Posts Tagged ‘Lake St. Clair’

sea_pods_ptownI am laying in bed, two dogs stretched out around me and I am coughing like crazy. My brain is in overdrive with teaching too many classes, taking too many classes, my exhibition opening and obsessing about running. So one at a time.

Exhibition. On Saturday I am showing at a new gallery in Brooklyn New York, Shop Art Gallery. It is very exciting, the gallery just opening in December. I delivered the show today, brand new 2009 etchings some combined with digital photographs plus watercolor drawings.Shadow Bird 2 Delivering the exhibition is a huge relief as I have been printing and cutting and framing like crazy, sleeping less than 5 hours a night. The opening reception is Saturday February 7, 2009 from 4-7pm. Come on by.

I was fighting a cold but I lost. I began getting sick on Friday and thought I would be fine to race on Sunday in Central Park the Gridiron Classic 4 miler. Five thousand, two hundred and sixy eight people came out in the nice 30 degree weather. Yes that is 5,268 runners. It was a tough and crowded race, I did not do as well as I wished but I did place 13th in my age group, not bad but I want to be in the single digitsl. I have been working out twice a week with Front Runners. I have not been doing much mileage mostly under 30 per week,  a far cry from the 50-65 I was doing last year at this time. I also hired the expertise of runner and coach Lowell Ladd an NCAA All-American (10,000m), one of the top ten Americans at Boston Marathon twice (2002 & 2003)  runner-up finish at 2005 Steamtown Marathon. and first place in the 36th Annual Harrisburg Marathon, 2009, to help me out with my training. Right now I am trying out a four week plan to get started so that we can see how each other works. My current training was a mix of my most excellent FR coach Kelsey Louie, an amazing  short distance runner,  workouts from  Pfitzinger ‘s marathon schedule and strength training from my favorite PT’s at Dynamic Sports Physical Therapy. Pete and John fix me up and help me to work on all my weak points. They are responsible for putting some muscles into my skinny distance runner legs. I am at a point that I need to have someone put everything together, look at what I am doing and validate or rewrite it.  I speak to Lowell once a week on the phone and plan my running, right now the focus is tempo runs.

School. Oh. Yes I am working too much, don’t most people. I will not go into the details but I have way too many independent students who are not  independent. In the classes that I am taking I have an annotated bibliography to write – something we never did in art school and a whole lot of catching up since I missed yesterday and today because I was sick.

So until next time, happy running, go see some art and hire experts to make your life better.

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Hilary Drawing

Hilary Drawing

It is amazing how fast some weeks go and week 5 was certainly one of them. I had a full week of drawing, running, reading, and hiking. It was also a very cold week with lots of snow followed by even more rain. Yesterday I woke up to a frozen water pump in 19ªF. As the sun came up the pipes thawed and I had water by 1pm. Last night Ranger Barry thoughtfully brought me 5 gallons of water just in case it freezes again.

One new exciting addition to my cabin is a space heater. After some extremely miserable cold sleepless nights, sleepless because I would have to get up several times and put wood on the fire, I asked Ranger Trevor if they had any available heaters. Sure enough there were two brand new ones still in their boxes sitting under the table. They were bought for the rangers who work in the tool shop but apparently didn’t need them. All I have to say is the first night I used mine was the first night in 5 weeks that I slept all night. I felt great. I now stay warm all day and I am able to stay up much later drawing. And my disposition is far superior than it had been.

New Adventures: I went with Barry on the rangers boat up Lake St. Clair to Narcissus hut to delivery a large artwork that was to be helicopter to Windy Ridge Hut for installation. It was fun to be able to go on the rangers boat. I wish I could have gone on the helicopter but it is forbidden. Volunteers and some parks staff used to be taken from hut to hut to work in the park via helicopter but a few years ago one went down and everyone was killed. As you can imagine lawsuits ensured and now only head rangers and some track workers and the tools go by helicopter. While Barry was up at Windy Ridge I did a day hike around Narcissus, chatted with a few other hikers and came back to our boat to meet Barry and the helicopter a few hours later. It was a beautiful clear day, but cold and our socks were wet from stepping off the boat onto our heliport island. We were not able to park on the dock and the heliport was underwater because of all the rain so we docked on what is usually the bay but 80% was underwater leaving a small island to park on. We filled out boots with water getting off the boat and spend the day in soggy feet. I was happy to have on my wood injinji toe socks because my feet stayed warm and blister free even though it was 30º F. I have great photos of the mountains covered in snow.

Boat with Helicoptert

Boat with Helicoptert

Running: Wow I feel happy about running. Since my overuse hip flexor and illiopsoas strain I am very happy to report I am on an upwardly mobile running schedule. I have moved from 4 days a week running to 5 and from 25 miles to 40 miler per week. I am trying to be careful and only adding 10% more mileage each week. Four more weeks and I will be back up o 55 miles a week. I will be ready to run the August 16th 10k, in New York though I expect my times to be a bit shower than usual with all the winter running and uh winter eating. All this rice, oatmeal, potatoes is great carbs for fueling glycogen levels but I am ready for some of the New York City summer heat to sweat off the extra energy I stored while living in the mountains.

Drawing: I am still working on my large pencil drawing and have begun drawing small watercolors of rocks in detail. I find the rock drawings engaging in my attempts to represent all the lines and color deviations on the rock. It is about illustration more than art but I can see working this kind of method into greater works. I feel pretty satisfied with the amount of work I am getting done – especially now that I am warm.



Final Weeks Plans: I gave up any plans of camping. I struggled with my thoughts about camping but I can honestly say now that I do not like camping alone. I am sure of that. Especially in the winter when you have 10-12 hours of darkness and you are sitting all alone in the dark, it is 15º or less in the higher elevations, and it is just not fun. The more I read about deaths in the park brochure, experienced my own acquaintance’s death I just found it too stressful to do alone. I am glad I am finally at peace with that decision. My partner Lisa arrives Tuesday. It is her 40th birthday. I have organized something very special. I chartered a private plane and a boat to take us on a full days tour of Southwest Tasmania. The southwest is World Heritage designated, it has no roads, no civilization and pure 4500 sq. km of wilderness. 1,111,974 acres. The plane will land on the water to meet a boat that will take us to a marine researve of Bathurst harbour. We have a good change of seeing whales and seals.

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HIlary Lorenz drawing

This morning marks 4 weeks gone. I can’t help but think of it as running a 10k. The first mile while you want to hold back you take off a bit too quickly out of excitement. My taking off at LSC was hiking all the trails in the first three days, leaving no more new day routes to hike.


The second mile you try to settle in and set up a pace and keep alert at the same time relax your body. At LSC I got a daily drawing routine in order, arranged wood for my fire, and got on the wireless at the café, things ran smoothly and it was beautiful.

Mt. Ida drawing

The third mile. You suffer if you went out way too fast you might even loose a little bit of time especially if you encounter hills. My biggest mistake out here was letting the café know they had wireless Internet, they did not know and were suddenly alarmed. God forbid wireless Internet to the public. My third week of drawing I was beating my head against the wall my paper always falling down and the feeling of needing some outside contact, some energy, some comfort items and some new food, recharging time.

