Monday, October 18, 2010

Rocky Mountain National Park

When Tiffany announced she had a conference in Denver, CO in the fall, I was excited to come along as a conference spouse. We decided to go up a day early and spend some time in the Rockies, namely Rocky Mountain National Park.

Map of our hike:

Rocky Mountain National Park

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Pictures of our trip

Rock Bottom on the Harpeth...

Pictures of the trip


Harpeth River

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Saturday, September 18, 2010

Monkey Bell Mountain Biking

I ventured out to MBSP (aka "Monkey Bell") and am starting to get my legs back. I rode 9.3 miles in just a little less than two hours...perimter red, back blue, expressway to perimiter red (again), rabbit run, lonesome blue, haynie branch (against my better judgment) and permiter red to the trailhead. Haynie Branch is a technical (not as technical as Hammy, but still lots of steep short climbs, short turns, creek crossings and big roots). I did better on HB today than I did the last time I was out there (riding a 29er may make the difference there). I think I have my legs back and need to get the new brakes put on the single speed.

Montgomery Bell State Park

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Sunday, June 6, 2010

Edwin Warner Hike - June 6, 2010

After spending a great deal of time in home improvement stores over the past couple of weeks, we decided to go to our favorite park in Nashville, Edwin Warner Park. We are excited how close the park is to our new home and took the dogs to get them some exercise and continue training them to behave while off leash in public.

As you can see in the picture above, our Yorkie-Opossum, Henry, took advantage of the new Camelbak after the heat and early hills got the best of his 4 inch legs. Must have been nice in the 90 degree heat to ride next to a Camelbak bladder full of ice-cold water. He was ready to take on any dog in the entire park after a 30-minute break/ride.

Here is our GPS track of the adventure:

Edwin Warner

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Thursday, May 27, 2010

Harpeth River Paddle - May 27 (3 weeks post-flood)

Jason and I met at 7am today at the Highway 100 bridge takeout (aka, "best takeout in Nashville" due to the nice steps that let you get out of your kayak without even getting your feet wet). We proceeded down Temple Hills Blvd to the put in on Old Natchez Trace (see map below):

Harpeth River

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This was my second time on this stretch of the river and I really enjoyed it. I need to get a 2010 fishing license and decided not to "fish dirty," thinking that almost 10 miles would take 3+ hours of straight paddling. However, the [raging] Harpeth was moving at 1.5 miles per hour, so my sturdy but slow Wilderness Systems Pamlico 100 was able to travel at almost 6mph. Jason tried several fishing spots along the way, and being good Samaritans, we stopped to clear the river of a fallen tree (cutting away at the branches). There was one spot where a large tree blocked almost the entire we had to get out of the kayaks and portage through a lot of flood debris (mainly trees, but also racquetballs and tennis balls). Under Sneed Road bridge, I made a good decision (really, a guess) and went right, passing through a 4' wide opening in the downed trees.

We encountered a couple of areas where the banks were completely washed out, a wheelbarrow suspended 30 feet in the air and one freezer, but the river was surprisingly normal-looking after the floods of May 1-2, 2010. The Harpeth at the Narrows usually has some old appliances along the banks, so things looked pretty good.

We finished with a lunch at Corner Pub (in the woods) on Highway 100. Heading back to the put-in to retrieve the Tahoe, we encountered ~15 teenagers already making the most of their summer at the rope-swing. I decided not to use the swing for fear of derogatory remarks that would be directed my way regarding my wife's bedazzled purple soft cooler and platypus (or long-billed foreign legion) hat.

Here are some pictures taken during the trip.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

I drank a lot of Percy Priest...and I feel fine

The title doesn't quite have the same ring to it as the REM song, but I felt great after drinking several pints of purified Percy Priest water during an overnighter on the lake March 8th and 9th. With nary advance notice or preparation, Jason and I decided to do the overnight trip on the lake we had been planning last summer. The weather looked good for Monday and Tuesday and our Vanderbilt and Belmont spring breaks coincided, so we decided to head out.

We launched at Mona (near Murfreesboro), paddled to near Fate Sanders to camp on an island for the night, and we made our way to the dam Tuesday morning. Here are our tracks:

Mona to camp - Percy Priest

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Camp to Dam - Percy Priest

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I felt pretty good the first day, though my kayak was pulling right. I have thought this for a while about the Essence, however, I figured it was more related to my paddling technique. After 25 miles of paddling, I was sure (and very irate) that the kayak was pulling right. My right arm probably paddled 50% more than the left to keep the kayak in a straight line. We discovered my skeg was curved when we pulled the kayaks out of the water at the dam. I contacted contacting Perception and letting them know about the problem, and a week later I had a new skeg delivered via UPS free of charge. Kudos to a company that stands behind their products!

This being my second kayak/camping trip, I am getting better at bringing only the necessities. I used almost everything I brought and didn't want for anything. I had some leftover food, but that is a good thing...nothing worse than being on an island overnight and running out of food. I need to bring a mug for the next trip...sipping hot chocolate (wait, I need to bring hot chocolate too, that was borrowed from Jason) directly from a pot that transfered heat very, very well almost resulted in leaving a millimeter of lip tissue on the hot surface.

Click here for some of my favorite pictures from the trip.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Honeymoon in Belize

Tiffany and I were married Saturday, February 20th, an unseasonably warm and beautiful day in Nashville. We stayed at the Union Station hotel and headed to Belize, a bit weary from the railroad noises all night long (seemed there was a train passing by every hour on the hour). The hotel gets great reviews all the time, but no one mentions the rail yard noise. Of course, everyone knows they are staying at a hotel called "Union Station" and perhaps expect the noises when they check in. Maybe the hotel is popular with rail aficionados?

After a full day of flying, we arrived at our resort, Turtle Inn. The resort was wonderful and we had kayaks, bikes and a tri-maran sailboat at our disposal. The kayaks were great...sit on-top models and there was a nice coast to paddle around. The tri-maran would have been nice, but years of rough use by guests (non-sailors, I presume), rendered a vessel with ripped sails and broken rudder controls. This did not deter me, but it did make for a frustrating cruise (I had to use my hands to control the rudder and find some way to hold it while I adjusted the sail). The bikes were useful, the main village of Placencia was just a mile or so away. These bikes are nothing like my mountain bikes...I would have loved to have a 29er down there. We had a wonderful week at Turtle Inn and since I am just now getting to writing a blog, I will keep this as short as possible.

Here are some pieces of gear that I was very thankful I had include:

1. Olympus Stylus Tough 6000 waterproof camera - this took some great shots while we were snorkeling, kayaking and just hanging out on the beach. Nice not having to worry about dropping the camera or getting it wet. Unlike the Titanic, the camera is not "unsinkable," so it is nice to get a floating strap like this one.

2. Long-sleeved rash guard (pic below...I am ready to snorkel!!!) - helped keep my fair skin from getting burned to a crisp. This was probably the last thing I packed...thought the water might be a bit chilly in Belize. I was wrong, but so glad to have this as the 30SPF sunscreen seemed to wear off in the salt water.

3. REI zip travel daypack - useful for holding everything from towels to water bottles, cameras and the like. This daypack compresses into a small pouch, which makes it great for also features a top cover that will keep out rain (with a compartment for easy camera access). I highly recommend this pack.

4. Salomon Techamphibian water shoes - very nice for activities. While I wanted to make it a "no-socks honeymoon," these were quite versatile (you can wear them with socks, for when you are heading back to 20 degree weather).

Monday, January 18, 2010

Urban Assault in Franklin

The weather has been very cold lately in Middle Tennessee. While many die-hards enjoy riding in 20-degree weather since the trails are frozen I prefer to wait until the thaw occurs and the trail dries out. With temps in the mid-50's on Friday, 1/15/2010, I took the Mary XC off the ceiling for a ride around Franklin/Cool Springs.

Here is a picture of the Mary XC at an idle construction site:

I am not in the least bit interested in riding roads. However, I commend the City of Franklin in the establishment of several bike lanes that do not make a mountain biker feel like they are placing their lives in the hands of a texting teenager in a Tahoe (alliteration is cool).

The bike lanes make it easy for me to get over to the east side of I-65 and ride around some construction sites (most of them idle) and feel like I am doing something other than ride sidewalks. I got 8 miles in rather quickly and would have loved to get more in, but the sun was setting quickly. There are some challenging climbs in Franklin and I am going to continue to ride streets this time of year as the trails dry out and just to get some exercise.

My path is below...note the top speed of 27mph as per the GPS!

Franklin, TN

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Saturday, January 2, 2010

Montgomery Bell Sonix Boom

On Wednesday, December 30th, I headed out for Montgomery Bell. Wednesday was a nice day, no rain and a high in the mid-50's. With rain in the forecast for the afternoon I arrived at the trailhead at 11:00 and rode until 1:00.

Both of my Mary 29ers were in the Franklin Bicycle Shop, the SS getting a Reba SL Dual Air fork and the XC getting Avid Juicy 5 hydraulic brakes (both courtesy of my wonderful fiance, Tiffany). The Sonix was my ride of choice, though I did not have a choice of rides. While I love riding 29ers and sometimes think the full suspension 26" bike might be thinned from the stable, riding the Sonix ends this thought. Shifting is smooth, so smooth it cannot be heard, and there is much less getting up off the seat while going over logs. Cornering on a 26" bike is much tighter than on a 29er.

I rode 10.2 miles, according to the perimeter, back blue, possum trot, blue yonder, lonesome blue, white pines, storm track and rabbit run.

The Franklin Bicycle Shop had my bikes ready Wednesday afternoon (just 24 hours after I dropped them off!!). I cannot wait to get the upgraded bikes out. The shop owner and I talked at length about favorite trails. I am going to try AEDC in Tullahoma next, as well as Franklin State Forest, based on his recommendations. AEDC sounds great, 13 fast and flat miles, and the same distance from Franklin as Monkey Bell. I hope to get a ride down there with friends soon.

Montgomery Bell

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