Tag Archives: calm

Smelly Armchair Musings: On Taking Time Off

We runners are an enthusiastic bunch, aren’t we? I say this as I sit comfortably smashed into my couch, on the tail end of 3 weeks? 4 weeks? Of not running.
What happened??????

  • IT Band Pain

A couple of months ago I participated in the Javelina Jundred K. If you follow this blog with any regularity you will realize that I did not write about this race- there is a reason for that. It was my very first attempt at the 100K distance, and it was my very first DNF (Did Not Finish). Right after the race I was not in a mental place that was conducive to blogging. And now it has been so long, it is highly unlikely I was get as far as effectively revisiting that event in cyberspace.

Anyway, my point is that at that race, I encountered horrible IT Band pain and had to stop. Since then, I have had twinges that sometimes become more than that. Overall there’s nothing major, just something there.  I have not had any issues with this in years, since switching to minimalist shoes in fact, and I don’t know what started it off now. Whatever, it sucks.

  • Life Happened

I discovered that I was not Wonder Woman, and that I can’t do everything. In the midst of selling my home and packing and moving and children, and holidays and EVERYTHING, I realized that I was tired and needed to stop. So I did.

  • Running Partner Sidelined

Right around the time Life was blowing up for me, my running partner needed a break to heal some of his nagging injuries. So…

I decided that for once, I was going to give myself permission to stop. It’s funny that I had to “give myself permission”, right? That’s part of why I said that we runners are enthusiastic; we can’t stop, we love what we do, and we do it until we physically can’t do it anymore. I know numerous people who are sidelined with various running-related injuries right now, and it sucks. I know; I’ve been sidelined before. Not being able to do what you love is excruciating. While these past few weeks have been hard for me, I know that I needed this down time, both physically and mentally. I needed everything around me to just stop. While that couldn’t happen completely, giving myself permission to relax and slow down really helped.

Update: I went for my first run of 2015 this morning. It was just 7.5 miles, but the trail I chose is a pretty good work out: lots of rocks to jump, and over 1,200 feet of climbing. Running felt good. Being out and moving in the desert was wonderful. I could tell I’d lost some fitness: the run took me way longer than it should have and I couldn’t run sections that I’ve been able to run in the past. Overall, though, I was happy, and most importantly, content. I know that the fitness will spring back.

When I opened my running calendar to record my miles for the day, I was surprised to see I didn’t have any “scheduled” training miles written in! I currently have a completely blank 2015 training calendar. While I don’t know if I’ll still be able to do all of the events I was planning on, I’m looking forward to filling in my calendar and planning out some epic runs… pain free I hope!

Advertisements

Aravaipa McDowell Mountain Frenzy 50K Race Report

As I drove down the road at 5:30 in the morning, on my way to meet a couple of friends for the McDowell Mountain Frenzy 50K race, I reflected on how not nervous I was. I’d even slept great that night! I felt at peace inside, and was excited to see some different sections of trail that I’d never been on. I was just looking forward to the run and viewing it as any other long run. I was going out to have a blast, no pressure at all. In fact, I’d signed up for this race at the last minute to celebrate my friend Becky’s birthday, which was the day of the race. So this was a have-fun run all the way.

In the past I would always have some kind of caffeinated foo-foo Starbucks drink (one of my favorite things to drink!) before a run. I have noticed, however, an odd feeling of… not right, when I do that, and sometimes a messed up run. So on this day I had a non-caffeinated foo-foo drink, plus a breakfast sandwich, plus a scone (a girl’s gotta eat). My buddies, Matt and Kathi, rolled in. We had this picture taken with our rockin’ socks, while we were still clean.

Starbucks: Pre-Race

We arrived at the start line just after the 50 mile racers took off. Going to check in, I was happy to see my friend Michelle volunteering at registration! She handed us our bibs, and then we just hung out with friends until it was race time. The morning was chilly (for me and my hot-weather self), but I decided to go sans sleeves. I figured the running would warm me up, plus the day might get warm, and I didn’t want to be carrying them. A few minutes before the gun (horn), Jamil, the RD, announced it was time to line up.

Friends Ready to Run!

So here’s where the story really starts. I started out WAY too far forward in the chute. I knew this, but decided, “Eh.” Countdown… Go! And I was running WAY too fast. I knew this, but again decided, “Eh.” I knew I was going to blow up, and, you guessed it, “Eh.” Running at a 9:30-ish per mile pace for the first 5.5 miles, I felt great. I was having fun, the course was easy, and I just rolled with it. Since I was out to have fun, I really didn’t care about blowing up later, I knew I’d finish somehow, it just might not be pretty. Oh! I never saw my friend Kathi after the horn went off (Matt and I stuck together for a while though). She was GONE. TOTAL ROCKSTAR. I found out later that she took third for the women, and this was her very first 50K!

