Thursday, October 30, 2008

Looking for Lust in the Morning and Climbing with Snakes in the Afternoon!

Today was the most awesome day for climbing! This morning I met up with Richard, Ron and John. They're three awesome climbers so they were able to lead some harder routes today. I had my best climbing day to date today. I did Too Low for Zero which was really challenging. I gave Looking for Lust a try. And then I tried again and again. The start is very strenuous to say the least. I finally got by it and made it a bit better than half way up. My body by that time was shaking from the effort but I was happy with my progress. All of us had a great climbing day this morning! I ended up climbing alot of the climbs up there. Then after a break I hooked up with the Red Wing crew. Todd had his first lead on Jenna's and Nicole had her first climb on Jenna's. Todd heard something on the way up. He wasn't sure what. Nicole didn't hear anything. I made my climb and when I heard it I knew exactly what it was. I yelled down "That's a rattle snake in that crack!" I came right down and we pulled the rope and went to Dealers Choice. Todd led and we were joined by Davis and Caleb and Shirley. It was Caleb's first outdoor climb today also! Everyone did great on the second climb. I'm glad it worked out that way. Shirley said it best when she said it was just God's way of saying it was time for us to up our game. What a great day! Beautiful weather and fantastic climbing all around!

Ron leading Looking for Lust!

Me on Cinc Jour D'Affille

Todd's first outdoor lead!

Nicole's first outdoor climb

Todd leading Dealer's Choice

Shirley on Dealer's Choice

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Happy Pug!

One of the things I missed the most about my dogs getting older is not being able to go on long walks. Pugs in their prime can run the bluffs for hours! I found this jogging stroller on craigslist for a measly $10! Boo has had a decline this spring and summer. To tell the truth I was thinking of the unthinkable but I could tell she wasn't ready to go. I'm glad I didn't. About a month and a half ago she took a turn for the better. I have been doing physical therapy on her and it's working. We are at the point of strengthening her back legs now and she's walking much better. With her new found health she is getting bored. With the stroller we're able to take long walks just about anywhere. A great $10 bucks spent for sure. In the photos are my two favorite Red Wing statues...the Jesters and Colvil Park. Colvil is a great place to watch eagles all winter long. Click on the Jester photos to see the detail.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Fall on the Louis

I don't think there was four luckier paddlers in Minnesota today! The day turned out to be spectacular! Sunshine and warm...well, warm for Minnesota fall. Allen, Dan, Dave and I paddled what may be the last Louis run for me this year unless rains come soon. We took our time running the river to make it last. Even the wind on the reservoir was from the side and not an issue today. We topped it off eating at Cosy's restaurant in Carlton...very good food for sure! I had such a good time paddling that when I woke up and saw sunshine out my window I had thoughts of paddling the Louis again. That lasted only until I got on my computer and saw the weather for Carlton today was 1 to 2 inches of snow with winds gusting to 50 mph. Ahh well...I can still hope fall rains will bring up the Vermillion river.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Leading Ladies!

Sunday afternoon at the YMCA! There wasn't anyone climbing except Shirley, Gabby, Olivia and I for the first hour and a half. We were able to climb all we wanted. All of us did some lead climbing today. I'm looking forward to Shirley and her girls leading outdoors. Both are very talented natural climbers! Us matriarchs aren't too shabby also!

Apple Cake Run

Once a year I make an apple's sooo rich I can only make it once a year and only for cold water paddling. Disclaimer...if surf ever comes up while I'm off work I may be talked into making it again or a late Nov Louis run. . Marie, Art, Dave, Tom and I ran the Kettle at 800cfs. The day was gorgeous! Still a few leaves on the trees and lots of sunshine! Just a wonderful day on the river! Check out Marie's article in the Minneapolis Examiner

Friday, October 17, 2008

Apple for fall paddling!

German Apple Cake
Here's the recipe for that cake I brought with to Lake Superior. I'm going to give the original recipe and I'll add how I changed it. I never follow recipes completly by the here it is. Enjoy!
4 eggs
2 cups sugar
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons vegetable oil..I used canola or grapeseed
1 tsp real vanilla extract

2 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp cinnamon...I also added 1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
4 cups chopped peeled tart apples..I used almost 5 cups of Haralsons
3/4 cups chopped pecans or walnuts..I used 1 1/2 cup walnuts

Directions: Peel and chop the apples and soak them in a bowl of cold water with a splash of lemon juice added. Set that aside. In a large mixing bowl, beat the eggs, sugar, oil, and vanilla. In another bowl combine the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda, and salt. Add to egg mixture and mix well. Drain the apples well. Fold in apples and nuts. Pour into a greased 13x9x2 in. pan. Bake at 350 for 55-60 min. or until a toothpick comes out clean.

