Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Camping and Hiking in Gooseberry Falls

The Summer of ‘05 has been quite hectic and I have been dying for a vacation. So, after much badgering, I finally got Jason to agree to take some time off of work and drive up North towards good ol’ Lake Superior. The only camping reservations we could get were for two different spots in two different nights, but we took it anyway. Minnesotans love camping so spots were scarce. We had to leave on a Sunday and return on a Tuesday.

We got there late in the afternoon and set up camp at grounds #7. Jason and Kieran decided to take a quick one mile hike while Chloe and I got set
tled. Chloe spent most of her time marveling in the the glorious dirt all around us while I tried to get the camping stove to light. The result; Chloe took one of many dirt baths and I decided to cook the hot dogs on the campfire instead. When the boys got back, we enjoyed our healthy dinner of hot dogs and chips - perfect camping junk food. And of course, it was followed by many s'mores.

After a difficult night’s sleep (sleeping on the ground is harder than I remembered), we woke up early Monday morning to the splendor that is the Great Outdoors. Birds were chirping, the air was crisp and trails were just begging to be hiked. So we ate a hearty breakfast, packed a simple lunch, and were on our way. We decided to hike the 3+ mile hike to hit all the waterfalls in the area, including Fifth Falls, furthest away from the campground. We were so glad that we did, it was the most pristine of the the areas we saw.

Along the way, we crossed the Superior Hiking Trail, much to Jason’s delight. He had mixed emotions since he so desperately wanted to do the 2 week overnight style hike. I suggested he recruit a friend or family member to join him as I can’t imagine spending two weeks living out of a backpack at this point in my life. Oh, and then there are my kiddos - where would they go? Anyhow, we commemorated the magic moment with a photo. We also saw a nearby carved wood map. It was very cool and awfully unique, so I had to take a photo.

The funniest thing happened when we hit our first waterfall, the lower falls. Chloe was in the backpack sleeping when the rushing water woke her up. She sleepily looked up to see what all the noise was about when she saw the beautiful waterfall. She got so excited that she started smiling and clapping. It was adorable. She will definitely be our little "outdoors girl".

Later that afternoon, we drove up to Split Rock State Park just to take a peek at the lighthouse. It just wasn’t happening for us. The view of the Lighthouse was totally blocked by the cliff and we were running low on funds, so we decided to explore the rest of the park. We found Pebble Beach was covered in gorgeous rocks. Chloe thoroughly enjoyed throwing rocks into the water, as did Kieran. Jason discovered how comfortable a bed of rocks really can be and he took a catnap. I just took photos and enjoyed the beauty around me.

That evening we went to bed early (after moving to campsite #27) only to be awakened by a band of hungry scoundrels - otherwise known as racoons. They rifled through our things and opened a bag of peanuts. I was very angry while Jason delighted in the humor of the situation. Later we discovered the missing hamburger buns. Little stinkers stole my whole wheat buns! Luckily, we were leaving the next day so I didn’t worry about it too much. I learned not to leave out anything - even if it is in closed bins. Raccoons are smart, and hungry! So that is it from the Barr Clan. Got really sweaty and dirty, ate lots of junk, slept on the ground in a tiny tent, saw lots of chipmunks - had a blast. Can't wait to go camping again.

Au revoir!

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Cleary Lake

We drove a couple of miles down the highway today to go to Cleary Lake Park. The purpose of today's trip was to test the patched hole in the canoe that has had my dear husband so upset. So, we dropped him off at the boat launch, made sure he didn't sink, and then proceeded to do the 3 mile hike around the lake.

Kieran rode his bike like a trooper and Chloe enjoyed the shade in her stroller.

Along the way, we saw all sorts of cool things. In addition to the gorgeous Minnesota Prairie, we saw lush greenery, birds, butterflies, and bumblebees. We also saw an Osprey nest, which is very cool. But the osprey were nowhere to be found today.

We stopped at and took a bit of a rest.

After an hour and a half, we found Dad back at the boatlaunch, looking very cute.

Then I coerced Kieran to take a quick trip with Dad in the canoe. He is still a bit gun-shy from our "spill" at Clear Lake, Oregon.

But he did it and had a blast. After we got home, he asked if he could go on the canoe again with Dad, sometime soon.

Good for him! :)

The End

Saturday, August 06, 2005

More Marathon Madness

Well, I just got back from today's long run. I did 15 miles and boy are my legs tired. The pessimist in me wonders how I am going to make it the whole 26 miles, but I guess you don't really start to hurt until you stop running, so I am sure I will be fine. I have met all my goals so far, so I have every reason to be optimistic.

One thing that helps me through the long runs is my iPod. I download podcasts, which are (usually) independently done talk shows on whatever topic the podcaster chooses. Since I am a nerd, I tend to listen to ones on science, technology, and video games. Right now, I listen to This Week in Tech (TWiT), This Week in Science (TWiS), and Orange Lounge Radio as my main ones, with some other shorter ones that I listen to.

Since I switched over to Gentoo Linux as my main OS now on my desktop (I have a Linux/Windows XP dual boot now and only go into Windows to play World of Warcraft because WoW doesn't run as well through emulation as it does in Windows with the horrible ATI Linux drivers), I had to look for some good iTunes alternatives. I use two programs, now, because the one I use for my songs database, GTKPod, doesn't support podcasts. So, I use iPodder for loading the RSS feeds to get my weekly podcasts. All in all, it is a good system and I need to write a script that cleans out the old podcasts more efficiently than me going into each of my folders and deleting them myself. I have to research and see if I can delete things by date with the rm command in Linux. But, I am rambling and most people are scratching their heads, so I will stop for now.