Sterling Mine Ditch Trail

Massive Madrone with my Bike

A little backstory: “In 1877 miners built the Sterling Mine Ditch to redirect later from the upper reaches of the Little Applegate River to the Sterling Creek Mine. The ditch followed the contours of the rugged slopes of Anderson Butte and lost only 200 feet in elevation over its 26.5 mile length. Using hand tools, up to 400 workers, most of them probably Chinese, completed the ditch in just 6 months, at a cost of $70,000.”

The views on trail are spectacular and you do feel like you are “out there” a ways. Besides a couple private property “go arounds” the trail is fairly mellow. There is a HUGE Madrone tree and a really fun section right at the end before the Little Applegate trailhead. I had to pleasure of riding it with a good friend who is just over 70 years young! What an inspiration. We made a loop out of it hitting the road on the way home. Big up to the trail workers!

In a bit of a tangent… really looking forward to the ART trail completion!

First Ski of the 2017/2018 Winter

A fellow adventurer invited myself and a friend out for our first tour of the year. There is around 30″ of snow as of November 19th at 7000′ feet in Southern Oregon. We toured the smoother slopes of Mt Ashland before they opened.  The fresh mountain air is a reset for my foggy valley brain. There is something about the crispness to it that just washes it clean.

Mt Ashland Bowl
Looking good over there!

We skinned up from the parking lot in a b-line to the summit adding a couple switchbacks to ease into the day with our fresh touring legs. Man! It feels good to be out on the mountain. We dropped in from the summit on our first run down the northern aspect and got a good run with a few trees poking out here and there. Making the trek back up we dropped into a more northeast facing aspect hugging the trees on the right of the slope and reaping the smooth windloaded goodness.

Lap three we dropped in again from the NOAA radar station heading southeast along the ridge. Dropping in above the Widsor chair, we were awarded with more great turns all the way to the loading area following our same “just skiers left of the trees” motto. Skinning back up to the truck and grabbing a local beer at Caldera Brewery (call them about their case deals before you leave Ashland!).

the crew
Looking Northeast into the Foggy Valley

It’s 2 days later and the temp is 52F up there… So I guess we hit it! I read the Mt Bachelor area has the same warm weather moving through. SnoTel, Annie Springs, near Crater Lake, shows the snowpack consolidating and the temps just above freezing.  Let’s pray that this winter stays cold and we get a good precip stream from a cold Pacific Ocean.

Oh the wind and rain…

This has been my first full year in Oregon in over 20 years. We’ve been living in much drier environments. Drier air, drier soil and drier shoes. If you don’t own a pair of rubber boots you are a soggy footed feirmeoir when you are in the field. This year especially. January dropped nearly 5″ of rain… still about 1.5″ off the record of 6.6″ in 1936. During heavy rainfall, I felt like 5″ fell in one storm… by the way, how exactly do you measure rainfall?

According to Most standard rain gauges have a wide funnel leading into the cylinder and are calibrated so that one-tenth of an inch of rain measures one inch when it collects inside. The funnel is 10 times the cross-sectional area of the tube.

I was out digging fence post holes to put up a new fence around the garden. We acquired beautiful 5’x5’x8′ Juniper rough cut posts to wrap the dear and orchard fence on. Without a dog, deer will enjoy the fruits of our hard labor. Anyhow, the 2′ deep (8″ wide) holes would charge half full of water in about 5 minutes. It made for a questionable cementing mixture. Three days later the cement seems to have cured pretty well. I’ll be putting in the other 19 posts in the next few days and, as soon as the ground dries a little, get the beds prepped to start planting. Some year I am not going to go to a supermarket for any produce! After that, no meat or dairy! I’ll probably always go for oil I guess… or maybe some ice cream on a binge…


Sasquatch 50k relay

OK! On the training plan this spring is a relay! Never done a relay. Looking FWD to something new. The Sasquatch 50k is in southern Oregon on some amazing trails I’ve ridden a couple times. I’ve always thought about how great this area would be to run. Now I’m committed! 