1 pkg. cream cheese, softened...I used 1 and 1/2 pkgs
2 tsp butter...I used about 2 tablespoons.
2 c. powdered sugar...I didn't measure. I just kept adding until it was the thickness I wanted.Directions: Beat cream cheese and butter together and then add powdered sugar. Refrigerate the left overs.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008


With water being in local short supply I've been taking climbing classes. The anchors clinic and the knots clinic from the U of M. I've learned alot from them. This week our Tuesday night climbing group got a lead climbing clinic from me! I spent the majority of the two hours taking my partners thru lead climbing. Shirley and Todd have been really looking forward to leading up on Barn Bluff and both made it look easy. The surprise superstars of the night were Gabby, 11 and Olivia, 10. Both of Shirley's daughters have been climbing at the Y with us and show fantastic ability. Gabby tried leading and did super! Such a natural! The biggest suprise was Olivia! She asked if she could try and got the go ahead from her Mom. She made all the clips but couldn't quite get the beeners open on the chains...they were locking beeners so they were tough even for us adults. She's another natural climber! AJ too!
The young men that belay at the Y, Davis and Caleb, also got their first try at leading. Definately 100% class graduation! We also met another Red Wing native that's been climbing for 19 years but has been out of it since marriage and kids and his usual partner moving to Colorado. It was very good to meet Tony as he's very expeienced and wants to start climbing again. He also ice climbs and has done Nightfall several times. My goal for this winter is Nightfall. It's great to see all the enthusiasm for climbing!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Fall on the Kettle

With a overcast start I headed up to the Kettle River to meet up with Kent, Sally, and Lew. We met up with Tom, Brian and Dave at the put in for a very nice group of paddlers. The sun made a valiant effort to come out but not quite. The word to describe my day on the river was mellow. I was in a mood to just run the river and ride the wave trains. Look at the leaves and just enjoy the good company. Everyone had a great day paddling. Happy Birthday to Kent!

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Barn Bluff Climbing

It was a beautiful fall afternoon. Shirley, Gabby, Todd and I headed up to Barn Bluff to do some climbing. Todd who is a student in Red Wing is from Madison and today was his first time outdoor climbing. He did great! Shirley is a very new climber but she already has the passion for the sport. She's doing fantastic. The climbing wall at the Y just opened up and her children have been climbing with us. All three show great ability for climbing. I was glad to see her daughter Gabby came with today. When she saw the climb she said "no way" but after watching her Mother, Todd and I she was game to try. She did the harder route up the very first fun to see. The time went fast and we have plans to climb Barn Bluff most Thursday afternoons unless I'm on afternoon shift. This week has been chaotic but very fun. I just did seven midnight shifts yet each day I was able to fit something else in. I took two climbing courses this week. Monday at Midwest Mountaineering with Carolyn. If you haven't taken one of her classes she's great! Different teachers have different strengths. She's very strong on technique and movement. Tuesday I climbed at the Y. Wednesday I took an anchors clinic at the U of much info! Now I need to add to my rack and go out and practice setting up anchors. This Tuesday at the Y we'll be having a small informal lead climbing class. Shirley and Todd are very interested to start leading. The young men who belay at the Y are interested in joining us also. And so it begins. It'll be a good climbing year for sure. For those interested in ice climbing the Sandstone Ice Festival is coming up They have FREE clinics on ice climbing but sign up early so you can get a spot.'s very addicting! Hey are you missing the paddling photos?? I know I am! The Kettle should be beautiful tomorrow!!! Fall colors!



Sunday, October 05, 2008

Working Weekend and Keeping it Real

Photos by Kari Urban

I started my midnight shifts this Thursday night. All my rowdy friends went to rivers and I was feeling left behind. Nolan King had a glass blowing party so since I have aways been fascinated by glass blowing I was really looking forward to this. When I was in college I did alot of art. I had wished to keep with this line but life just didn't work that way for me. Glass blowing is something I really would like to try...hopefully this time I can work it out. I did pottery in college and I'm thinking it would be good to try that again. If there is one thing I have learned it's to try to do things you love for work. Your life will be much happier if you can. Check out Nolan's web site at and especially this page on his award winning snake walkway...incredible! Here's a link to the Nichka Glass Blowing studio

Sunday...I actually slept during the day. This midnight shift Boo has been keeping me up during the day making it very hard for me to function. I met up with my new climbing partners at the YMCA...old friends but new to climbing and loving it. This year at the Y the crack is my favorite climb. Everyone is doing fantastic! They're naturals at climbing! I'm looking forward to doing more of Barn Bluff. Maybe this week. Anyway even though I usually just sleep and work 12 hour shifts on the weekend I was able to get out and enjoy the things I love to do. Check out Bryan's Blog for what I missed...Looks like they had a blast!

Short update. I've checked the courses and it looks like I will be able to take a few each semester...this could be fun!