Archive for June, 2008

The wireless is down in the cafe so all the carefully thought out posts that I wrote lay dormant on my computer as do the photos of the snow, new drawings, and more animals.

We got a great snow storm two nights ago but since then it has been raining non-stop. I did my runs anyway, it has been a long time since I ran in a blizzard, it was quite fun. I checked my calendar today and it turns out I was only off from running 5 weeks but it sure makes a difference. Finally I am up to 30 miles a week with one day of quality training, plus 5 of strength training. But every time I run I wish it was summer.

Last night I went to Maren and Barry’s house. They have a very cool very big house and greeting me at the door was Brucey the bushy-tailed possum and when I got in the living room sprawled out in front of the fireplace was Harry the wallaby. Oh I like Harry, I pet him most of the night, at least when Brucey was not trying to take a bit out of my toes, he liked my Injinji toe socks.

Tonight Bech is having a dinner party. It am very happy to go to social events, plus it prompts me to take showers. Oh, I am taking showers, especially after I run, I am not too nasty out here, just a bit of mud as it is really muddy. And do you know what that means? Not just mud but there are land leeches.  Fortunately I have not gotten any but they live in the mud and fall out of the trees and suck on to you – yuck! I forgot to buy salt last weekend, that is what you put on them to get them off.

Hopefully I will be able to post some more photos tomorrow, but also make sure and check the flicker link as I have posted over 200 now.

Lastly I am very sad to miss the Pride Race this weekend in NYC. A very specail shout-out to all my Front Runner teammates, have a great race and Happy Pride!


Read Full Post »


Hobart harbor

Today I have the luxury of sitting around in my underwear in a nice warm hotel room surround with loads of tasty snacks. I arrived in Hobart Friday after a 2.5 hour southeastern drive from Lake St. Clair. Hobart is the capital city of Tasmania with about 100,000 people. It is located on the south east side of the country along the Derwent River and Tasman Sea. One of the very popular Saturday activities is the Salamanca Market which is a vegetable, fruit and craft market of about 350 venders, though I have my doubts if that many venders are here in the winter. One big treat this weekend is the Antarctic Midwinter Festival celebrating solstice and the long links between Tasmania and Antarctica. There are leading scientists at the festival and a science exhibition. There is also a film festival and husky picnic where I read last year over 7,000 people attended the picnic.

As soon as I arrived I drank about 2 liters of water it tasted so good. The water at LSC (lake st. clair) is full of tannins and brown though it doesn’t taste bad, it looks kind of gross. I went for a walk around the city had a Japanese lunch, browsed the mountain design store and went comfort shopping. I found a giant coffee mug and a huge very soft white Egyptian cotton towel and bath mat. It is going to make my LSC showers so much more enjoyable. It is also going to be really nice not to have to get up during the night to put wood on the fire or breath in a smoky mix of air from the fireplace.

Harrington 102The hotel I am staying at is called the Harringtons102 It is a tourist hotel, priced very well and right down town. I have a little kitchen in my room with a hot water boiler, a bunch of instant coffees and teas, a small refrigerator, and a space heater. Oh thank goodness for the heat. There is a nice big bed, clock radio, and TV. This may not sound like anything special but after three weeks of living in the wilderness, no radio, no media it is a big treat. There is a nice bright bathroom with great towels. The room includes breakfast in the dining room. When I checked in they asked me if I wanted milk for my room and while I don’t drink milk and I wasn’t sure why I would want it, I said “sure”. The receptionist poured me a nice little silver pitcher of milk that I soon realized was for my after tea provided room. It was so nice.