I started to slow myself down a little about a mile outside of the Escondido aid station, the first aid station. I think I grabbed something really quickly to snarf down, but it was too soon to really need much of anything at that point. Walking out of the aid station, Matt and I stayed to the side so people could pass us. We were now on the Pemberton Trail. I do not like this trail. It’s wide and fairly uninteresting, and the direction we were going was a constant, steady climb, but not steep. However, I’ve run this trail enough that I am familiar with it and knew where I was and how much climbing there was, so I held a fairly steady pace up, stopping to walk once in a while. I felt great and was having fun!

We hit the Granite aid station, aid station number two, with little fanfare. I knew the next aid station was about 11 miles away, so a volunteer was kind enough to refill my pack for me. We ran into our friend Ila at this aid station and talked for a little bit. It was nice to see her friendly face. At this aid station I ate a little more. I walked out of the station carrying fistfuls of food: bean burrito bites, a potato with salt, and Pringles potato chips (I told you, a girls got to eat, don’t judge). While I stuffed my face, Matt and I walked some new trail. As I stepped over knobby sections of plant, I wondered if Jamil had just bushwhacked a trail through the desert. However, after about a quarter of mile, we actually came to a signed intersection, showing we had been on an actual trail. Jamil told us later that he thought that section of the trail was maybe just a few months old.

This next section of trail? Priceless. Having completed putting food in my stomach, I was ready to run again, and this part of the trail was GREAT. It was single track, with cool scenery, and rollers (rollers are gentle rolling mounds, not hills) and twists for fun. The rock formations dotting the landscape were epic; some were covered with moss, or with lichen. They stacked up and around each other like giants had been playing dodgeball. Unfortunately, Matt wasn’t really able to enjoy this section because he started to have a really hard time with his ankle (he has suggested, on numerous times, that he should just chop it off). In fact, he hadn’t run the entire week leading up to the race because of his ankle. He told me he needed to stretch for a bit and that I should just go, so I did.

I laughed quite a few times at the sheer joy of running through here, especially as I rounded corners to then tear down a hill! Eventually, the trail hit Pemberton Trail, and then I was about half way done with the race.

The town of Fountain Hills, which is just south of the McDowell Mountain Regional Park where this race was held, has a huge fountain, spraying about 560 feet up, that goes off every hour for about fifteen minutes. This fountain can be seen for miles around, and is easily viewed from the park. The first time I saw it during the race I went to turn around to point it out to Matt, forgetting he wasn’t with me. That sucked.

I don’t mind running the backside of the Pemberton Trail too much. It’s at the base of the McDowell Mountains, and relatively flat with just a few rollers, so I picked up the pace a little. It was here that I started to catch a few people. I think I caught one or two on Pemberton itself. After a few miles, we turned off of Pemberton again onto Coachwhip Trail, and I caught a few more people who slowed down on some climbs. I was once again in new territory. On Coachwhip and onto Windmill towards Windgate Pass we rolled along on some slightly rougher terrain as we made our way towards the mountains. I caught my friend Brad here, and we chatted for a bit.

The course elevation profile showed that we had one big climb. I wasn’t quite sure where it was, but figured I’d know it when I hit it, which I did! I practiced my “ultra-walk” up Bell Pass. I kept looking out behind me because the view out over the valley was beautiful. It’s interesting to me how soft the landscape can look from up high. We know the desert is covered with things that want to poke, scratch, bite, or otherwise maim us, but from up above it is like a painting.

At the top of Bell Pass I began to feel my blow up from going too fast at the start. Coming down Bell Pass would normally have been my “jam”: my thing. It’s a steep, fun downhill section with all kinds of rocks to hop over. Unfortunately, this is where my dear friend Schnebly (my side stitch) decided to make his presence known, and I began to feel fatigue running down my legs. So I went down the hill like a normal person instead of crazy person with an apparent death wish (for clarification, I don’t have a death wish, I just really, really like running really, really fast down hills). Also through here, I began to feel… off. I had now been running with a solid effort for a little over 4 hours and knew that I had better eat something at the next aid station if I expected to finish this race.

