A Long Run in the Bishop Rain

The typical view from my morning run along the canal; this wasn't taken on the stormy Friday

My new shoes were just too white for my taste. Last Friday we were blessed with 0.3 (guess-timate) of the 5.02 annual inches of precipitation and all day my body was itching to run over the savory earth and feel the tingle on my skin. Around 5pm i padded out into the dark clouds that so rarely grace this rain shadowed valley. The canals were lined with black and brown calves, nursing, chewing or running away from my methodical pace. My ipod died about half way out, so I took the earphones out and listened to the pin pricks of droplets hitting my skin, my fleece, the ground and the canal. The clouds ahead cleared and the blue sky over Big Pine seemed like a Truman Show deception. The Sierra momentarily glittered in the sun, newly veiled in white, looking too perfect and angelic to be terrestrial. I laughed and jumped on a runner’s high that made me continue further than I’d run in a while. I could feel my legs and it felt good. Maybe I should run a marathon? I forgot how good the rush of endorphines feels during the cool down shower when my racing mind finally calms down.

The Gang: Woodie, Eunice, Cynthia, Greg and I

The rain in Bishop equaled two feet of fresh fluffy powder in Mammoth, and while I wish I could say that I sliced through it all day Saturday I had to work until after the mountain closed. I met up with the Super Gang from a couple weeks ago (Greg, Woodie, Eunice, and a new friend Cynthia) on Saturday night where they let me crash with them at a place that could have fit an entire girl scout troupe. Sunday morning everyone on the chair lifts reminded me that I had missed the best powder day of the season, and still I had a fantastic time crunching over the gravely moguls. Greg once again photographed our crew and caught some great images of us that make us look much better than we probably are.

If it looks like this photo was taken right on top of me it's because it was - Greg cut me off and the photo doesn't capture the explicative that may have been exchanged.

On Monday Elsbeth and I ran a half marathon! I think that was the longest I have ever run. I had the day off and felt like a good work out, so we drove out to Fish Slough nestled on a volcanic tablelands with epic views of the Sierra and the White mtn. ranges.

BLM springs in Fish Slough, where Elsbeth and I swam with the pupfish

We stopped about 3/4 of the way to jump into a natural spring, which is also one of 3 sites containing the endangered pupfish . It was euphoric at times, hot most of the time and after wards my muscles felt a bit confused and sore like they used to during cross country.

We decided we should bake ourselves a lemon pound cake and make strawberry smoothies as a celebration. I really like my roommate! Although we picked up 4lbs of strawberries we didn’t end up making the smoothies and only just made the pound cake tonight (a day later). Surprisingly, neither one of our bodies were sore today so we played Ultimate Frisbee for a spell and biked until the sun set.

Another marvel on Fish Slough Rd.

Work is about to speed up with lots of upcoming events and the temperature pushes ever closer to breaking 80 degrees Fahrenheit. It’s hard to believe I’ve been here for almost 3 months. As the ancient chinese proverb says, “Life is like a roll of toilet paper, the closer it gets to the end the faster it goes.”


White Water Kayaking the Kern

This weekend I joined the LA Kayak Club for an intro to white water kayaking trip down the Kern River. I’ve been wanting to go on this trip since my sophomore year of college but for various reasons such as broken bones, family commitments or previous travel plans I had yet to partake in the adventure.

Nina, who kindly let me split her tarp and I overcoming the age-old USC/UCLA rivalry

I braved plane, metro train, and an LA bus to make it from Bishop to the mandatory pool session at USC on Thursday night, where we learned how to paddle and be comfortable with our heads underwater. In retrospect it’s significantly easier to feel calm upside down in a pool with 75 degree water as opposed to brain-freeze inducing snow melt with oncoming rocks on the Kern. In my <24 hour stint in LA I briefly saw all 4 of my parents and loaded up on the essentials from the omnipotent source of deliciousness: Trader Joes.

Trying to make the spray skirt fit - no easy task

Friday night the group met at the Lake Ming campground. I slept out under the stars and put my beanie over my eyes to block out the full moon. In the morning our group of about 20 students and 8 instructors sorted out kayaks and gear and headed into the river to practice the basics. If I remember nothing else from the lessons it is to Paddle Paddle Paddle. White water kayaking is not nearly the terrifying adventure I expected it to be, though it was also much lower water levels compared to the previous couple years of

Paul the Kiwi (blue kayak) and Jessica a current UCLA OA-er (red kayak)

record-breaking flows. I managed to pick it up fairly quickly and even made it down a Class III rapid without flipping! Apparently I actually ran into a kayak that was circulating through the white water in said rapid, but I don’t even remember seeing it and only had my 3-word mantra in mind. One guy’s paddle split in half about 3ft. before he went into the rapid backwards and we locked eyes for second as he shook his head slightly in a “Well, shit” sort of way.

A rescue in action!

The highlight of the trip was meeting an assortment of wonderful outdoor lovers.  Some great characters included the exuberant Babs, who has a full size toolkit full of kitchen utensils for camping and the never-short-on-words Kiwi named Paul who led the trip, and some new and old members of my UCLA Outdoor Adventures (OA) guiding group. It’s also worth a mention that I ate my weight in chocolate Saturday night which has since led to a quenched desire for it. Who knew that excess was the way to minimalism?

Momma always said to wear sunscreen

This white water kayak trip was exactly what the psyche order, and another trip will hopefully be near on the horizon.