Oh my god I am so happy to wake up in this nice warm bed, take a shower in a warm bathroom and go to breakfast. I ate as if I was starving, a pear, an apple, orange juice, blackberry juice, cereal, toast, and coffee. I was at the Salamanca Market right when it opened at 8:30. There were a huge amount a venders and lots of sheep products including beautiful wool sweaters. There is not a large amount of produce but most of what was there is organic. I bought 2 kilos of apples plus spinach, mustard greens, sugar beets and carrots. After taking the stuff back to my hotel I got my running clothes on and headed the cycle path. There is an excellent walk/bike way that connects neighboring cities and runs along the Derwent River. I ran a little over 10 miles of it and only saw 4 other people on foot and about 20 cyclists. I think most of the cyclists rode earlier in the morning, as there are a lot here. It was a gorgeous run and I stopped to buy more apples at the market on my way home. Saturday I pretty much wandered around looking at the shops, but Sunday I spent the morning at the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery which is a nice little museum with exhibitions on Aboriginal life, plants, animals, art, and Antarctica. The Aboriginal exhibition, Ningenneh Tunapry, and the Antarctic Exhibition, Islands to Ice, were the most interesting to me. There was also a photo exhibition of Ricky Maynard, Portraits of a Distant Land, which was outstanding. Ricky an indigenous photographer created a visual diary of Tasmania’s physical and social landscape of the indigenous people. I then went to Art Mob a gallery showing Aboriginal fine art. Currently there was a linocut print exhibition by Alick Tipoti, which is exceptionally good. The gallery is stacked floor to ceiling with paintings which a huge variety of work and quality. I found many to simply appear as dull heartless dot paintings and it made me wonder if non artists are given supplies to make panting hoping to capitalize in the tourist market on tails of the truly great artists like Dorothy Napangardi. Don’t get me wrong Euan Hills the gallery director has some great work there, but you may have to sort through the 100’s of piled up canvases. The next stop was an exhibition that was part of the Antarctic Festival. There were a number of small but exceptionally strong photographs documenting Antarctica, it made me want to go there, if it wasn’t so cold. I then went for my Sunday run a simple 5 miles to the south side of the town to see what I could find there, much to my surprise I ended up on a monster hill that climbed 200 feet in 200 meters, it was a real killer but with nice views at the top. My Sunday night was dinner and back to the hotel early to enjoy some TV and nice crisp bed sheets. Sunday morning I ran out to buy a few art supplies before Bech picked me up at 11 to go back to LSC. On the way we stopped to check out the Hairy Highland Cows.

Hairy Highland Cow

While it was nice to get back to my cabin at LSC, it sucked having to build a fire. I so badly did not want to be cold I barely slept last night putting wood on the fire every two hours. Today I did get my cabin really hot with lots of dry quality wood. I completed a new small painting while roasting a pumpkin and I am going to try a and complete my large one within the next two days.

It has been pouring rain all day today.

Read Full Post »



I got a very special visitor to my cabin Thursday night. Maron brought over her brushy-tail possum, “Brucey” He is so cute. She found him as a tiny hairless baby. Maron is the wildlife rehabilitator for the park.  Brucey likes to hide in her coat and go for little walks around the park. He lives outside and roaming around all night then comes home looking all drunk and worn out at sunrise.

Read Full Post »

Hilary working on a drawing of Mt. Ida

Oh I am excited. I was beginning to have a bit of a melt down here on the lake I was beginning to get a bit cranky.  I was torturing myself as to whether I should go to Hobart to get away for a few days or stay here as planned. The reason it is such a big decision is that even though Hobart is only 2 hours away, the bus is expensive $100 and it requires a 1-2 night hotel stay because the bus runs so infrequent. So just to go grocery shopping it could mean a $300 wasted expense of hotels and buses. But I am going a bit crazy in the silence, I miss not having a radio to listen to and I have nothing to read which is driving me crazy. Today just to hear voices I was playing yoga pod casts while I painted – I really need to get away. I need distractions. I run every day, and by the way my running is getting better and better, by the time I get home I should be back in racing shape. I decided today it is worth it to pay $300 just so I could go buy a few books and lots of kale. I love kale and I have no vegetables, and as you may have read in earlier posts there are no stores up here. I started having fantasies about writing a cookbook on how to make breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert lentils. “don’t be afraid to add ground white pepper and curry paste to your breakfast lentils especially on cold mornings” I don’t think it will go over. But on this 22ºF morning those curry lentils did keep me warm!

I am very excited that I made the decision and something wonderful happened.  One of my favorite rangers is going to Hobart on Friday and returning Monday and offered me a ride, so I do not have to deal with the bus. I can’t wait to sleep in a nice warm bed at a hotel and take a bath in a nice hot tub. I am not staying at the hostel I stayed at when I arrive I will stay at a regular hotel, it is worth it to spend the extra money. I was trying to save money and the cheapest thing I could find was the hostel for $60 , but check out my room;

Hobart hostel room

not a pretty site, for a bit more I am sure I can get a proper room with a bathroom. Oh I feel like dancing now that I am going to get away for a few days. I made a list of what I am going to buy: kale, apples, a big bath towel, wool slippers, a big coffee mug, and books. It is funny what becomes really important to gain a sense of comfort. I am so happy that I am going into the city that I spent the last 10 hours on my drawing hoping to finish it before I leave on Friday.

I wanted to add I just woke up after writing this and it has gone from 25º F to 40º F, it seems like summer!

Read Full Post »

Hilary Lorenz on little hugelI had the perfect ending to this week with a walk to Little Hugel elevation 1,274 meters, a 18k return, with a nice 440 meter boulder scramble to the summit. It was cold this morning -2.5C but totally clear a perfect day for walking. I did not see any animals but I did see plenty of pandani, myrtle and deciduous beech and snow gums which you can see in my photos. The rock scramble was up giant snow covered boulders, it is absolutely magnificent.

Topping out the news this week is I completed my first week of marathon training for the fall marathon. This is good because my hip/groin injury after the Boston marathon was quite debilitating. I had a total of 7 weeks of no running, just biking and swimming, with two sessions of 5 minute treadmill runs at physical therapy before I left. I am happy to say I completed a 25-mile week with the only real discomfort being my quickly lost fitness level. How in just a few shorts weeks of not running an 8 mile run can seem harder than a 22 miler. I still feel a twinge at my front lower hipbone point when I step down on it hard while hiking but other than that I am just trying to get my fitness back. By the time I leave Tassy in August I hope double my mileage to 50.

For drawings, I have completed one large one, two small, and I am working on a second large one. Both are about the same size 55” x 80”. I will include a working shot of it on my photos.

And lastly I received a request to see more of my cabin so I have included more photos of my cabin. The cabin has two bedrooms and when you enter there is the kitchen on the left and bedroom on the right. If you pass through the door near the fireplace it takes you into a small hallway where a slop sink and refrigerator sit. The bathroom and a second bedroom are accessed through this hallway. I use the second bedroom to store my junk because it is freezing in there (that is not an exaggeration it is freezing, there is no heat). You can see I am a minimal housekeeper. I like to have all my junk around me so that I don’t have to search for it.

That ends it for my first two weeks here. I am still in search of a platypus and a devil. I think I will find a platypus but perhaps I will have to go to an animal rescue center to see devils. Happy Father’s Day, Pop and good luck to all the Front Runners Racing in Central Park today.

Read Full Post »

Farewell Michael

Here is a photo of me and my friend Michael, he left today for Hobart and then back home to Adelaide. I spent the afternoon painting and thinking about all the wonderful people I have met over the years of traveling through Europe, Asian and now Australia. Many have turned out to be significant long lasting relationships. I keep thinking about how I came down the track approaching Narcissus Hut and saw the bright yellow tent right next to the river and thought, “now there is someone who really loves the outdoors and knows the best place to sleep – having skipped the ease of sleeping in a hut.” A soon as I got the hut it happen to be Michael and Faz that picked such a beautiful spot. The kind of folks I would like to camp with. We hit if off immediately making plans for drinks when they returned, but of course if you read my earlier post only Michael returned. So we have spent a really wonderful two days talking about art, politics, camping and family. Of course this week turned out very different for every person connect in some way to Michael and Faz. I found myself with a new friend and a new richness influencing my drawings on. I though to go to Pine Valley and make some drawings where Faz died and the funny thing is Michael suggested today how doing just that could be an additional entry point into my work. The process of working is understanding and feeling this place, the concept of place as I live it here, and so far there is so much to take in finding a filter is what is going to move it along. I have lots of time to work right now as it just keeps raining today it is snowing. I am also in the early stages of planning of 6-7 trip over the whole overland track probably right after solstice. I wish I had a year here because there is just too much to see. Well Michael, next time we meet I am coming to Adelaide to check out the Flinders Range so have your gear ready!

Here is the drawing I am currently working on. It is 55″ x 100″

Read Full Post »

Tuesday Sunrise over Lake St. Clair

Now that I know I have Internet and I have sent off a flurry of emails, photos, and posts, I can stop my spastic state and log my reports. Today it rained all day. Early this morning I went for a short walk, 5k though some nearby trails. It was good to walk in the rain and on such a short track. I think it finally gave me the time to look and think more carefully about my surroundings. When I first got here I just wanted to start drawing like crazy climb all the peaks and run through the trails – like a kid in a candy store. My first hike up to Mt. Rufus went very quick, primarily out of need because I had to return before the 4:30 sunset and because I am was excited to get to the top of the mountain. My three day backpack was also a bit like that because I was alone and hyper sensitive to not tripping and twisting an ankle or getting lost or any of that nonsense that I stopped to take a lot of photos but I didn’t stop to really take it in, now I need to take a deep breath and take it in.
32am Lake St. ClairI have a good rhythm going though. I get up at 5:30 or 6am draw and drink coffee for a couple hours then do yoga. I am very happy I downloaded the yoga podcast from yoga journal. I do 30 minutes in the morning to get going, then 30 minutes either before or after I run, and occasionally again before I go to bed. I have been nursing an injury for the past month but I am finding that backpacking and hiking are really helping it. Carrying an extra 40lb pack does not sound like it would be good for a hip flexor strain but in reality the things that I am doing, climbing and bending are helping a lot, my runs are feeling pretty good. They feel good without muscle pain but the pain of not running for 6 weeks is certainly felt, and adding a 2500-foot elevation gain is contributing to it or at least I would like to tell myself that. So I am going to be kind to myself until I know my injury is totally healed and combine running with hiking and strength training and not going over 30 miles a week for at least a month.
So back to how my days go. I drink coffee, draw, and do yoga, then run or by 7:30 instead of running I go hiking. I try to plan a full days walk returning around 3pm or so. If I don’t do that I wonder around the grounds of the visitors center rather aimlessly. Prior to not having email I also did not have a phone or good novel to read. I do have two running books. I started re-listening to “This American Life” with Ira Glass; yes I listened to some of the podcasts 2x just to satisfy my media craving. I know have a newspaper source and I love the café, super nice people, newspaper, coffee and best of all wireless! Now I will download more podcasts to listen to in my cabin. It is still raining and will probably do so through the weekend and hopefully by Monday snow. I know those of you in NYC are having extreme heat, I am not sure which I would prefer now, extreme heat or what I have about 2ºC. If the rain lets up maybe I will go out and practice my wood splitting skills, or try to aquire some wood splitting skills, Scooter, a ranger here, cut a bunch of wood for me the first day, but I don’t want to keep asking him to chop my wood. To date though I have not had much success with the ax, unless part of the success is not in hurting one’s self.

Read Full Post »

