Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Just Wednesday

Went out for a short run last night in the cold and flurries. No reason it should've gone well, been a lethargic week, but for some reason had a really fast, strong tempo run. This weekend is a 4 hour rogaine orienteering meet out at Jubilee. Should be a fun time. The pics are Keegan and I post glacial and two shots from this past July just southwest of Sedona, AZ in the Cococino National Forest.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005


The Mackinaw River is one of my favorite spots in the world. This pic is one of coolest spots on the river. You hike back off a gravel road a mile or so to this hidden bluff overlooking a hairpin bend. Exact location undisclosed for selfish purposes.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Lemon Grass and Crisp November Skies

I had some comp time at work so decided to take off early today and put in some trail time. Headed downtown to the Vietnamese restaurant for the buffet, then north to Detweiller Park. For some reason I've never tried this trail system. What a shame I waited this long. It is not extensive in terms of miles, but there are some brutal climbs. I did the north loop of the Pimetoui Trail (not the Forest Park loop of the same name) which starts as a 150 or so foot climb, crosses the road, drops down into a creek valley through some stands of bamboo (Bamboo Creek, anyone?), then loops back about a half mile for the big downhill. I was pretty sluggish from the buffet so I hiked most and slow jogged the steep downhills. The bluffs were encased in late season sunshine, and temps, while not warm, were in the mid-40s. I loved the solitude and the views off the ridges of the bluffs and river valley to the east. Put in about 30 minutes there, skipping the southern trail system, and then headed 10 minutes or so north to Robinson.

Some kid put about 2 miles worth of trail in out here for an eagle scout project. He's got bridges over the creek crossings and they're working on putting bark down. I was out here a few weeks ago with Keegan and we got as far as the iron bridge before he got tired. Today I followed the Illinois River Bluff Trail all the way to Camp Wokanda, did a few of the paths there and then headed back. What a great concept to connect along the bluffways. You drop down into these huge basin ridges and it feels like you're in the Appalachians or something. The width of the ridge bottoms is unlike any other trails in the area. Typically the terrain is steep and your view of the next ridge fairly limited, primarily due to the youth of most of the stream valleys around these parts. I was so stoked to finally try this connector trail. I'm hoping they proceed with it and hook up Forest Park, Detweiller and Robinson via the bluff trail. My buddy has told me this is the plan, but of course one never knows about these things until they are actually completed. I put in 1:07 and headed home to a dinner of homemade chicken noodle soup and then took Keegan to the EC bball game tonight (win 64-62). Life ain't all bad.

soundtrack: Johnny Cash "When the Man Comes Around" (thanks, snyd)

Sunday, November 20, 2005


Recovery from Glacial has gone nicely. Went out to Forest Park this morning and put in a 2:24 run/power hike. The leaves are finally all down, providing a nice thick mulchy running surface and conveniently covering all roots and rocks. In a word, perfect. The temps have still been pretty moderate for late November. This morning was 38 or so, but with no wind it really was nice. Great run. Goals in the near future: 3-hour rogaine orienteering event at Jubilee State Park, 12-3; Deer Run Run 8k, 12-10; McNabb, Illinois Fat Ass 50k (not whole thing), 1-8-06; McNaughton Park 30 mile, 4-18-06.

I finished reading George Crane's follow up to Bones of the Master, Beyond the Temple of the False Lama. I was expecting the sequel to be a journey back to Mongolia with Tsung Tsai to complete the first book. Crane goes back to Mongolia (northern China) but without his mentor. Most of the book deals with Crane's Hunter Thompson-esque travels and misadventures. I would recommend skipping right to the last third, although his return trip is alot less illuminating than the initial foray into the mystical land of shamanism. Crane is an interesting enough fellow, but without Tsung Tsai the book lacks the spiritual depth and the ability to hold interest that Bones had. Crane tries too hard to be Henry Miller, one of my all-time favorite writers that he references several times, and Buddha knows, there was only one Miller. Crane ain't him.

Soundtrack: Bobby Darin, Bobby Darin Story , the original 1959 album on vinyl.

Whiskeytown, Stranger's Almanac- A bit on the ballady side but there's no denying Adams is a hell of a songwriter.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Ham on Rye

Keegan and I went exploring around Robinson Park on Saturday. The boy scouts (god love em') were out cutting new trails and putting up wooden bridges. I guess they're good for something after all. I quit Webelos after one meeting, remembering the Groucho Marx maxim about groupthink. The trail is a nice loop cut through the ravine, I'd guess about 2 miles, but the cool thing is that there is now an iron bridge that links over to Camp Wokanda, where there are several miles. Despite an abundance of 5 year year old energy from KJ, we only made it as far as the bridge, about an hour total, so I have yet to explore the connector trail and the entirety of Wokanda's offerings. Still, I'm stoked about yet another place to run in the area.

Under the great Tulip Tree in Oakland Cemetery, cold Amber Bock in hand, I remember what I love about Charles Bukowski. It has been about 12 years since I've last read his stuff, having read virtually all of his novels and much of his poetry, and you know, sometimes the memory dulls what the spark of a writer can do to one's soul. I give you exhibit A, B, and pick a letter:

To The Whore Who Took My Poems -Charles Bukowski

some say we should keep personal remorse from the
stay abstract, and there is some reason in this,
but jezus;
twelve poems gone and I don't keep carbons and you have
paintings too, my best ones; its stifling:
are you trying to crush me out like the rest of them?
why didn't you take my money? they usually do
from the sleeping drunken pants sick in the corner.
next time take my left arm or a fifty
but not my poems:
I'm not Shakespeare
but sometime simply
there won't be any more, abstract or otherwise;
there'll always be money and whores and drunkards
down to the last bomb,
but as God said,
crossing his legs,
I see where I have made plenty of poets
but not so very much