At the Dixie Mine aid station, a volunteer once again refilled my pack. I don’t remember what all I ate there, a bunch of things. They had little peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, and of course, the requisite potatoes and salt. I know I ate those things because I walked out of the aid station with them. I desperately did not want to eat. Both foods were just “blech” in my mouth, but I forced myself to swallow them. I was glad I did because after a few minutes, I felt immensely better. I allowed the food to settle as I walked to the top of the hill out of Dixie Mine, where I started running again. The blow up was becoming, well, more. Thankfully Schnebly had bid me adieu, but now the fatigue in my legs was quite defined, and every now and again, I had to walk as one leg would attempt a bit of a buckle underneath me. But somehow, I was still in great spirits! I was seriously having such a good time, even with all the fatigue and cramping, and whatever it was going on in my legs. I just slowed my pace and kept a running motion as much as I could. Through here, I chatted with a nice man who was from Calgary, Alberta. He told me he’d been warm that day, which amused me. I knew instantly that he wasn’t from Arizona, since most Arizonans would have been cool! He told me about past times he’d run this race, and one of those times getting lost in the desert. It was nice talking with him.

I continued my running motion to the Gate aid station, which was the fourth and final aid station. I grabbed a bite, probably a potato, and left. Just out of there, my friend Brett caught me. He was running the 50 mile race and looking strong! By now my running motion had many hitches in it, but that was okay. I knew I had only about a 5K (just over 3 miles) left to finish. The trailed rolled and I rolled with it. Crossing through a giant culvert, I knew I was getting close because I’d gone through that culvert in races past. I climbed up one last steep hill and at the crest I could see the finish line about half a mile down below me. I did my best to run, crossing that last half mile as fast as I could. I crossed the finish line in 6 hours, 22 minutes, and 44 seconds and had gone just over 31 miles. This was not my fastest 50K time, but I felt really good about it.

Throughout the race I compared how I was feeling then with how I felt on my first 50K, the Pemberton 50K, from two years earlier. It was incredible how different everything was. At that first race, I wanted to die for the entire second half of the race. My legs felt like lead, and the only thing that kept me going was watching the feet of my friend Dawn in front of me. What a difference 2 years and countless mountains and trails has made. I actually had FUN at this race! This difference is exciting, and has me incredibly excited for my next 50K at Black Canyon.

After the race, I changed out of my stank clothes, ate an amazingly delicious pizza that absolutely hit the spot from Freak Brothers Pizza, and hung out with friends. We discussed our race and how it went, what we thought, how we felt, what we saw. As I mentioned earlier, Kathi placed in this, her first 50K! Matt finished strong on his bum ankle. Brad finished strong after getting through stomach issues. This was my new friend Jon’s first 50K and he absolutely killed it! Ila finished strong, ready for her next race, (which was the next day). Brett got second place in the 50 mile! Erin had a solid, good race. Miguel set an incredibly epic PR! He later had a brilliant idea to start a campfire, so we collected wood. I was informed that my wood-gathering skills are “legit”. It’s nice to have your skills be recognized.

At the end of the day, Matt and I started tearing down. I’m afraid I was useless. I don’t know why Jamil keeps allowing me back to volunteer. By the time it was dark, I was down to a turtle-paced hobble. I had no strength left in my upper arms to lift anything. My back and shoulders were done. However, I still had a great time tearing down- I’d never done that before and it’s amazing to see how much work goes into putting on a race! I give serious props to all RD’s everywhere. I also had the joy of watching the last 50 mile racers come across the finish line, all going strong, all with big smiles on tired faces.

I can’t wait to run this race again. It was a great day, with great views, and great friends!

* As usual, the pictures aren’t mine.

On the McDowell Mountain Frenzy Course

On the McDowell Mountain Frenzy Course

Finish Line!

Finish Line!

Arizona Trail: North to Superstitions + Picketpost Mountain

For a few months now I have been in the process of training for my first 100K (62 mile) race. As with most any training plan, the key to success on race day is the long run (or so I’ve been told- I’m going with that). So this past weekend I had a twenty-four miler on the books. Originally I was planning to just go to a local regional park and run a couple of loops, but thankfully Matt talked me into something much more interesting: Picketpost.

If you have read my previous blogs, you’ll know that I have run Picketpost before, so why am I blogging about it again? Picketpost is part of the Arizona Trail (AZ Trail), which is an 800 mile (approximately) trek across the state. The last time we ran at the Picketpost trailhead, we went south. On this run, we started out going north: new territory for me, hence the new blog.

