Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Playing with Blogger... trying out some new formatting and backgrounds.

I think I like it.

Do you?

Friday, August 12, 2011

12-of-12: August 2011

What a day!
We had a plan (picked out a couple good geocaches to go after) 
and then our plans got all turned around.
But that didn't seem to matter, we had a great time and took some amazing shots!

We also broke the rules for the 12-of-12 this month...
Two of us were snapping photos (the hubby and I).
We took a TON of shots (171 for the day)...
  and we couldn't edit them down any further.
So we figured, since we're making up our own rules today....
  and since there were two of us, you get 24 photos!  :)

If you want to get more info on the 12-of-12, 
visit Chad Darnell's site, he's the one who started this fun little project.

So where did we go and what did we do?
We spent this afternoon "lake hopping" around New York's Southern Tier.  
We traveled through Cattaraugus & Allegany Counties, at first looking for geocaches... 
then just looking for cool places to visit.

BTW... for each photo below, you can see a full-size version by clicking on it.

To hunt our first cache, we stopped at the Harwood Lake MUA (Multiple Use Area).  Harwood Lake is a 34-acre man-made lake used for flood control in Cattaragaus County.  The website says there are mowed paths... but except for this first entry into the park... there wasn't much mowed.
Once beyond the tunnel of brush, we found this guy...
Eastern Kingbird
The nicely mowed trail soon ran out...
I'm 5'4... these Joe-Pye Weeds were HUGE!
And we could no longer see a path to the cache we sought.  
So, we bushwhacked through the tall weeds till we came to an opening...
and found Harwood's Meadow
A gentle Monarch Butterfly
and Bumble Bee
on thistle
What's this?! A dog on a bale?

loving the tickle of the grass

... finally arriving at Harwood Lake!

The skies weren't really than ominous - just the clouds playing tricks.
  We had blazing sun not moments before the 1st photo was taken.

From here, we visited Lime Lake in Machias, NY.  The lake is almost entirely inaccessible to non-homeowners, so we were only able to catch a glimpse of the area.
Be sure to view the full-versions of these next three shots... SO MUCH DETAIL you don't want to miss!
Dragon Fly
Lily with Honey Bee
Two bees or not two bees
 We skipped the geocache in Lime-Lake, thus ending our caching plans.  
So we pulled out our trusty map and said "Where should we go next?"
then... "Hey! What's this place???"
... and off we went.

On our way, we met these beauties...

... then we arrive!
Look closely at the letters of this sign...
What's a Hanging Bog, you ask?
 After parking the car, we walk over to the bog.
About a million frogs go flying into the water as we approach (I'm not kidding).
The Hanging Bog
Bog Frog - got one!
Lily Pads
We wandered around the bog for a bit, then decided it was time to head for home.

This last shot is of Rushford Lake in Rushford, NY.  
It's another lake that is hard to get to unless you own lakefront property in the area.  
But if you take Slusher Hill Road out of Hanging Bog WMA, you'll get this awesome view.
Rushford Lake
That was our final stop of the day - our lake-hopping adventure coming to an end.  
Thanks for sharing our 12th with us.  Come back next month and see what we're up to then!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Happy Trails

What do you get when you combine Rocks, Ruts, Roots, and Running???
A wicked good time!

If you know me at all, you know that running is not my thing.
I've only been running (seriously) for about a year.  I never liked running before... actively disliked it, actually.

This dislike has continued for a long time.  I was really hoping it would go away the longer I ran.  But, for example, at last month's triathlon, my run time was mediocre (again) and I really felt miserable throughout it.  Much of my problem was mental, but some of it, I'm certain, was physical.  I realize that running on hot asphalt with the sun beating down on me makes it very difficult for me to run.  However...

I have recently discovered my love of trail running!

Here's what happened...

The week after our triathlon, my training partner, Jan, took me to our local park to run the cross-country ski trails - for a change of pace and to up our mileage.  She had a 2-mile loop mapped out that we would run twice (for a total of 4-miles).  All but about 250-feet was in the woods, surrounded by trees that provided great shade.

