Monday, January 28, 2008


What a beautiful way to wake up. Drink a cup of joe and head to Pepin and find it full of kiters! The wind was nice with light gusting...snow was wet and sticky though. I rode for a bit...socialized and then rode until my kite didn't have enough wind...then drank a beer and socialized more. It was great meeting new people and seeing people I know enjoying my hood! One thing I've realized today is that Pepin is going to be a challenging teacher for kiting for me. It can be anything from a kitten to a gusty tigress with PMS and everything in between. I'm getting better at understanding and handling the gusts. Now if we can just get some more snow I'll be a happy camper...oops... I mean kiter!

Friday, January 25, 2008

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Kiting Today

Forcast...West 12 mph...Reality 20mph and gusting to ? Result....Whheeee....oooops (sent the kite on a gust) airtime!!!! (my first real airtime) on my skis...then butt....then drug a bit. Stand back up (sans skis) and I'm OK! What a day!

Monday, January 21, 2008

Free Heeling

Finally! I got out to try my telemark skis! The day started with a bit of wind so I ran to Lake City to throw my kite up and wouldn't you know it....I killed the wind. It was borderline whether it was enough to fly my kite but it soon died to dead calm. Being a firm believer that every sport has it's time I figured it was time to try the telemark skis out. I started on the bunny hill. Since I have had no instruction in this kind of skiing I took it slow. Testing the abilities of the skis it was a thrill to learn their personality. Sometimes you discover things that just harmonize with your body. The feel of telemark felt so natural to me...I couldn't get enough of the way they handled going down the slope. I did try the bent knee turns a bit but I will have to have a pro give me a bit of instruction on that technique. Any pros out there?? I guess the down side of this night is I know I will never take my Solomons on the hills again. I know I've out grown them and will need a longer downhill ski. I'll still use them for kiting but that's about all. BTW for all the kiters I know...Pepin had 4 inches of softly bonded snow at noon, and we got at least 2 more of fresh today and tonight. Tuesday at noon at the point in Lake City. Winds W at 12mph. One last note...I actually felt confident taking a jump with the telemark skis..whooo hoooo!

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Basic Safety Course

Waaaaay below zero today so I signed up for the Basic Safety Course at Vertical Endeavors. It was a very good class and I did learn alot today. Most importantly I feel very comfortable belaying another person. I grouped up with Angie and Tom and the three of us stayed after class and climbed until after 4 today. Good people and definately good climbing today!

Friday, January 11, 2008

Devil's Den

This is the bottom of the bowl. You can see where ice is starting to form. I am told it'll go all the way to the top of the cliff.

Today at work I mentioned to my co workers I was going to go ice climbing in the evening. Jay told me about a spot back in the boonies of Wisconsin called Devil's Den. He said ice forms there and it's a pretty steep drop...maybe 100 feet! Well we got the topographical map out and he showed me the location. Since I had time I went over and hiked some bluffs to scope it out. To get there, you follow an almost dry wash to the cliff edges of the Kinni and it falls away into this carved out steep canyon. and then down to the river. The ice is minimal right now but that maybe due to the thaw?? I'll be checking back in a few weeks to see if there's anything more there. It could be something good later this winter! The chuckle of the week came when my foreman upon hearing I was going to hike in to see it warned me to "be careful".

Monday, January 07, 2008

Da Verm!

The ice is breaking up quite a bit. The bottom pool is still frozen though. I'll keep an eye on it but if it doesn't break tomorrow then I doubt it will. If we had gotten the rain that alot of Wisconsin got today we'd really be having some fun! Pray for rain...or snow...or wind...there's no one trick ponys in this crowd.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Swede Lake...The Whitewater Crew...Plus Two!

Bryan, Caleb, Nicole, Jackie and I went to the Swede Lake Kite Festival today. Today Bryan was starting Caleb, Jackie and Nicole out kiting for their first time. Bryan is the reason I started into kiting. He's a fantastic teacher in just about any sport he does and he gave me my first lesson last winter. It was alot of fun helping him today. Our three fledglings did just fantastic!! All three were able to get rides on the 5M Samuri! Great job! One new kiter and two new kite divas! Check out Bryan's blog for more photos.

Swede Lake...The Festival.

These are some scenery shots of the Festival. It was breathtaking to see so many kites in the air. Just beautiful!!

Swede Lake...The Kicker!

I didn't make it over to the kicker until sunset but there was some amazing air gotten by some talented people!!! The effort put into creating this park is phenomenal. It's great what a little imagination and effort can do!

Friday, January 04, 2008

Da Bear

I went to Da Bear today and met up with Lisa. She played with my trainer and I showed her how to set up my inflatable TD. Then I launched and rode for awhile. The Pro riders showed up and put on quite a show. Amazing air!! Since I have had a hunch that my lines aren't exactly right on my kite I asked to see Mike's set up. Sure enough my kite wasn't right. Thanks Mike for setting me up right! It was really a learning experience watching these riders. Hopefully I'll get there...or at least close.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Wild Winds

Wow was the wind whipping today. I started this morning with my 10M TD but the wind was really wicked. The gusts were pretty high...maybe 35+mph at times. I kited for an hour and then decided that it was only a matter of time before I got a good beat down. Pete had the same idea and landed back by the bags and tied in. He came over and asked if I wanted to try his 3M foil. Sure! The wind was ripping good enough that Pete was able to show me how to get air with that little kite (3 inches). But I skied for hours with it and at one point I was going so fast with 3 little meters that I was out of control...but still having fun! The wind was creating snow cyclones and if we watched we could see them form in the distance and expect the blast. I tried to catch them in the first photo here. Sometimes...sometimes...smaller is not only better...but necessary.

Igor and Demitri from New Years Eve.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Year in Review

Well this year has been something hasn't it. Starting out with learning to kite last Feburary. I didn't get enough of kiting last winter as spring busted loose and the rivers were running. But unfortunately at the same time I ended up with my shoulder getting injured at work which slowed me down considerably. Once I could paddle again I definately tried to make up for lost time. I got out on other rivers this year and loved it! Duluth has to be the greatest place to live in the all are sooo lucky to have all that right in your backyards! Papstapalooza was a blast! Memorial day weekend was great and I was feeling so great I was thinking I should take up running just to wear off more energy. Then something happened. I ran the Baptism and was really puzzled by a lack of energy and weakness. Sure I smacked my face on the last drop but that was due to my being totally exhausted which is very unusual for me. When I went to the Dr. for stitches I had him pull a Lymes test because I realized wasn't natural for me to feel weak like that. Well this was the start of a freaky part of my life. I had episodes of dizzyness and exhaustion right up until about the beginning of November. And YES they had me scared. I really got worried when I found out my co worker also was having the same things as we work at a chemical factory. Long story short the Mayo MRI'd my brain...normal...can you believe that? They checked everything from A to Z...all perfect! Checked my heart and it's solid. My co worker was being seen at the University and they ran him thru everything and the diagnosis we both got must have been a virus. When I asked what kind they said it was probally a relative of Mono. I asked "How did I get this?" I wondered about the river water but the Dr. said 95% of people carry this just got out of hand with me. My Dr. also stressed that my swinging work schedule was not very good for my health and could have contributed to it...oh well. My co worker is better also but he's not 100% yet. Moving on July was highlighted by the Colorado trip and more Upper and Lower Louis trips...I didn't want to quit paddling and did what I could...took it easy when I had to. You know when I was paddling my creek boat this summer I was tired. I know my paddling buds wanted me to push "it" more but I just didn't have it in me then...thanks for being patient with me!! Then I found my perfect match!! No not a man but an All Star. Love that boat! My last kayaking trip on the Louis this fall was great because I knew I had my health pretty much back and didn't have to worry about that. This winter so far I've tried ice climbing. I want to do more of that but I need to find some partners and get a a few lessons. I also started indoors climbing and I'm looking forward to rock climbing this summer. All in all it's been an interesting good year! My hit list of things to do this next year is to take up Telemark skiing ( that will be this week! ) and also ski the North Shore creeks yet this winter. I want to travel more... Run more rivers...get up to Sturgeon Falls and the Ottawa and also back to Colorado to paddle and climb/hike. Maybe even kiss a few men ;-) Oh yeah and loop at Wausau! As for my health going into 2008...right now I have more energy than I know what to do with but I'm always open to suggestions. My fitness level is great and my strength is almost where I'd like it to be. My on side roll is pretty solid now. I'll be working on the off side and hand roll this winter. I think this is going to be a fantastic year!

Happy New Year!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Hope you had as much fun as I did!!!!!! Whooo Hooooooo!!!