We began our run at 5:00 am, with the plan of heading out eight miles, then turning around to come back to the car to restock on water, then head out again going south, for the remaining eight miles to get our 24.

As we set out, it was just barely beginning to get light. There had been rain the night before and we still had cloud cover and cool temperatures. Right away, we scared some cows and their babies and they ran off. About ½ – ¾ of a mile from the trailhead we crossed underneath US 60 and continued north. The next four miles or so of this run are… well… boring. It’s all low-lying desert scrub: small cacti, jojoba, chollas, creosote, and other small plants. One interesting spot we passed not long after crossing US 60 was the site of an old homestead. I always find those intriguing as I imagine the people who used to live there.

At the US 60 Underpass

At the US 60 Underpass

The first interesting spot we came across was what I called the Hall of Ocotillo’s. We rounded a bend and the entire hillside was covered with them. This would be a pretty spot to visit in the spring when they are in bloom. On this day they were all leafed out and very healthy looking, but no blooms.

Matt running the Hall of Ocotillos

Matt running the Hall of Ocotillos

The trail ahead led directly into the Superstitions. Upon hitting the “Supe’s” the terrain immediately became much more interesting. We went through a canyon and the rocks started changing colors. The desert became more lush. We also saw quite a bit of wildlife, and signs of wildlife.

Giant Mesquite Bugs

Giant Mesquite Bugs

Tiny Footprints

Tiny Footprints

Sphinx Moth Caterpillar

Sphinx Moth Caterpillar

pp03 Butterfly pp02

When we reached the eight mile point, we decided to go just a little bit further. We had received a few spits of rain, it was still cool, and we could see something shiny up ahead that we were curious about. We decided to run to the shiny thing and then we’d turn around.

The shiny thing was what appeared to be a new windmill, complete with a new looking corral. There was a rough road leading down to it, but at that point we decided we needed head back. We’d gone 8.7 miles out.

The run back was eventful. Running along a wash we scared a big owl out of a tree. As we stopped to look, the owl was attacked by some kind of hawk! The owl took cover in some rocks up on the hillside above us, but the hawk was extremely unhappy about its presence, and continued to circle the area for quite a while, screeching periodically.

At another point, I was running up a little hill and came face to face with a snake in the trail. I screeched and went by before stopping. It took my brain a second to recognize that it was not a venomous snake. It was a really pretty snake: glossy black body, black eyes, and bright greenish-yellow stripes running lengthwise down its body. I looked it up later with the help of a biologist friend of mine and I believe it was a black-necked gartersnake. Although the coloring on the one we saw was much more brilliant, the shape and form of the snake were the same, and she said they can have a wide array of colors.

The final major animal siting of this part of the run came at a weird moment. We were back in the boring part of the trail, and I was just trucking along, looking at the trail ahead of me and not much else. Suddenly I heard, very loudly and very close to my left side, the rattle of a rattlesnake. I think my body paused for half a second as my brain registered the noise- then everything in me said “RUN!” so I did, very fast. The next thing I remember was stopping about 20 feet down the trail, well out of snake range, looking back to make sure Matt was okay, and curling into a squatting ball and crying. Matt had managed to stop in time and back up and was taking pictures of the snake. I couldn’t go back to look at it. In fact, I never even saw it, at all. I could hear it up there still rattling and I couldn’t take it and started walking away. I have severe emotional reactions to rattlesnakes. Last year while running in a local regional park there was a rattlesnake curled up underneath of bush right next to the trail in the shade. I barely had a chance to see it and I ran by, but as I did so, it struck, with no warning whatsoever. Matt was again behind me that day, and he only had enough time to jump over the snake which, because it had struck, was now stretched across the trail. Thankfully that snake missed me, but the fear of them was instilled in me that day. It has only been just recently that I have managed to not freak out at every snake or stick (because they look like a snake) I see. Once he caught back up to me, Matt told me my foot was about six inches from the snake, but that the snake never coiled or struck or anything. Plus, it was a pretty good-sized snake, close to three feet long. Generally that’s actually a good thing. They tend to be more laid back, less prone to striking, and will likely to give less venom or even give a dry bite if they do strike. After the adrenaline in my system calmed down, I started running again, now hyper-aware of the shady spots! If you have never had the pleasure of hearing a Western Diamondback rattle, click on this link. At approximately 10 seconds is the frenzied rattling sound I heard.

Western Diamondback Rattlesnake

Western Diamondback Rattlesnake

The rest of the run back to the car was blissfully uneventful other than that we both ran out of water. But since it was fairly cool and we only had one mile left, we weren’t worried about it. We got back to the car without incident and drank a whole bunch while refilling our packs, then we set off southbound to finish our miles.

Now I have been on this part of the trail before, and new trail always trumps known trail. Not far into the southern run there is a trail that goes left with a big arrow made out of rocks. I stopped, looked at it, and got excited. Matt had told me before that he’d never climbed Picketpost Mountain before. I MAY have had an evil grin on my face as a suggested we should go that way; we should climb the mountain. He gave in and we started climbing! There were lots of cows on the first lower portion of this trail, even a big bull! But they really like to stay away from people, so there was no worry. We climbed, and we climbed. Matt ran part of this, but I conserved. I’m not as strong on the uphills as he is. As we got higher, we had to start following cairns and the occasional spray paint flash. Sometimes the trail went straight up at perhaps a 60 degree angle. We had to scramble over a some boulders. I was having a blast- I love that stuff! We went perhaps ¾ of the way up, and decided we should go back and save the rest for another day. Since we already had about 17.5 miles under our feet and hadn’t planned on climbing a mountain, and we weren’t really sure where the top was, it would be better to come back fresh. The decent was a great way to say, “Good morning!” to my quads!

View from halfway up Picketpost Mountain

View from halfway up Picketpost Mountain

The trail goes up the draw

The trail goes up the draw

Once we got back down onto slightly more level ground, Matt took off. We met back up at the car and guzzled delicious cold drinks. We finished our run at about 21 miles, but since we’d climbed about 1,000 feet straight up a mountain within about one mile, we called that close enough.

I have been running local park trails for the past few months, and while I am exceedingly grateful for these parks and the outdoors experience they offer, I hadn’t realized how badly I needed a wild run. Once I arrived home, I could feel the calm elation (yes, those two words go together here) coursing through my body, brought on by this wild run. These runs into the wild, where I run across few, if any people, and just see the animals and the flowers and sights; these runs ground me. I rediscover the joys of my childhood spent outdoors all day long playing with bullfrogs and mud and climbing trees. I may be all grown up now, but the heart of that little girl has never left me, and in fact, still beats wildly, sometimes desperately, inside of me. She’s constantly curious, constantly excited about the creation around her, and can’t wait to feel every sensation on her next run through the wilderness.

Show Low: Playtime in the Woods

Playtime in the mountains! Yes please!

My good friend invited a few of us running buddies + our families up to her cabin in the pines in Show Low, Arizona for Memorial weekend to have some fun at altitude. As with most anytime we all get together, let the shenanigans begin!

Day One

Upon arrival in Show Low, Matt, Becky, and I went for a run. We decided to check out some four-wheeler trails near Becky’s place. As we were in the process of strapping our packs on and getting ourselves adjusted, we saw a very cool carcass of an elk!

Elk Carcas

Elk Carcas

I don’t know if you are acquainted with “runner’s issues” or not, but there were a few on this run, including but not limited to:

  • Pooping
  • Peeing
  • Gut aches
  • Whining
  • More peeing

If it’s one thing that trail running will do, it’s make you more aware of your friends bodily functions than you ever thought you’d be. As weird as it sounds, I actually have a lot of fun with this. I mean, in what other activity is it completely acceptable, even EXPECTED that you will crap in public? Can you think of anywhere else where you will be commended on the magnitude of your snot rockets or gaseous movements (either up or down)? Trail running is you in nature, as natural as you come.

In between the pit stops, we took a side spur, just to see where it went. We got some extra climbing and elk tracks.

Upon exiting the spur and re-entering the main trail, I found an antler. I was very excited by this, so I decided to carry it home; for another, uh, eight miles or so? If you ever have the chance to carry a bone, a spear, or even a stick while running, I highly recommend it. Why you ask? Well, first and foremost, it’s fun. How often do you get to run like a caveman? Secondly, well, I don’t believe I need any more reason than the first one.

Channeling of the deer

Channeling of the deer

After a few more pit stops, we ran across a tree that begged to be climbed. I mean LITERALLY begged! I could hear it and everything. And honestly, who am I to deny the begging of a tree? Take a deep look inside yourself; if a tree were to plead with you to climb it, could you turn it down? I didn’t think so. After all the oxygen they provide for us, I don’t know how anyone could turn a deaf ear on a tree.

DSCN1632

Once we exited the four-wheeler trail, we were on a road (blech), but the scenery was nice. I also found…. A BONE!!!! YES! And do you know what I did with it? I ran with it.