We made it through the first loop, warming up and watching for obstacles, then started loop #2.
I felt great.
I barely felt winded, I wasn't struggling to continue.
I felt like I could run for hours!

Was it the new scenery?
Was it the trees that I love to hike and walk amongst?
Was it the company?

I think it was the shade.
I think it was the coolness of the forest.
I think it was the "cushion" of the trail.
and most importantly... I think my mind was in a really good place.
And all of this together makes me want to run.

How could it not?  I LOVE spending time in the woods.  I go for long walks there with my husband & family as often as possible.  It is my happy place.
SO, it seems only natural that I could be happy running here as well.

And if you're gonna run... why not test yourself every once in a while with a little race, right??

That's when I discovered that there was a new 5K race coming to a nearby town.... the "Dirty Girl".
It's not your average 5K... there's mud and obstacles.  And mud.
But the great thing is, it's all about fun.  (Go check out the website.)
That's what I want from a race.
So, I recruited my friends and sister to be on a team with me and we're all registered for the event.
But I can't get instant gratification from this race, it's not happening until September.
   ... cue Kathryn and her invitation to run in the Boston Mud Run!
This 6K race is advertised as a "European-Style Cross Country Run" - a 3.5 mile trail run with hills and stream-crossings and mud, mud, mud!  Pools of it all over the trails.  If you're careful (like I was this year), you could avoid getting too dirty... but there were some who WANTED to play in the mud (and wanted to share with others).  If you visit the event's website and check out the photo page, you'll get a sense of what some people look like when their run is done.

I want next year to be different - I want mud in my shoes and in my hair.  :)

We didn't score an land-speed records that night, but we had an excellent time doing it - AND we celebrated with ice cream afterwards.  Who doesn't love ice cream after a hard workout?!  AND, the registration fee went to a good cause - the Boston Rescue Squad.  AND... we all got great shirts!  I'm wearing mine as a badge of honor.

So, I'll still be running on the road occasionally... but I think for the most part you'll find me in the woods... either walking with the dog, the hubby or the family or running along with my thoughts... in my happy place.

Happy Trails!

P.S.... here's the map of the Boston Mud Run, in case you'd like to try it yourself. (Be sure to check out the elevation information, too.  HA!)

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Turn the Page... Tuesday

I know I said this last month... but WOW, time is flying!
I was checking out my blog-roll this morning when I saw Adrienne's TTP...T post and couldn't believe it was the first Tuesday of the month already.

I don't have much to report this month (far less than June's TTP...T).  My reading has stalled a bit.  Triathlon training is continuing into July since I was roped into a second event on August 27th.  Not sure if that is the reason for my single read or if it's just summer stuff taking over all my free time or the fact that I'm so exhausted by the end of the day that I can't read... who knows.
Regardless, I'm finishing up William Gibson's Cyberpunk "Sprawl" Trilogy, Count Zero is done and I'm working on Mona Lisa Overdrive.  (This is one of the books on my "on the shelf waiting for me for TOO LONG" reads.)

MLO takes place 8-years after Count Zero's adventures.  I'm barely into the story and have met a new cast of characters... and I'm pretty sure one from Neuromancer, tho she has a new name.

This is another high-tech mystery of sorts... I'm waiting for all the "matrix" story lines to be fully explained as well as the finger (finally) pointed at the bad guys.  Tho, like in real-life maybe all the good guys aren't all good and the bad guys aren't all bad.  We'll see.

If you'd like to know more about the story line, you'll have to visit Amazon (or some other book site).  I don't have enough of it to really share at this point.

In other news... I lead the discussion for The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton at my Book Club at the end of July.  The book received a 3.7 average rating (5 being the best) from the group.  I was pretty pleased by this rating since I was the one who suggested we read it.  I recently gave my copy to my good friend, Elizabeth, who told me she's loving the first 150-pages.  I can't wait to talk with her about it!

The next Book Club book is The 1000 Autumns of Jacob de Zoet by David Mitchell.  I'll be diving into this one soon for our September meeting.

Hope you're having a great summer - see you next month!  To see what others are reading (or to participate), visit Some of a Kind.  Thanks, as always, to Adrienne for the idea!