White Mts 100, 2012 version

Matt and Max (Team Green Chile?) went up to interior Alaska back in March for the White Mountains 100 Human Powered race (ski, bike, or run — we went for the fat bikes). It was a great adventure. Aven helped me pack and prepare:

We got into Anchorage and spent the first night with Gina & Harlow before going to pick up the rental bikes from Arctic Cycles.

Max was digging Alaska, and loved standing in the middle of Alaska Highway 3:

We stopped for a ride in Denali Nat’l Park and then got up to Fairbanks and enjoyed the awesome Anne & Don hospitality and some Fairbanks fun, including the ice art festival:

Then it was time to get up early, drive up to the BLM White Mountains area and face the harsh reality! Sunrise just before the race start:

The trail was fantastic and the volunteers on the trail and at the support cabins were really amazing! Max & I had lots of fun, but we finally got up to Cache Mountain Pass (~51 mile in of the 100 mile course) around 2am, with about a foot of new snow on the trail.. We decide to hitch a ride with a medic team on snowmachines (Ariana and ??). We got out to the Windy Gap cabin and got some zzz’s. Max caught the first ride out to the start/finish line, while Matt ended up hanging around the cabin due to scheduling. Windy Gap was very picturesque and the volunteers there were a fun gang to hang out with.

The ride out was spectacularly beautiful and the only thing that would have made it better would have been to still be riding the bikes. Here’s one scenery shot:

We finally made it out to the finish line with all our gear (and with lots of help from our heroes!) 🙂

We made it out to Chena Hot Springs to recover, and then zoomed down to Anchorage for the post-race party, bike returns, and then our flight home. What a trip!

I’m hoping to get back up for the White Mountains 2013, and to finally finish the darn thing!! 2012 (51 miles) was much better than 2011 (~30 miles). I still had a little bit too much gear, and I’d like to get more optimized packing. I think I need to be prepared to sleep on the side of the trail, but I think that if the conditions were the same as in 2012, I’d push on to Windy Gap on the bike and catch a few hours of sleep before heading out. But who knows what the weather and course will bring — much less if I will make it into the race (only 65 racers are allowed).

Now That’s GRAND!

We enjoyed several hikes around the Grand Canyon. We went a little way down both South Kaibab and Bright Angel Trails. My very favorite photos are Carrie and Torsten adventuring out on a little rock outcrop. Here’s two photos I took:

And Carrie’s view of the same spot:

Camping and Eighth Birthday

We spent four nights camping at Mather Campground in the Grand Canyon Nat’l Park. It got a little chilly at night, so Aven & Carrie were very glad that Nana had a hotel room.. Torsten & Matt spent all four nights in the tent, but a few nights we were glad that we had Carrie & Aven’s sleeping bags to snuggle under!! Torsten is under here somewhere:

The campsite (Thanks Mary!!) and the camping/birthday experience was fantastic for all involved:

Torsten said it was his best birthday celebration yet!

We enjoyed the wildlife and birds around our campsite:

Heading to the Grand Canyon

With great help from Mary Greene and Nana, we all went out to the Grand Canyon for Spring Break and Torsten’s eighth Birthday. It was a fantastic adventure together. First we went to Albuquerque to pick up Nana at the airport — it is always great to see her:

Mary was our fantastic geologist-on-call. She had the geologic time scale taped to the dashboard and brought several custom-made poster-size geological maps!

The scenery of the drive west along I-40 across New Mexico and Utah was enjoyable and quite iconic.

Torsten and Mary were busy making sure that the hotel we stayed at along the way was sufficiently secure:

We stopped along the drive to keep from going totally kid/road crazy. We enjoyed the Petrified Forest:

We also stopped by Meteor Crater, which has a fantastic visitor center (but a little pricey) and is quite the experience.

Dayton – Air Force Museum

At the end of February, I (Matt) had a work trip up to Dayton. I found about two hours to run through the National Museum of the Air Force. I have always loved the Smithsonian’s Air & Space Museum, and the Udvar-Hazey annex by the Dulles Airport is fantastic. But I think I have a new favorite museum.. The planes are incredible (I mean, who can go wrong with an SR-71)

and a nice DSP mockup? Oh yeah!

And getting in a fighter is cool..

But can you really beat seeing one of the Keyholes?! Much less three of ’em?? How can you beat that? I was gaga, and can’t wait to go back and get more time. Pretty amazing, when you stop and think about it..