Wednesday  June 10, 2009

It is a bit early to get up. I first woke up at 4:30 and could feel and hear that the fire went out, but I stayed in bed a bit longer. I do not like getting up in the dark, I like being in the house and sleeping when it is dark outside, though it is dark from 4:30pm until 7:30am, way to long to sleep. Last night was the first night in one whole week that I stayed up until a normal hour of 9:30, the last week have been going to bed between 7 and 8:30 and 5:00 in the case of my solo camping trip. It was so cold and dark and a bit scary all alone deep in the wilderness that I wanted to go to sleep and rush the night into morning. I was troubled most of last night about two things. The first is while I would love to report all kinds of great and exciting beautiful events from my backpack, which it was beautiful, I am haunted by the death of 4 people that occurred in the area that I was at, especially of Claire Hutchins, age 20. There is a memorial for Claire at the hut, she died while solo bushwalking in the area, and her body was never found. I heard she got lost in the labyrinth, a day hike near the hut. But on the wall mounted ranger’s information poster about the area it stated in very large bold letters, “do not bushwalk alone, four people have died in recent years in this area.” I was alone and now scared once it became dark. The hut is built in the middle of the forest, very deep jungle wilderness without much light. I was going to climb Mt. Acropolis, a difficult rock scramble climb up 4800 feet. Seeing the photo of Claire and the note from her parents I took extra caution. I began the hike to Mt. Acropolis but and I did not summit. I came to one giant boulder over 9’ tall that I needed to get over, if I missed I would have gone over the cliff, I had no ropes or partner for support so I rested there and came back down a bit defeated but rewarded with magnificent views and my life. Now back at home base I think about Claire and the 3 others, I don’t know who they were or how they died, I presume they got lost which is easy to do out there or they fell off Mt. Acropolis. Another haunting thought is about the perceived homeless man living in the hut just south of Windy Ridge. Two girls described him a creepy and that they would indeed be very afraid if they were alone. The night at Pine Valley I was alone, the never next day I met 9 people on their way out there, and I wish I had gone a day later. So what about this homeless man? I told them to tell the rangers, I don’t know if they did. I am a bit more afraid to go out alone, it is not as much fun doing overnights as it is when I am home and hiking with Nancy, Russ and Michelle, my favorite of my favorites to go with. It is more fun when you have someone to talk too and share food with. But I also liked meeting people on the trail, mostly pre-college kids from all over Europe and Asia on their one to two year “tramp.” I also met Michael who I will meet when he and his friend return on Thursday. I began two drawings last night and one dark and rainy one based on a mountain photo I took. I am thankful to get back, I do like the safety and warmth of my hut. I always thought that if I died while out backpacking or climbing it would be okay because I died doing something that I love. But with a closer look at it, I would not want to be alone in the dark woods and knowing that no one can help you and there is nothing you can do. I need to tell the ranger about the homeless man, Pine Valley would be a perfect spot for someone to move into it is not on the regular trail and there is no one within a days journey to find you.

Part II
Last night I thought I heard helicopters but when I asked the rangers at the front desk they said they did not hear anything but a car idling; I must have been mistaken so I forgot it. Then just a few minutes ago at 12:30 I saw Barry one of the head rangers, and he called me over. He asked me if I met two men yesterday at Narcissus hut, and indeed I had, Michael. I spoke with Michael at length as his friend Fez was getting ready for their days journey into Pine Valley where I had just returned. I invited Michael to meet me when he returned on Thursday, I had been thinking about his return and how nice it would be to have company. What Barry had to tell me though was that Michael was returning today, two days early, that on their walk to Pine Valley Fez died. He died on the track. Somehow they got his body to the hut and the helicopter search and rescue came and got him but he had already passed. There is a heliport at Pine Valley, perhaps because 4 people had already died there, but I in reality I think it is to bring supplies as was needed when they built the hut. Michael stayed the night in Pine Valley, there was a family of 6 that was also out there perhaps keeping him company, he will be back on the 2:00pm ferry and I will meet him there. It is a very somber day here, it is cold, dark and storming a cliché really. I went to the Lake’s look out point and felt sad. It is really tragic, but I am glad he was not alone and he died in a really beautiful place.

Part III
I met Michael at the Ferry and he told me Fez’s story. It sounded very peaceful and a wonderful way to pass, simply stopping on the track with beautiful surrounds all around of lush green forests. Most likely he had a heart attack. Search and rescue came to get him and Michael stayed in Pine Valley with the family who was out there. Last night we had a lovely dinner at the Derwent Pub and he told me want a kind wonderful man Fez was and that death too is a reality of the bush. It is something to think about and of course accept as nature. There was no accident and he simply passed right there. Michael introduced Fez to the bush and he had collected a nice set of supplies and was very excited to head out into Pine Valley. Michael is staying on a couple of extra days, we planned a 20k hike back to Mt. Rufus which I climbed my second day here but it is very cold and pouring rain so he made pancakes and we had a fun morning doing the geeky thing of comparing gear. I am now coveting his 12-volt solar charging panel. It is very nice to have a new friend and really great to have someone here to talk to and hang around with if only for a few days. I feel honored that he shared with me his account of Fez and little anecdotes about him.