I’ve decided to train for a fast half marathon. 15 weeks out now and slowly building speed to challenge myself, my time and mind. 

Sign up and enjoy the fun!

Sunrise Ski

Praxis Skis

There is something to beating the sunrise in the morning. The world looks so different, so fresh, so quiet… It might be easy for me, since mornings are my favorite time of day. Getting up while it is dark and watching the environment around me become exposed to the first light beams while out for a run, walk, ski, ride or even cup of coffee/tea on the front porch is… right.  It is just right.

Six Months off Running

Misty Morning Trees

I’ve been dealing with sore feet a bit, a mild case of plantar fasciitis and figured after the Mt Ashland Hill Climb it would be good to take some time off and heal up 99 to 100%! Well after six months off running, but still walking, stretching and MTB, I went for a run. It felt really good to be back out on a trail in the misty early morning.

I wore a newer pair of shoes (Altra Lone Peak 3) and ran for about 30 mins. All is good. I can say I still feel stiffness in my feet, but not a hint of plantar strain. I’ll take it slow getting back into the swing of it. My mind and body wanted to keep running, but I’ll be curbing my enthusiasm and progress slowly and keep checking in with my body. Besides progressing slowly, I am going to switch shoes up every run. I’ll wear minimal xero sandals, Lone Peak (2 and 3), Superior 2 and a pair of Nike Terra Kiger 3 footwear. A wise runner told me his cure was to rest and then switch up shoes a lot… I’m taking that advice.

If all goes well, this spring I’ll jump on a 30k and a 50k, late summer hopefully that 100k is in the bag and next year… well, we’ll see what I end up doing.

First Rain of Fall in Southern Oregon

Southern Oregon Sunset

On the second day of Autumn, we got a little rain.

Last night I was helping my kids fall asleep by massaging their feet and faces. It’s a ritual I try and do more often than not… I think people really benefit from loving touch, especially my family members. As we were quiet we began to hear the rain fall on the metal roof on our house. We began to smell the moist air and feel the cooler breeze. The kids sat up immediately and got excited about the rain, the smell, the new season…

He gives rain on the earth and sends water on the fields… Job 5:10

Winter is on its way!

Running the Mt Ashland Hillclimb: 13.5 miles long, 1 mile up!

Mount Ashland Hillclimb

So I’ve been a bit out of the running scene. I’ve managed to have a slight pain in my Plantar, so I haven’t been putting in the miles… I wasn’t going to do this race even though I signed up for it 6 months before with all the ambition in the world to dominate myself in it. I just hadn’t been feeling like stressing my feet more than I should and end up with some kind of “life long debilitating deal” that will not allow me to continue a semi-active life… After watching every known yoga video and physical therapist on YouTube talking about Plantar Fasciitus, I took full responsibility to heal up as well as I could and just maybe run this race. I stopped running long distances in mid June and began stretching, massaging and strengthening my feet as best I could. I ran shorter distances in a variety of shoes and even a few runs in my Xero 4mm sandals to keep my feet strong and flexible.

August 10th, 2016, I wasn’t going to run it. August 13th, 2016 I showed up with all the other runners to get jazzed up to run uphill for 3 hours (for me at least)! I call this my couch to half marathon. I did it. I finished and that was my goal. Hopefully next year I can actaully have miles on my feet before this race and best myself by 30 mins or so. If you want a good challenge, check out the Mount Ashland Hillclimb run!

Show Your GPX on a Map with WP GPX Maps

If you track any of your activities with a gps, then you most likely are able to export the tracks into the GPX format. You can easily show these tracks in WordPress with the WP GPX Maps Plugin. This was a great find to easily show my GPX tracks right inside blog posts. Thanks to the Authors!

Here is a simple track shown with the extra easy and fun WP GPX Maps plugin: