Monthly Archives: June 2017

Social Media Day

 

It’s Social Media Day! But isn’t every day social media day?
Social Media Day June 30

Ah, social media day.  Where would we be without it?  Did you know there is a college degree in becoming a social media celebrity?  Say what you want about the negatives of social media, I would have less friends and adventures without it.

Facebook

My main reason of joining Facebook was “all the runners” were on it.  It is true, I’ve met new friends and had new trails to find since finding Facebook. I’ve “unfollowed” quite a few people in the last year.  (Psst! Come over and LIKE my FB Blog Page pleease!)

Twitter

I’ve been on Twitter since…2007? My Twitter surfing seems to come and go. Twitter has been useful in “watching” trail races via friends and irunfar live tweeting of races. Of course, the best Twitter hashtag feed is #BM100, which is following the ever growing popular Barkley Marathons in April.  I’m on Twitter as @kim_today!

Instagram

One of my Project 50 goals was “to figure out Instagram“. I think I did! I started following German Shepherd Dogs, and my feed got far more interesting! I learned that using relevant hashtags to my interest helps me find interesting folks to follow.  My Instahandle is https://www.instagram.com/kim.today/

Google Plus

I haven’t really gotten there with old Google Plus yet.  Nope. Just took another look. I have a profile there, but I just don’t get it.  Any tips for Google Plus?

Pinterest

I love Pinterest! I have lots of boards on all sorts of things I like. I don’t seem to get any more traffic to my blog from Pinterest, but I do get great ideas and recipes to try.

 

 

 

Snapchat

I thought I would figure out Snapchat in 2016, but then Instagram came out with “Stories” so I deleted my Snapchat account.  Not knowing what someone’s user name was on Snapchat was just too hard to follow. Then  IG just copied Snapchat, so I just stayed on IG.  (I still don’t know how to make a “story” on IG.)

Podcasts

zune

The MP3 Player is a Zune. Yes, it is an ancient antique invented and abandoned by Microsoft.  I still love podcasts, but as my health has changed, my interests have changed a bit, and I have found new podcasts to enjoy.

New Podcasts This Year:

The Hamilcast: I discovered Hamilton An American Musical last year. Yes, it is everything it is hyped to be. I’ve recently finished Hamilton by Ron Chernow-the biography that inspired Lin Manuel Miranda to write the musical. I have not seen the musical but am optimistic about maybe getting a ticket when the show travels to Cleveland.  The Hamilcast is an energized fan girl podcast about Hamilton. It has become the unofficial podcast of Hamilton, and many of the latest podcasts are interviews with the actors in the show!

Outside In

A highly produced show from New Hampshire public radio, Outside In produces podcasts about nature-to bring the outdoors to you, where ever that may be. The shows are varied and well written.

Pedal Shift

As I prepare for my first bike tour, I was happy to find the Pedal Shift podcast. Tim is from the DC area, and has produced quite a few shows on the trails I am going to ride, the C&O Towpath and the Great Allegheny Passage! I’ve picked up quite a bit of knowledge from him.

 

What are your favorite social media sites?

Climb Up Out of Your Comfort Zone Spend a Night in a Fire Tower

Climb Up Out of Your Comfort Zone-spend the night in a fire tower

Climb Up Out of Your Comfort Zone

Thorny Mountain Fire Tower, located in Seneca State Forest in West Virginia, was constructed in 1935 by the CCC. It was styled after western fire towers, with a larger living quarter at the top. The fire tower was renovated in 2015 and began taking reservations for overnight stays.

It’s All Old School

fire tower

You have to phone for a reservation. There is no electricity or wi-fi at the fire tower. There are no bathrooms at the fire tower living quarters-but there is a pit toilet, picnic table, and fire pit available on the ground level.

Climb to the Top

You do have to climb up three flights of fire tower steps to get to the tower. These are nice sturdy planks, with roof shingles affixed, for good footing. fire tower steps There is also wire fencing on each side, so you really can’t fall off.  It is still a steep climb of 69 steps to the top.

Fear of Heights

About one week before the solstice, the husband surprises me and says he is coming along. Despite being a former paratrooper, he is afraid of heights.  I hedge bets by putting a tent and air mattress in the vehicle.  It’s both for him -and actually for me, in case there is inclement weather. I don’t really know protocol about lightning storms in fire towers.

Stairs

We arrive in the mid afternoon. I start up  with a armful of stuff and the keys.  Not fond of steep fire tower steps, I deposit my bedding on the first landing in order to have my hands free to  be able to be able to unlock the pop up gate. The  husband is right on my heels. And I can’t figure out how to get this gate.  The husband finally gasps out, just push it up, and it goes! Now we are out the top and I quickly unlock the fire tower room.

