Oct. 13th, 2014 02:38 pm
brdgt: (Mrs. Robinson Closer)
The Move: We've booked a moving truck (even with gas for the truck and the car this was still the cheapest option and at least we'll have our stuff right away), are about to sign a lease on a 3 bedroom apartment in Albany (wood floors, pantry, dishwasher, front porch, built ins, good neighborhood, previous tenant was there 9 years), and have started packing things up here.

Work: Sent my latest chapter off to my advisor and it was returned with reasonable edits (I'm very happy with this one, it's a turning point in the dissertation's argument) and my boss is very sad to see me go at Ancestry. One of the things I've enjoyed about that job is the performance monitoring they do - you can check your productivity daily and compare it to your squad, team, shift, and other shifts. Unlike grad school, which leaves you constantly wondering how you are doing, I know that I am one of their top performing workers (images per hour, QC disagreements, amount of time actively working in programs), even after only 90 days on the job.

Utah: Last weekend we went down to Arches again and did a backcountry trip in Canyonlands. Nick's old roommate had flown out to go with us and it was a little bit of an adjustment for him to do desert hiking (no peak to conquer or even trail to stick to - just explore!) but I think he ended up really enjoying it and appreciating nature more than he usually does camping. (It was also sort of funny to realize I am now in better shape than Jason, when he kept trailing behind us. Back in Yellowstone a few years back I was always the last person up the hill)

Jason imitating Edward Abbey:

Taking our packs off for a few minutes - about to descend into the Canyonlands - our destination is that bend in the river behind us, about a 21 miles round trip. It was nice to have a third person around to take photos of the two of us!

The descent mostly occurred here, at this rock slide (looking back up it). We descended 995' in .95 miles over dozens of switchbacks. Gorgeous views.

Looking back at where we had descended.

Taking a break on the way back up, with a view of Airport Tower and our hiking buddy. <3 Utah.
brdgt: (Mrs. Robinson Closer)
Dissertation: Trying to finish a draft of this rheumatic fever chapter by the Fourth of July. Not sure if I'll make it, but I'm enjoying writing it and getting in a good productivity groove around it. It makes me hopeful for finishing the whole dissertation this fall. I can write a chapter a month, I really can. The chapter combines some old favorites (The Welfare State!) with some topics that I'm discovering are very understudied and would be great material for future articles (especially the history of convalescent homes and the field of occupational therapy). I also have some meta thoughts in my head right now about the privileging of fiction writing over non-fiction writing....

Finances: I have an interview with Ancestry.com next week for a part time historical digital specialist, so send some "good luck" my way. I have about one hundred dollars to my name, although some careful planning from earlier this year means I can survive a little longer (combined with Nick's salary), but I need something soon, especially with fall tuition coming due in September. Chatting with a fellow historian girlfriend of mine about the realities of this job market, the two-body problem, quality of life, and altered expectations cheered me up some. We both struggle but also count our blessings that we are with our partners, live in a part of the country we like, and can practice our profession even if it's not the way we expected to. I struggle with the bitterness sometimes, but playing the victim about the status of academia right now is naive and disingenuous - there are lots of things I could have and can do, while still seeing being righteously angry about the status of our profession.

I mean, apparently, we live in the least stressful city in the United States!

Fun: We got out to a minor league baseball game on Monday, which was really fun.


We have two apricot trees in the back yard (one hanging over the fence from the neighbor that is ripe now and the one just outside my window that will be ripe soon) so I am looking into canning, drying, and fermenting them. The first two I've done before but I've only ever made kombucha, so it will be a fun new endeavour to try making mead. I need a few supplies (a carboy and an airlock) but I can get the books from the library and have a perfect home set up for it (our wine cellar has seen more use from aging beer and kombucha than wine...).


We are planning a trip to Glacier National Park over the holiday weekend. It's a ten hour drive, which we'll probably do overnight. It's Nick's favorite park and he's been there twice - once car camping and once backpacking. The Glacier NPS website is ridiculously helpful - they have trail updates, historical fill times of campgrounds, and daily updates on plowing (the main road through the park is still impassable due to snow - welcome to the Rockies!). We will consult with rangers when we get there about what we can access and have equipment for (we aren't as hardcore as ice picks and crampons... yet), but the Three Passes hike looks perfect.

Big Drift, 6-25-2014
brdgt: (Mrs. Robinson Closer)
When we drove back to Wisconsin last summer, after apartment hunting, we briefly stopped at Dinosaur National Monument and knew we had to go back - so that's what I asked for for my birthday :)

We left Thursday night and spent the first night at a campground near the Visitor Center - convenient to get started the next day. Sadly, the park rangers were not as useful with back country advice as we've experienced in the past, but we were able to put together a nice weekend, including several hikes, an amazing drive, and the best backcountry site you could ask for.

Seriously, when people say Zion is their favorite Utah national park I am starting to think they are oncrack.

The Mitten Park Fault - our view after we hiked out to a beach on the Green River:


Happy campers:


The view of the Mitten Park Fault and Steamboat Rock from 2,500 above. It's hard to tell, but the Yampa River (which you can see a little of in the center of the photo) is actually meeting the Green River (which you can see more clearly on the right side) behind Steamboat Rock, even though those rocks look continuous.


Lots of abandoned (and not abandoned) ranches:


Our campsite at Ruple Point. No complaining allowed:


Split Mountain dominates the center of the park. The Green River splits the mountain (which is the far eastern edge of the Uintas - the highest east-west mountain range in the lower 48) in half lengthwise - so, you can see how each side would match up with each other by matching the geologic layers.


Dinosaur National Monument is named for the massive Dinosaur quarry formed by a "log jam" of dinosaur bones that then fossilized and folded on it's side, preserving many specimens that are usually found flattened.

There are also many Fremont Petroglyphs.


This is the only place one can find Fremont lizard petroglyphs.


Seriously, if you want beautiful scenery, quiet, space, and variety I highly suggest this gem. We are already planning our next trip there to see the northern side of the Green River and explore some slot canyons.

brdgt: (Windy Road by iconomicon)
I'm seriously without words. Best vacation ever.



Lake Superior







brdgt: (Windy Road by iconomicon)
On Saturday morning Nick and I are going Up North (as Wisconsinites like to say) to the Upper Penninsula of Michigan and the Apostle Islands of Northern Wisconsin for a long backcountry trip to celebrate our three year anniversary.

We are roughly following this route in the Porcupine Mountains (four days, three nights), which will includes waterfalls, Lake Superior, three peaks, and a mountain lake (The Lake of the Clouds), hopefully all during nice Fall color.

The route should cover about 40 miles:

Then we are going to drive three hours over to the Apostle Islands for another few nights - hopefully one or two of which on the islands where they have just one campsite per island. You have to kayak out to them and the waters of Lake Superior can be very choppy, especially in mid-September, but we're hoping we can check out the sea caves:


Oct. 29th, 2011 11:32 am
brdgt: (Default)

brdgt: (Windy Road by iconomicon)
Newport State Park, Door County, Wisconsin - October 2011.

Fall is in full swing, as we hike the almost 2 miles in to our campsite:

Our campsite was right on the beach and we arrived at sunset:

The next morning:

More foliage:

We hiked out along Lake Michigan:

and picked up some Door County souvenirs on the way home the next day:

10 hours of driving for 20 hours of camping, but totally worth it.
brdgt: (Default)
[livejournal.com profile] antarcticlust's bachelorette party was a success!

Being an all lady car camping event, we lived it up in style, starting with mixing the sangria in the Target parking lot...

This park is right on the Wisconsin and Mississippi rivers and I've always wanted to go...

We had a group campsite:

Ate well:

Went canoeing on the Mississippi River:

Enjoyed the views:

I made amazing fires:

And some of the girls got really bitten up:

(Don't tell anyone, but apparently I either don't get bitten or don't have the allergic reaction. I also don't get poison ivy...)

Came home to realize the ill health I was feeling was not allergies, but a cold and put unpacking on hold a bit to rest up.

Gear Post

Aug. 3rd, 2011 12:23 pm
brdgt: (Default)
[livejournal.com profile] astronautical asked (and I had been thinking about doing) a post about the gear we use on our backcountry trips, so here goes...

Absolutely necessary, buy the best you can and as light in weight as you can:

  • Tent (Nick's)
    Sleeping bag (Mine - Nick has the men's version - the zip together :)
  • Sleeping pad (Mine - the only thing I would like better is if it had the loops that you can use to attach your bag to the pad, but I like the the grippy things, which are designed to make your bag stick to it)
  • Backpack (Mine - It should have a built in water reservoir, a good hip belt, a detachable or convertible top compartment [for day trips or makeshift pillow], and you should be measured for it to make sure it fits correctly)
  • Stove (Mine - backcountry camping food is typically Freeze Dried
  • Meals
  • that you rehydrate with boiling water. You don't need a fancy camp stove and the jetboil boils water in 2 minutes. It's also great for that Starbucks Via coffee)

Optional, comfort that feels necessary sometimes:

  • A pillow (Nick stuffs extra clothing into his fleece and uses that. I don't bring enough clothing for this to work and sleeping well is so important. I use this one when I have enough room [it's also great for the car] and something like this for trips where space is more limited)
  • A swimsuit (doubles as an extra layer)
  • Moist towelettes (if you are clean there, you don't need to worry about much else)
  • A frisbee (or whatever leisure activity you like - cards, a journal, a book, etc - if your companions get up later than you then you especially want this. I like to bring a book about the place we are hiking and this trip I picked up a laminated animal tracks guide - hours of entertainment!)
  • Sandals (I upgraded from cheap flip flops to Chaco's on this trip and it was worth the weight and money. You will want to take your hiking boots off whenever possible and these function for river fording to boot.
  • A serving spoon (your spork is great, but it won't get the stuff at the bottom of the bag).
  • Binoculars (Best tip I got for this trip - great for just relaxing and enjoying the view, route finding, and animal viewing)

Important, but spend what you want:

