed.

Winter Wonderland! Two feet of snow in two days.

Friday, November 08, 2013


Seen on my run to work Thursday morning, where the Superior Hiking Trail passes under a large willow. 

Thursday, November 07, 2013

Frosty Tuesday Run to Work

So happy to have one of my commuting routes back! Last June a massive rain event washed out many roads in Duluth. Haines Rd/40th Ave W. was one of them. It was slated for repairs prior to the flood, but this event moved things up a year. 

Helpful additions are a sidewalk along the northeastern side.
Near the corner of Haines and Skyline, looking towards the bay

Just above the hairpin curve
 A lot of earth and rock was removed in the process of rebuilding the road. Efforts have been made to protect this bare ground from erosion and to replant the area with trees.
Looking back up the hill after the hairpin curve. Lots of little trees, a run off pond on the far left of the frame and rip rap in the ditch.
 They also added a second lane for upbound traffic. This will take some getting used to for drivers. The side of the road/sidewalk are much more level then previously.

About a block above the railroad crossing As you can see, this is one of the major commuting routes.
My only complaint has to do with how the sidewalk meets up with the neighborhood walk. Oh wait... it doesn't!It just ends at the railroad tracks.  The city sidewalk dead ends into a grassy hillside at the top left of this photo. As you can see the footing is, well, interesting on this section.
Note the taconite pellets. Nothing like hitting a bunch of round pellets at the bottom of a .8 mile steep descent.
 Like many road projects in Duluth I am not sure who will be responsible for clearing the sidewalk once the snows begin to accumulate. There are no homes along this stretch of road. Since this is a county highway I am hopeful they will keep the side walk clear this winter. If not I will be running in the shoulder like I have done in the past.

It was a lovely morning to run and I stopped to capture these photos of frosty leaves just because. I am sure the neighbors were wondering what I was doing.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Sunday Hike

Headed north to look for the last of the fall colors and explore a park that I have run and hiked through a few times, but never off of the Superior Hiking Trail.

Crosby-Manitou Hike

Friday, August 30, 2013

Knitting Origami

aka Elizabeth Zimmerman's Baby Surprise Jacket.

I am continually amazed when this:

 With a fold or two:

 becomes this:

Details: Three Irish Girls Adorn Sock Yarn (80% merino/20% nylon; machine washable). Custom dyed colorways: Circuitry and Motherboard. Sz 5 (3.75mm) circular needles.

This yarn has provided the world with: a pair of socks; a hat:
The Chase or Runner's Hat
and now this sweater. I still have most of the second skein of both colors left so I think this baby will be receiving a few more handknit items. 

The sweater is sewn up (just two seams at the shoulders) and I still need to find some buttons to finish it off. Fortunately the intended recipient isn't due to arrive until March 2014 so I have a bit of time to complete my search. 

Sunday, August 25, 2013


I used to be pretty creeped out by spiders on principle. Then I attended a lecture by Larry Weber and began to find them rather fascinating. Doesn't mean I like to share my immediate living space with them, but I do now appreciate their beauty.

She has set up her web using the hops for one anchor and some blue 50 gallon barrels for another.  Contemplating naming her Charlotte, after all she is a Barn Spider, which was the model for E.B. White's main character.  Maybe she has befriended the chipmunks that live under the porch. Think I will find any writing tomorrow morning?

Thursday, August 08, 2013

What Have I Been Up To Anyway?!

It's been an interesting summer! I have been quite busy between work, volunteering and pacing/crewing for a friend who is running in the Gnarly Bandit series. 

I started a pair of socks on our way to Kettle Moraine 100 and was nearly finished with the first one when I tried it on. Hmmm.... pretty tough to get it past my heel/ankle. It otherwise fit great. I did a bit of research and thinking about what might be the issue. Then, on a commute where I was not only 'bridged' but also 'trained', I ripped back the entire sock so I could start over.

Reknitting the Chase Socks
It took a few days before I had a new plan and time to cast on. My theory is that the corrugated ribbing, which doesn't have much give, unlike traditional ribbing, is the cause. So I added 4 more stitches and started over. I have been taking my knitting everywhere with me, including onto the front porch, and have made some progress. Though the other night I spent at least an hour knitting and reknitting the same row due to repeated mistakes in implementing the pattern.  I have a couple of inches done now and will try them on again soon so as to not get so far along before discovering my error. 

While sitting on the porch I was struck by the beauty of the hop flowers.

Hop flowers

A closer look at the inflorescence
The plant covers the majority of the railing after climbing the 10-12 feet to the porch. It is a very effective screen and a haven for the chipmunk and birds that visit our feeder daily. 

I finally got out for a long run that was not part of pacing duties! Joined Jeff Allen and a host of Twin Cities runners at Taylors Falls, MN to explore trails on both sides of the river. Loved these stairs!
Steps carved into the rock at Interstate State Park, Taylors Falls, MN

Friday, June 14, 2013

Scouting the Voyageur/Curnow Course

Taken on a little outing to check out options for the Minnesota Voyageur Trail Ultra/Eugene Curnow Trail Marathon course:
Large-flowered Trillium

An interesting solution to one of the washed out spots in the Zapps Loop/Mission Creek area

Checking out a slump in the Fond du Lac neighborhood


Adoxa moschatellina - the flower

Adoxa moschatellina - the entire community in this location

More Large-flowered Trillium - they were carpeting the woods, and about a month late this year in blooming

Wood Anemone

Purple Clematis

Purple Clematis

Wild Oats

Round-lobed Hepatica

Round-lobed Hepatica



One of the Powerline hills - this part of the hill suffered a bit in the flood - getting steeper. The stream crossing is also a changed.

Slumps on both sides and a running surface about 6" wide = fun!

Another view of this section of the Powerline trail