Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Back from honeymoon

It would take too long to describe our two weeks in California in any kind of detail. It was a great trip that I think will sink in slowly over the next few months. Here are some moments I will never forget.

Our first day staying in a little cabin by Spooner Lake on the East side of Lake Tahoe. The Girl came back from a run on the Rim Trail and told me excitedly that it was beautiful up there.

I started running up the Rim Trail and felt great. I basically ran from Spooner Lake almost to Snow Valley Peak, which has got to be some of the most beautiful running in the world. The trail is never so steep that you have to walk up or try to hold back on the way down. It really goes on "the rim" so you alternate between views of the Nevada desert and Lake Tahoe.

The next day, we hiked up along the same slopes with the Lorax in the Deuter. At first, he liked sitting in there, cooing and blowing raspberries:

But once we made it above the timberline into the wind and sun, he got a little bothered by the whole thing. We are not sure whether he was feeling the altitude. Of course, it could be that sitting in a tight baby pack was enough to make him mad. A little mom time made him better but we did have to turn around.

The Angel Island race was a high point for me as well. I was coming out of the first stair section, far in the lead, running through the fog. Suddenly, the fog lifted and there was the most pristine view of the bay and San Francisco. Coming around the first loop, all by myself, was a confidence booster as well. I could stand there picking between jelly beans and Mike and Ike's while everyone looked at me like I was a Kenyan.

Watching the Girl's race was unlike anything I had ever done before. I have seen her come in at the end of races and heard the tales afterward but I have never seen her race like this. She made all the classic mistakes and paid dearly. She ate maybe 100 calories in the first 25K. I think she forgot about how long the race was and got a little cocky. Every time she came through, I could see the eventual winner, Juliet Morgan, come closer to her. The Girl had maybe 5-8 minutes on her after the first 25K but only 2-3 minutes at 33K. I'm sure Juliet got info on the Girl throughout the race and knew she was closing in. Meanwhile, the Girl definitely thought she had the race wrapped up.

At 33K, I told her there was a woman who was not too far behind. Unfortunately, that's when her low calorie intake caught up with her. On the next loop, she "ran sideways", as she would later say. I ran backwards to see her come in. She looked dead but toughed it out for the last loop - and allowed me to run with her. Watching her struggle, seeing her climb the mountain for the sixth time, was close to a religious experience. By the time she finally got some calories into her system, she actually passed 3 or 4 people near the end, which was a good ending to an epic race.

Another cool thing about this race was that the winners got hats with "first place finisher" on them instead of trophies.

Another unexpected high point for me on the trip was visiting the Girl's aunt in Reno. She is a young retiree there, living in a golden and gated senior community with her husband. While I had expected the worst from a place like that, it was actually nice. Of course, every house looks the same and our dirty camping gear stuck out like a sore thumb in their driveway. But the community was full of cool middle-aged hippies that were into hiking and cycling. There was a nice lodge with a pool and a fitness center. A bike lane snaked it way up the mountains. And the views were to die for.

Large parts of California were burning during our honeymoon there. We spent a few days in Sierra City, running and hiking, and really noticed the smoke there. The Pacific Crest Trail, which has always been a mythical trail to me, was not good for running where we were. The air was not the best from all the smoke. But, still, the hiking was great.

We found a gorgeous little mountain lake where we swam and threw the Lorax around.

Look at the smoke in this picture

This was our honeymoon and, although not spent at a beach resort in the Caribbean, was full of love. It's glorious to travel with a soulmate who looks at new places much the same way I do. We are closer than ever now; we speak a language few would understand. Even if she doesn't know how to eat string cheese.

No comments: