Archive for January, 2008

Home in the Minus Ten Degree Wind

I pull the laptop out from my sleeping bag. I have my laptop, satellite terminal, phone, and camera in the sleeping bag with me so that they do not freeze. It is warmer in my shack from this morning, almost 38 degrees after hours of burning wood, but there are only two and a half hours of daylight left and strong minus zero winds blowing through the walls. Forty degrees is the perfect temperature to go backpacking, but it is not good for being cooped up inside for any length of time and for me, one full day is too long to have to stay indoors. I think of the shack as glorified camping. It is much easier to have a home base with a wood burning stove and provisions to cook, it seems down right glamorous compared to backpacking, especially winter backpacking and forty degrees is toasty. The negative side is that being indoors I do not have the opportunity to get really warm because my physical activity is reduced to hauling wood, keeping the fire going, and the occasional run out to the highest sand dune to see the ocean. But the wind is so strong it almost blows me over and it is not real fun to go out. I have a bit of dread that the sun will set soon and I will be in darkness for the next 15 hours. I have gotten the shack warm enough to draw with gloves on, but curling up in the sleeping bag with an extra down blanket and a book is the best option for this weather. I have read a number of books since coming here, most notably Ed Viesturs, No Shortcuts to the Top. I think about Himalayan mountain climbing and mountaineering in general but the extreme temperatures seem daunting.  Here I can fantasize about being in such a place or perhaps fantasize I am preparation with my daily runs, strength and hill training.  Going to the Himalayas would be fantastic if I had 10 years of climbing experience and the $100,000 or so it costs for a guide and support. But I could always sell my Manhattan apartment and sink the cash into climbing. Now that’s the best idea I had this year……

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Frozen Day – Bed of Snow

Frozen dishing in the kitchen

Remember I am doing this for fun, and it is very fun. I knew it would get very cold today, perhaps below zero so I closed off the upstairs bedroom, sealed off the kitchen and confined myself to the 8’ x 10’ living room where the wood stove is. Just for fun I set the thermometer next to the bed and jumped into my fluffy down sleeping bag and went to sleep. I woke up in the middle of the night covered in sweat because the bag is so warm. I recalled that brief sweat memory when I woke in the morning to a 20 degree living room. I struggled to get my long johns and socks on in the tapered mummy bag and quickly jumped out to pull on my down coat. This is cool. I built a fire and went to make coffee. The night before I brought all the water into the living room, but now it is frozen solid. I melted some water for the coffee and standing in the kitchen I could not screw the top on the coffee pot, a few drops of water had gotten on the threads and it froze instantly. So now I had to thaw out my metal coffee pot so that I could put it on the burner to brew coffee. I took out my camera to shot the frozen pots, but it would not work either because it was frozen. I put my camera in my armpit and my laptop on my belly to get them working and went out to haul wood.

It is gorgeous outdoors. We only got a couple inches of snow but the dunes are beautiful. The weather reported temps of +6 degrees and -11 wind chill. Right now the wind is about 10mph, but it should reach 30mph by the afternoon. After three hours the living room is now a balmy 38 degrees, just six degree cooler than the ocean. Hey perhaps I should go for a swim! Just kidding. Off to look for seals, stay warm.

A quick follow up. It took many attempts and 90% of my battery to get a satellite fix. During that time I went to the bedroom and found a nice pile of snow on the bed.

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Nature Drawing

My fingers are freezing on this cold rainy morning, I can only typing a little bit. The high I heard will be 26, now I hear 15. Yesterday it rained non stop and I could not go running, that is one less day to complete 1000 miles this year; an idea put in my head by running buddy Audra, thanks Audra. I completed a couple of small drawings, right now I am staying in and enjoying practicing my natural life illustrations which I have not done in a while. But this afternoon, rain or shine, I will put in some miles. The Boston Marathon is just 16 weeks minus one day away.

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National Seashore

Today Lisa flew back to NYC and I am again alone at my shack.  We had a terrific week, walking over 50 miles in 7 days through the glorious sand looking for seals and other wildlife.

And for those of you who will visit here, there is a sign in the  airport  bathroom that reads: “If you posses poppers, dispose of them now or you will be arrested.”

I believe only in Ptown will you find such a sign.

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