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Nine Things I Learned from the 2017 Rachel Carson Trail Challenge

My BFF convinced me that this was the year we would gloriously return to the Rachel Carson Trail Challenge! The timing was perfect, not only was it not near any birthday celebrations, but it was going in the opposite direction from when we first hiked it in 2006. I started training at the beginning of the year. Then managed to sprain my ankle May 19. There was a crazy deluge the week leading up to the challenge. That set the stage for 14 hours 16 minutes and 42 seconds of hiking, slogging, and hauling myself from North Park to Harrison Hills Park. And these are my takeaways… 

  1. At the start of this year’s RCTC I knew two things: There were going to be lots of stream crossings and I was hiking on a still recovering sprained ankle. As I saw it, my footwear options were my high top hiking boots,  which happened to be gortex, or my trail runners and a wrap. I went with the boots thinking the padded ankle would be better support. HUGE mistake. Gortex keeps water in, just as well as out. My boots were super saturated by mile two and thus heavy! The lesson here is, go with the wrap and the trail runners. Your feet are going to get wet either way.
  2. Sewing mesh pockets on my yoga pants was the most brilliant thing I have done in ages! Cargo yoga pants! Hooray!
  3. Back to the water issue…if you know there will be multiple water crossings, bring more than one pair of dry socks. I waited way too long to change into dry socks because I didn’t want to get the dry ones wet. The price of that bad decision was 2 huge blisters on the last two toes of both feet.
  4. Take your reservoir entirely OUT of your backpack to fill it up. I totally hosed that up and did not get the full 2 liters of water twice. And believe me, I needed it desperately.
  5. Carry your own ibuprofen.
  6. There is no effective way to train to climb a power line right of way, except to climb a power line right of way. We did a lot of practice hikes on rough terrain, but none of that was worth much when I faced the straight up power line hills of doom. (I mean, I’m sure there is, but not for me.)
  7. If you are going to the trouble of carrying a GPS, make sure it has fresh batteries. A .gpx of the trail, complete checkpoints, is only helpful when it works. Mine died about halfway through.
  8. Never underestimate the importance of someone who won’t let you quit. Especially when you are crying on a stream bank 4 miles from the finish. Thanks, babe!
  9. Fla-Vor-Ice is the most amazing thing in the universe! The people along the trail that were handing these out were amazing!

chris on June 25th 2017 in Blogroll, News

Additional Home Renovation Fun

The subfloor pulling was going pretty much as expected, not awful and not delightful. Thanks to the tar paper we couldn’t see where the seams were, so Chad decided that scoring the subfloor was the best way to get started. That and a crowbar. He handled the circular saw, I provided the brute strength. Hey, I don’t go to the gym for fun.

I was beyond pleased when the first large swath of floor that was revealed turned out to be beautifully unmarred in any way. Well, unmarred except for the nail holes. It was still smooth and had not been stained or varnished. SCORE!

The labor is brutal, particularly when I decided to take on this stage of the project after going to the gym for leg day. I am not smart. Nope. Needless to say I didn’t get much done. Just one strip because by that point I was verging on the point of not being able to both squat down and then stand back up. I could do one, but not the other.

Before I make much more progress, and while my legs recover, we’ll need to remove all the baseboards because whoever installed the subfloor, did a nice,  proper job and removed the baseboards before putting the particle board down. This should make me happy – the properly executed job – but mostly it’s just irritating me.

And just because it was pretty, here’s the view from the enormous window in this room.

(This project is going to take FOREVER.)

chris on January 9th 2014 in Blogroll

Still having fun with that floor

I finally got up enough motivation to start ripping up the ugly green tiles in Bj’s Room. It’s not going quite as quickly as I’d hoped. The green stuff is more less randomly stuck to the black paper barrier which I shall just refer to as tar paper since I really don’t know what it is.

While I was down on the ground, face level with the trim I found some horrific things. Either I had never noticed what the hell was going on around the little closet (more like clothes press to be honest) or it had so horrified me 10 years ago that I had completely blocked it from my mind.

And yes, that’s as bad as it looks in person. No, actually it looks worse in person because you can see the super half-arse job of plastering that was done around the cheap, cheap, cheap trim that was slap dashed up. Oh god I’m twitching again just thinking about it! It’s worth noting that I didn’t break or damage that area in any way while pulling up the carpet. It has been that slap dash since it was installed. Yikes!

How slap dash? How about not cutting the miter right and then just jamming in some odd bits of wood? Yeppers.  Part of me was kind of hoping I could just step back and pretend that whole disaster is not sitting there. After all, it’s behind the door and no one can see if if the door is open. Alas, I know it’s there. I know it’s awful. And there’s no way I’m going to be able to let that be. Coincidentally enough, I have some pretty nice trim jammed up in the rafters of the garage.

Anyway, I did manage to focus a little and get some more of the green stuff up. As you can see, there is still furniture and some other odds and ends sitting in the room that will need to be moved before I really get into this project all the way. Not to mention the bookshelf full of books.

All in all, I’m WAY ahead of the game if one compares this floor project to our bedroom floor project. That thing clocked in around 8 months or so. Onward & upward.

chris on October 13th 2013 in Blogroll

More fun with home renovation

Our house has four bedrooms. One belongs to the ferrets. One is ours. One is the small guestroom and the last is Bj’s room. Or that’s what we call it,  even though he left. We used to call it the Lizard Room. But that makes it sounds like not only do we have a room just for ferrets (and laundry) but we have a room dedicated to lizards. We don’t, just to be clear. Anyway.

I’ve been meaning to get around to ripping up the carpet in Bj’s room.  It’s icky and has a large melted spot that was there when we moved in. But like many home improvement projects around here, there’s a long way between meaning to do it and actually doing it.

I was finally spurred into action when Shadowfax decided she wanted to help by digging at and shredding the exposed carpet padding on the room threshold.

So after work I took the first big step and started ripping.


I wasn’t sure what I would find. All in knew was that this room, like the landing,  had a subfloor. I held out hope that the presence of a subfloor meant no nasty laminate tiles stuck directly to the original floors. I’d already done battle with the aforementioned tiles in our bedroom and preferred to not have to repeat it.


Unfortunately when I ripped up the padding, I was greeted with the above sight. Grocery store green sticky tiles. It was all I could do not to vomit.  But wait.


These tiles were popping off to reveal some weird black, sticky…paper? What is going on here. I grabbed the paper stuff and it peeled back to reveal wood coated in glue. Great.

I was trying not to freak out about this development when I finally remembered that there WAS most definitely a subfloor between all this nastiness and the original floor.


I took a deep breath, finished pulling up the remaining carpet and cursed the blind woodworker that was employed to work on the closet. (More on that later.)

Removal of the tiles and subfloor will be another day. As will repairing the bottom of the bedroom door, since in its current shape, not only could the weasels easily fit under it,  but probably the cats.


Yay for home improvement.

chris on September 30th 2013 in Blogroll