The fourth mile, this one can be painful because you are too far from the finish but feeling the affects of any mistakes.  My mistake of letting the café know they had wireless Internet caused quit a stir and the manager had it shut down. Now as an aside they gave me a password but strangely the wireless no longer works. It registers for a second and immediately drops out never to come back. While it may not sound like a big deal it has more to do with attitude and mentality. I am used to free wireless everywhere in cafes, public parks, bus stop benches, and it is not because I live in NYC. You could get wireless at a truck stop in the middle of Montana, it is normal for everywhere to have it, it is expected and it is always free.   In fact the Mayor of Philadelphia negotiated with Internet companies to provide it free for the city, anywhere are you walking you can pick up a signal.  NYC is trying to do the same, it is free everywhere but each business provides it individually.  Mayor Bloomberg had negotiated with the Internet providers to have it citywide so that it is available in every square inch of the city for free. I pick up about 17 different signals in my apartment including my own wireless of course. The philosophy is that everyone must be informed and have access to worldwide knowledge – I don’t think they share that philosophy here. But there are always drops of sunshine. My sunshine was going to Maren and Barry’s to see the possum and wallabies. I have since gone back during the day to see all three of them sound asleep. Plus Friday night I attended the most excellent vegetarian dinner party of 14 people where we got to sit around and bullshit about all the messed up crap in the world.  It is always reassuring when you are not the only one bitching.


Today, Mile 5. The light at the end of the tunnel though with still a lot of work to do and I am happy I still have two more weeks despite waking up in a pissed off mood today. First it was about the wireless and why it has to be such a big deal, then about the 1932 vacuum cleaner in my hut that could not have sucked the breath from a mouse let alone all the sticks and mud I track in here.  My 55” x 80” drawings fall off the wall denting the paper.  I still have one going but the other two are bent and it is very frustrating. Plus I can’t Harry keeping warmget the fucking fire to burn.

That made me feel better.  Being alone does help one understand exactly what makes one’s self tick and for me it is being around people of a like mind and sharing thought and activities.   That is why I am so thankful for Maren and Barry and Bech. I will miss them when I go; they have been so helpful in so many ways. Something as simple as learning that I have a washing machine at my disposal, which I learned yesterday but is still very helpful. They have loaned me books, gone over maps, discussed the landscape, and told me about Antarctica. Thanks to them I get a great sense of how it is living here in the park and it is very inspirational. They have created an extremely positive life style filled with activities centered on the wilderness without being cut off from society but rather engaging in it whole heartedly. In fact I was embarrassed to be told about he floods in Iowa, as I had not kept up on the news. But then they have a TV, radio and internet. I have internet when I go to the rangers stations which is saving my mental health.


I think there should be an orientation for the next artists. Someone could introduced the artist to the staff, show them where the garbage, recycling, wood, washing machine, and mail is. They could go over any policies, emergency procedures and contact info. I eventually did all of this by asking as things came up, but it feels a bit awkward to have to keep going to the rangers to ask such silly but important questions. This topic too we have discussed.


My plans for the next two weeks? Complete a large pencil drawing for the rangers. Go out camping for a night or two. I want to see the other mountains, which are a two-day walk from here.  I am not excited about going alone, it is not as fun, but I want to see them and it is the only way. Run 68 miles, that is over two weeks. Read the 5 books Maren loaned me.(by the time I posted this, 2 days later I already read 2)  Meet Lisa on the 8th! Lisa is coming for two weeks and I am very excited about that. Then on July 14 I go to Hobart, on the 18th to Melbourne to catch a bus for a two-hour ride to meet Susan who I have not seen in 7 years! I know that is more than 2 weeks but I am always thinking ahead.

lake St. clair rain


Well I am off to take a shower and wash my clothes.  It is a beautiful warm day today just over 40º F. I am thinking about going camping tomorrow and if I make it I will be treated to a big snowstorm in the mountains. But as always my tendencies are wavering each morning I wake up in the cold knowing that outside it may only be 25º it is that is being a touch stir crazy. 

I posted this one day after writing it and it snowed all night but by 10am it turned to rain and it has been raining for 3 hours and it is 30 degrees. I am not going camping, again, but I will go on the 3:00 boat ride to bike up the real hardcore hikers who are finishing their walk. I just can’t do it. I will go for my 8 mile run and spend the rest of the day drawing and reading and trying to stay warm.

Rocks at lake st. clair

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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