At The Top

The room is solid, windows on all sides.  living quarters fire tower It is very cool.  The husband comes into the room. He stands around for a minute or two. I don’t’ say anything to him.  He says “nope, I can’t do it.”  He will sleep on the ground tonight.  (He thought he was getting a handle on his fear, as we had ridden a ski lift in Rotorua New Zealand that he had almost enjoyed.)  I feel bad. 

Living Quarters

There are two cots, with mattresses, about twin bed size. There are four chairs and two tiny night stands.  There is no electricity and no lighting, you will need a light source-no combustibles in the fire tower.  


door to fire tower room
There is a catwalk around the whole room, very secure, where you can also lounge and take photos from.

cat walk fire tower

view from fire tower

Dinner

The husband cooks up a great meal on the fire ring, despite me forgetting to bring our stove.

steaks

I have also forgotten the air mattress pump, and now the husband is going to sleep in our vehicle rather than on the ground!

Gloaming

My adventure has changed a bit for me, I had envisioned sitting alone, in my fire tower, writing, enjoying the view as the day wore down. kim on the fire tower

I stayed on the ground until almost twilight so my husband is not all by himself.  I climb up before it gets totally dark and enjoy the gloaming.

Night Alone

I woke up several times in the night to look at the stars. The wind would kick up now and then, but I never felt the fire tower move. (My husband said it did.)  I did have many disjointed dream fractures as I woke up countless times. I can’t say I got quality sleep, but I have never slept in the air before.

Sunrise

sunrise fire tower

The  sunrise woke me early. I  got up and peered outside several times to take pictures, as the early pinks and oranges got stronger as the dawn progressed. pinks of fire tower As soon as it was safely possible, I climbed down to join my husband for breakfast.

Husband Adventure

He has his own adventure. Getting out  of the vehicle for a bathroom break, he startled “some large animal” which crashed away from him. But the animal didn’t leave! It stayed in the edge of the woods, right past his perimeter of the light source, making noise at him.  He slept with the windows the most of the way up the rest of the night!

Can You Step out of Your Comfort Zone and Sleep in the Air?

The fire tower is a great place to have an adventure. I would imagine the fire tower in the late days of October would have to be lovely with the fall leave colors. It is extremely sturdy, there is no reason to be fearful in the room.   fire tower roomThe steps are well maintained and there is protective fencing on each side. However, you still have to climb up AND down these steps, which I will not lie, I held onto the sides and carefully climbed up and down, one step at a time.

view from fire tower

It’s a great place to have an adventure!

Celebrate the Summer Solstice Spend a Night in a Fire Tower

 

fire tower

 

I am celebrating Summer 2017 by spending the night in a fire tower.

Why? Because it’s there. It sounds cool. A cool adventure indeed.

This fire tower is located at Seneca State Forest in West Virginia. It is patterned after a western style fire tower. It was constructed by the Civilian Conservation Corps in 1935 to provide better coverage of the Greenbrier River Valley. It stands at 53 feet with 69 steps to get to the 14′ X 14′ living quarters.  This is at 3445 feet above sea level, one of the highest standing towers in West Virginia.

There is no bathroom or electricity on the tower. There is a toilet and fire ring at the bottom of the tower, on the ground. I guess I will make sure I will have taken care of *everything* when I climb up for the night!

Stay tuned for the night in the clouds report!

 

American Eagle Day

Today is American Eagle Day!

American Eagle Day

National Bird

June 20 marks the anniversary of the bald eagle being selected as the USA national emblem on June 20, 1782 by the Second Continental Congress. (Didn’t they have anything better to do than decide on a national emblem?)

The Bald Eagle is both the national bird and the national animal of the United States of America and appears on its Seal.

Eagle

Endangered No More

July 12, 1995, the species was removed from the U.S. Federal Government’s List of Endangered Species and transferred to the List of Threatened Species. In June 2007, it was withdrawn from the List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife in the Lower 48 States.

They’ve made an amazing comeback from an estimated 417 nesting pairs in the early 60s to over 15,000 pairs today!

Eagle

I am fortunate to have a bald eagle nest just about five miles from my house. It has been cool to stop by there every week or so to check on the nest and the baby eaglet.Close up of Eagle in Nest

Celebrate our national bird! If you don’t have an eagle nest to peer into, check out the live eagle cams on the American Eagle Foundation page.

CO GAP 2017 Recon on the GAP

I was in the Laurel Highlands, working the first Aid Station for the Laurel Highlands Race at Maple Summit Road.

Workng the first aid station means you are done by noon and have a lovely amount of time to spend in the Laurel Highlands.

I decided to bike from Ohiopyle to Connelsville. Ohiopyle to Connellsville is 17 miles. I was all game for that before I started. After? Not so much.

I much prefer OP in the off season.

I have spent lovely amounts of time in Ohiopyle. But it’s usually out of the town, on the running/hiking trails.

Tourists Everywhere

Tourists are everywhere  People walk-and ride-all over the place, unpredictably. I unclipped and spun in my lowest gear to keep my eye on people.

After two-three miles out of town, there was nobody.

Great Allegheny Passage

It was lovely through here, dappled sunlight reflecting in the greenery. The Yough River is on your right, you can hear the screams of the white water rafters having fun.

Yough River

Speed Up! The Second Fall/Fail

I decided ten miles one way was enough. As I was carefully turning on the trail, I was WHAM! Down again! A too slow turn means no momentum and down you go! This time, I landed on my knee and no handlebar in sternum.

seondfall

The Incline

I took a little break after my fall, eating my sandwich and drinking some water. Falls do knock the stuffing out of you a bit. I felt kind of sluggish on the path.

Really? I couldn’t get up to the same gearage as I had started out in. Then I remembered the trail CLIMBS from west to east.  Ugh!

It’s gradual. It’s not bad. But I guess since I was tired, dehydrated, I wasn’t really loving the incline. I’m glad I found this out now.

On my ride I will be going East to West. Yes, my elevation is much bigger, but at a shorter distance, about 25 miles of more steep uphill, versus about 125 miles of a steady incline.

Daily Miles

Change of Plans: Going with Plan H

Mile 77 GAP

My husband has decided to join me on my CO GAP Adventure. Which means, he will be driving the vehicle on the journey, and I will be biking. I will meet him at the end of the day in a hotel room.  Which means A) less gear for me to carry B) baths and air conditioning daily C) change of clothing too!

Revised Daily Mileage

We have friends to stay with in DC, so we will drive to DC after my work on Sunday. Then, the schedule will be:

Monday-Mile 60 Harpers Ferry-gulp! Big miles, but that’s the idea!

Tuesday Mile 99 Williamsport

Wednesday Mile 156 Paw Paw West Virginia

Thursday Mile 184 Cumberland Maryland-end of the C&O Towpath

Friday Mile 44 (now on the Great Allegheny Passage) Rockwood-hotel room in Somerset, PA

Saturday Mile 88 Connelsville PA

Sunday Mile 150 Pittsburgh PA Finish

Onto getting more time in the saddle!

CO GAP 2017 Planning Daily Miles

Planning Daily Miles

Planning my CO GAP Daily Miles

 

Daily Miles

Days Available

I have Monday through Sunday available in August. I will leave Pittsburgh on Amtrak to travel to DC. I will then start my journey on Monday after arrival in DC.

Camping or Beds?

This is the big queston! See how many miles can I pedal?  Camping gives me more options. But I am travelling solo. Which only bugs me..a bit. If I camp, I have to bring camping gear. More weight. If I choose to stay inside, I have to make the mileage every day, to get to my reserved indoor space.

Tentative Plan

The plan:

Amtrak to DC Monday

C&O Towpath:

Bike to Miles 48-55 Point of Rocks, Brunswick, Maryland-camp

Bike to Mile 99  Williamsport, Maryland Hotel Room.

Bike to Mile 141 Little Orleans, Maryland, Camp.

Bile to Cumberland, Maryland Mile 184-hotel room

Great Allegheny Passage

Bike to Rockwood Pennsylvania Mile 44-camp

Bike to Connelsville, Pennsylvania Mile 88-hotel room

Bike to Pittsburgh, mile 135.

The basic plan is camp-room-camp-room-camp-room. If I don’t get clean on my camping days, I will at least shower every two days.

Plan H-The Husband Plan

The husband has made a gesture that he wants to join me. And by joining me, he means being my sag wagon and driving a vehicle, joining me at my hotel rooms in the evening.  If Plan H occurs, then I shall have a room at either a B&B on my camp days-like Leesburg, Paw Paw, Rockwood.  The H Plan makes it very easy for me, as I wouldn’t have to carry camp gear, or extra clothes.

I am training with the intention of going solo. The husband will have to make up his mind sooner than later, so I can reserve hotel rooms for the camping days. Stay tuned to see what plan is finally chosen!

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May Movement Challenge

I made a challenge to myself to do some physical activity every day for the month of May. And track it.How did I do?

May Movement

May Movement

Since I have not been running, I have been struggling to remember my workouts that I have done. In May, I pledged to move every day, some sort of movement. I have five zero days of no physical activity-three of those days were really long work days (10 or 11 hour shifts) and the other two? I just didn’t feel like it. Call those rest days.

MayMovement

The rest of the month, I hiked, walked, biked, did trail maintenance, gardened, ran a brush hog mower.  I meant to do more core and upper body exercises, but after I stabbed myself in the chest with a handlebar, I was not up to doing push ups or sit ups for the month!

Do you track your movements? What’s your goal for the sunny month of June?