Read Full Post »

The Pickled Frog at nightThe first night

Hobart as far as I can tell is absolutely charming. I arrived Sunday June 1 at 3:00pm and David from Arts Tasmania met me at the airport. It was great to meet him after all this time of emailing and planning the trip. He was a fantastic host giving me a tour of Hobart and showing me the most amazing views of the harbor. Hobart is a harbor city building around the water and up Mt. Wellington, and the hills that surround the area; it is a perfect combination of mountains and water.

I checked in the Pickled Frog, a hostel and backpackers hotel. In an effort to save money I chose to stay here for the first night on the recommendation of one of the former artists, Iris Zogel of Germany. The reception is very welcoming, the price for a single room is $60 which I think is pricey but the cheapest in Hobart.  The room is clean and basic though it may have seen better days.  The whole floor shares one bathroom for each gender. After getting settled I walked to North Hobart where all the best restaurants and bars are. Being Sunday night most places were closed. I decided to eat a Noodle Shoppe on Elizabeth Street that was very good. It was definitely not your typical Chinese restaurant, simple in design the food was very fresh, when you order you can see them choose all the ingredients for your dish and the presentation on giant gleaming white plates was very nice. After walking back to the Frog and turning down the invitation for drinking with two boys who are also staying here, it is a good thing too this morning I saw an empty fifth of Jack Daniels in the lounge most likely theirs, I was ready to go to sleep at the late hour of 7pm.

I woke up at 12:30am ready to get up. The lights stay on 24 hours in the hallways and I have a big glass window in my door, from the street I hear the walk signal clicking away, they run 24/7. I could tell if it said “walk” or “don’t walk” all through the night. Maybe next time I will spring for a regular hotel. I managed to stay in bed until 5:30, took a shower and went to find breakfast. It was still very dark; the sun did not come up until 7:35. The coffee shop, Hudson Coffee opens at 6:30. I had a very delicious bagel, very different from American bagels, more like a thick crumpet. The coffee is also different, there is no such thing as what we drink as American coffee, (update since writing this post – it is called long black which I did not know) and if you order coffee with milk you will get a latte, unless you specify a cappuccino. The coffee is delicious. At Hudson Coffee you order what kind of coffee you want then what type of milk; whole, low-fat, non-fat, or soy. I got a large black coffee and bagel for $7.24. Yes it is expensive here. But I have never been on a trip where food is as cheap as in NYC. People complain all the time about prices in NYC, yes housing is high but because of competition you can get a bagel and coffee for $1 on the street. And even with US gas at $4 a gallon, it is a steal compared Tasmania’s $1.88 a liter.

I am meeting David at 9 to go to the art store and grocery store. Then we will go to Lake St. Clair. I am excited to get into the wilderness, it will be cold. I am cold now and it is a beautiful sunny day; the beginning of winter.

Read Full Post »

No Communication

Dear Friends,

I am sorry to say my sat. terminal will not work in Tasmania. I do not have a phone or email and will not be able to make posts for at least one month. I am trying to arrange to buy a pre-paid cell phone that will work in this area. In the mean time I have a postal address of lake St. Clair Visitor Center, c/- Der went Bridge, Tasmania 7140. There is no post where I am at. The rangers from the visitors center travel to Derwent Bridge where there is a pub that accepts mail.  It is only a few miles away. I will try and send out postcards as often as possible.

On the positive side it is gorgeous here. I hiked 12 miles yesterday in the most magically place I have ever been. When I can I will post photos.  I may send a CD back to NYC to Lisa and have them posted. 

I miss you all. lots of love

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

%d bloggers like this: