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Our final Halloween in Madison was great! Not nearly as crowded as years past, which was nice - I felt like I could actually mingle and talk to people. This year was 1990s themed and my friends always impress me with their costuming skills.







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Running: Running has been going well - this is my first repeat week. I realized this week that my appetite hasn't changed at all, which is weird, but my sleeping habits have - I need a lot more sleep than I used to, which makes 6AM yoga very hard. On the other hand, I am so glad I am training with a plan - I haven't skipped a run once and no injuries!

Wearing: It's a rainy day here in Madison, which means I will cheer myself up with my new dress!



Planning: Another side effect of the running program - it takes a lot of time. You have to set aside, between the run and the shower after, at least 90 minutes twice a week and two hours once a week. Combined with working two jobs, writing a dissertation, traveling for research, rock climbing, yoga, and some standing commitments it is very hard to schedule anything with friends. For example, I owe a friend dinner - but finding time to do all of this, plus *make* a home cooked meal before 9PM at night? We've settled for 5:30 on Sunday before my house is descended upon by Game of Thrones fans (apparently we're the only people in our friends group with cable - Kendra has a key to our place and just stops by to set the dvr for random sporting events... but at least she buys me mani-pedis).

Dissertation: Yesterday was spent writing about The Velveteen Rabbit - there is surprisingly little written about children's literature and illness... I see an article in my future.
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or; the Whale?



Flooding in Vermont:







Wind damage in Vermont:





Jamie and Susannah's wedding :)

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We left off our third and final night of the trip. Our last day was the shortest of the days: just about 5 1/2 miles out, with the last part meeting back up with where we left. With one car it's hard to anything but a loop, but Yellowstone doesn't have many loops. This was more of what they call a "lollipop."



We took a break under that tree:



We weren't in a rush, so we enjoyed the scenery and I spotted some Elk with my binoculars:



They were too far away to get a picture, but they were on this slope:



We started to encounter people again at this point. In fact, after we branched off for the Buffalo Plateau we didn't encounter another single hiker until near the end of day 3, when we crossed paths with some Germans. The next day we saw some Australians. That was it until we met back up with the Coyote Creek trail. I wish I could capture the looks on these peoples face though, as they thought the 500 ft. descent/ascent they were doing as a short hike was bad enough and then they see our grizzled faces and packs.





Before we began the ascent to the parking lot we came across some horses and their riders, which also meant we dodged horse droppings the whole way up.



Remember the Buffalo Plateau? I DO.



After!



Being a Saturday, we could only hope for a cancellation at a campground but there weren't any. We booked a backcountry site just .5 miles off a road and drove up to Gardiner, MT, where we got a tip about a new fancy hotel that we bargained a two bedroom suite from 295 down to 175 a night.



We were very happy to take showers:



And eat real food:



Our waiter really liked our music choices in the jukebox (mostly Grateful Dead) and when he brought our fried dough appetizer told us it was "chronic." Yeah, he knew the score!



Will, Steve, and I stayed in to enjoy the hotel room and Nick and Jason went out on the town. Our waiter at dinner had told them about some local jam band. They ended up getting rather drunk!



The next morning we ate a massive breakfast (except for Nick, who due to a really bad hangover stuck to toast and fruit!)



We stopped for an early dinner in Cody, where I found a new friend:



And then drove through the night Rapid City to get Steve to the airport to fly back to Boston. We ate at an all night IHOP and then continued on, nonstop, to Madison (oh, well, we stopped in Rochester, MN for Culvers :)

THE END! Hope you enjoyed it!!

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