  • Water filtration (Nick's - the purification tablets are gross)
  • Hiking boots (Mine - they are pretty heavy duty, but therefore multi-purpose - I've taken them to the desert and through snow and rarely get pebbles in them or have to worry about them drying out after they get wet.)
  • Eating utensils (I use these squishy bowls (don't get dented in your pack) and these utensils (sporks with the knife on the other end are nice in theory, but you may need one utensil to hold what you are eating while cutting it)
  • Stuff sack, rope, heavy duty carabiner (if you are in bear country you will need these to string up your food and other scented items. I just use my climbing carabiner and utility cord is just fine for rope)
  • Knife (have you seen 127 Hours?)
    Compass, topo map, and/or GPS (You will want the compass and map even if you have the GPS in case you run out of battery power)
  • Headlamp (I can't stress enough how important this is, don't even bother with a flashlight and try to get one with red, as well as white lights, to keep mosquitoes from drowning in your dinner when you shine your light on it. I found this one at our Cascade Lake campsite and love it.)
  • A poncho (you won't really need to for yourself if you have a raincoat, but it doubles as a backpack cover and is nice and compact)
  • A watch (I have a cheap digital one. It has an alarm and tells time, really all you need).
  • A water bottle (some people think you need an insulated mug and a water bottle, but I'm never drinking something long enough that I need to worry about it staying warm. I have a 16 oz one, which I like because it has the measurements on the side for measuring out my coffee or other water)
  • Lots of ziploc baggies (remember, it's carry in-carry out, everything).
  • Cathole shovel (you need to ask?)
  • Camptowel (something like this - it's less for your body and more for drying off your tent and cookware).
  • First Aid Kit (I have this one - make sure it has tweezers, a safety pin, antiseptic wipes, and moleskin - most of your injuries will be blisters).
  • Deet containing bug spray and sunscreen (don't get huge containers, it goes further than you think)


  • Convertible pants (Mine - you will ideally only pack one set of clothing, just many layers, so by combining pants and shorts this does the trick. I love how these have pull cords on the bottom for keeping them up out of the mud. I just wish they had a belt, because you typically have to start hiking them up by the end of the trip)
  • Tank top (I am a D cup, so I am at the upper limit of this working, but I prefer the ones with shelf bras - one less layer, I have this one and one from North Face)
  • Hiking socks (REI ones are just fine and you get a deal when you buy a certain amount)
  • Long sleeve top (I use a running jacket that I own - it's not terribly warm, it's more for when it starts to get dusk and/or to keep the mosquitoes from biting you)
  • Raincoat (I have this Marmot coat - it compacts down really small, has a hood, vents in the sides, and really breaks the wind)
  • Underwear (the last thing you want on a camping trip is a yeast infection and the fewer pair you have to pack the best. I like exofficio)
  • Underlayer (you can go with long johns or I just bring my running pants and long sleeve running shirt - they are warm enough, take up very little space, and are moisture wicking. The key principle in these layers is that your warmest layer should be the base layer, not the top layer - I have never been too cold with this system, but if I was doing more mountaineering I would probably also bring something like this. Remember, you are hiking or sleeping - there are very few times that you are not active or safe in your sleeping bag.)
  • Hat and gloves (quick drying and tight fitting - you will also want a brimmed hat for the day and a winter hat for night and/or cold weather)
  • Bandana (keeps mosquitoes away, keeps your neck cool - you might actually want two - one for your body and one for food)
  • Sunglasses (cheap is actually best, as they may break or get lost)


  • The aforementioned freeze dried meals (don't get ones with several steps, potatoes, or red sauce. the plainer the better, although spicy is good. I tried a few recipes at trailcooking.com on this trip and they were tasty, but so much more heavy than the freeze dried meals and I would never do that again on anything more than one night)
  • Bars (I get an assortment of Luna bars, especially the Lemon Zest - get a variety of flavors that work for breakfast, snack, or dessert - this will probably be your primary daytime food)
  • Sweets (chocolate is NOT a good idea - it will melt. I like Swedish fish, Jason liked sour candies, Steve liked jellybeans, etc.)
  • Beverages (everything will have to be water based, but that isn't a big deal - powdered coca, coffee, tang, etc. all make for something rather comforting right when you need it).

    Now, of course, you are not carrying all of this yourself every time. In general Nick carries the tent and I carry the food. You split things evenly as you can (one of you carries the trash and another carries extra fuel, etc). Any special things you require or prefer, well, you deal with that weight (extra pair of shoes, frisbee, lady needs, etc). I could go into more detail, so ask any questions you want.

    This is a pretty good idea of how big our packs looked the first day of a three night/four day trip:

    And let me tell you, it was heavy. Luckily, it gets better as you go on and eat more food.
brdgt: (Afterglow by Iconomicon)
I'm back! I posted an album on facebook if we are friends there, but here we go for LJ's sake:

See More... )
brdgt: (Default)

Looking douchey at a cave I was too claustrophobic to enter:

Enjoying nature (I think Nick was enjoying something else):

Our tent companions:

Some videos I finally uploaded from the Spring Break Road Trip:


brdgt: (Default)

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