There was a wild cave woman in the woods

There was a wild cave woman in the woods

We watched some horses run across their field to meet us. I miss having a horse, so it was nice that these were so friendly and let me pet them.

DSCN1637 10398080_876420499050416_1981380754516365128_n

Upon arrival back at the cabin, we found everyone playing a rousing game of horseshoes! It turns out my husband has a unique throwing method, but it works very well for him. My kids, being the true suburbanites that they are, were sitting around inside, not realizing there was a whole outdoors to play in. I sent them out and told them to go find some sticks or something. They did, and had a great time!

That night there was a campfire and good company. I love campfires. They create the perfect atmosphere to just sit and relax in one another’s company. I enjoyed getting to know everyone a little bit better.

How cute are Steve and Michelle?

How cute are Steve and Michelle?

Day Two

The next day found us on the road heading toward Paradise Creek on the reservation for fishing or running. We had to stop at an anglers shop on the way to buy passes- that was annoying. We kept getting different information on what pass we needed and who needed a pass. Eventually, we got our passes and headed on to the creek.

Matt, Becky, Michelle, and I decided to go for a run, and everyone else decided to fish. The four of us left the fishers and headed up the gravel road in search of… you guessed it! Adventure!

Maybe half a mile to a mile into our run, we saw a trail on the side of the road that looked little used, but was signed. As with the pleadings of the tree on the previous day, I found myself, once again, unable to resist a siren’s call; this time beckoning to me, singing to me of possibility, of untold sights, and exploits to be had. Picture yourself standing at this crossroads: there is the clear gravel road in front of you, and a grown over path to the side. Both of them are new to you. Which do you choose? I really can’t help myself, I always choose the path. I suppose I’m predictable that way. Thankfully, I have friends to go with me! That makes every adventure all the more fun. Is an adventure epic if it’s accomplished alone?

10300529_876920215667111_1757159896075330392_n

That trail was wonderful. The soft dirt and pine needles underfoot were soft and cushioning. I was embraced by forest. Stop to think about that for a moment- take a quick mental journey with me. Picture the forest around you; the trees above, the grasses below. Smell the aromas gifted to you by the flora all around. Each one is a tease at the pleasure centers of your soul. Listen to the sweet singing (real songs!) of the birds. Feel the coolness of gentle breeze kissing your skin and hear it as it whispers in the treetops. Open your mouth to taste the wind as it brings the flavors of faraway places to you, here, in these woods. Relax there for a bit. Amazing, right? What a gift.

10401450_224002794475560_1901960623611899829_n 10380322_876938482331951_6262683121914070581_n

We explored this trail. We played in the woods. We looked at critter poop and tracks. We accidentally scared some cows. We ran in the rain as the cool breeze turned icy. Eventually the trail brought us back to the road we’d entered on. We ran with some cows for a bit. And eventually we made it back to the rest of the group, who’d had adventures of their own.

10419397_876920405667092_9163113359225497971_n 10414606_876920482333751_6660539223645319334_n 10392367_876920449000421_1183852244710526535_n

 

Bear?

Bear?

Turkey?

Turkey?

Elk?

Elk?

Matt & Becky!

Matt & Becky!

Later that Day…

No fish were caught in the creek, so we headed to a lake for everyone to try their hand there. My husband caught the first fish! The kids tried their hand at fishing. Matt gave them fishing lessons. After watching for a little while, I was freezing and went back to the car to eat a snack and ended up falling asleep. And drooling on myself. Because that’s how I roll.

Andy's fish!

Andy’s fish!

We ate good food at Moose Henri’s on the way home. The atmosphere was very laid back here, and it is known for having good beers! I had the Drunk’n Chicken Sandwich. The waitress cautioned me that the pepper jack cheese was made with ghost peppers and was hotter than normal pepper jack cheese. That sounded good to me, and it was!

That evening we enjoyed more campfire time together. There were Fireball shots, talk of whispers, stories, beer, looking at the stars, poker, and general tomfoolery.

Day Three

Before heading back home, Jeff and Becky, Matt, and my family met for breakfast at Darbi’s. I had the Breakfast Burrito, Enchilada Style. It was delicious! The portion sizes were incredible, and I was unable to finish, but my son dug right in.

It was the perfect end to a perfect weekend full of incredible friends and memories!

As with all of my posts, most, if not all of the pictures belong to someone else. Most of these are Matt’s or Becky’s. I think one might be mine?