brdgt: (Mrs. Robinson Closer)
Our Vegas trip was nice and weird.

On the one hand our friend footed the bill on almost everything, which I would feel bad about if he didn't clearly have the money and once I saw how much he *loves* Vegas and just wanted to share it with people. But on the other hand, the conspicuous consumption and unnatural extravagance is just... weird.

I had found a deal on a room at the Mirage, but our friend loves the Venetian so much that he just said he would pay the difference in price (which he must have lied about because I heard him check out - we must have only paid the difference for *one* night). The room was amazing (two queen beds, sunken living room, tv in the bathroom) but oddly impractical (probably designed for bachelor parties? no locks on any doors, separate toilet, but you had to walk through bathroom with glass shower to get to it?) and after seeing some of the other casinos, I can see why our friend prefers the Venetian.

Our friend has been to Vegas over 20 times and loves the fake nature displays in the malls that connect all of the casinos - I was far from Zion, that's for sure. The store after store of expensive handbags just got tedious and I wished I had some free time to enjoy the spa at the hotel (I did get to the fitness room one morning - which was very impressive and nicer than many gyms I've been to - but I didn't get to use the sauna or pool or steam room).

He also paid for our tickets to see the Cirque de Coleil show "O" - which is good because he bought front row seats that Nick and I would never agree to buy. I did enjoy the show more than I thought I would (the updated idea of the circus, the athleticism, and even the misdirection of the choreography).

Afterwards we walked around. More. I did enjoy the "ice bar" that we went to, but by Friday night and further from the nicer hotels, things were getting pretty gross and I was happy when we got back to the hotel room and our friend wanted to play some poker while we went to bed. There's only so many yelling drunk people, half naked women dancing on bars, and couples getting in fights that a girl can handle. Maybe I'm just getting old. Get off my lawn!
brdgt: (Where Cheddar Is Beddar by iconomicon)
Lots of catching up to do. Had a very busy, momentous, and successful trip back East. Saw my old Bridesmaid, Deborah, who I haven't seen in years, saw my dad, saw my brother, saw my old college roommate and his family, was very busy at the History of Science Society meeting with my Graduate and Early Career Caucus responsibilities (and a lot of successful networking with senior scholars - several of whom complimented my mentorship work), saw some Boston friends, and saw my brother's step-sisters' families (we have a confusing family!).

Deborah picked me up at the airport in Burlington and we had a slumber party that night before she drove me down to my dad's the next day:

Me and Dad:

I love New England stone walls:

As the resident Gemini I organize a UW reunion at HSS every year:

After which I headed off to the Graduate and Early Career Caucus opening night mixer at the Harpoon brewery. Here are the GECC officers giving ourselves a pat on the back:
New England 2013

Most humorously was having someone give me their number for the first time in my life. I was reserving a large table at the brewery for our group when someone at an adjacent table started chatting with me. I literally turned around for 1 minute to order my drink and when I turned around he pointed to my phone on the table and said "I put my number in there for you." Flattering - and he was pretty cute - but obvs. I'm taken :)
brdgt: (Mrs. Robinson Closer)
I visited the Georgia Aquarium yesterday...





New Orleans

Jan. 8th, 2013 02:11 pm
brdgt: (Mrs. Robinson Closer)
I had a wonderful time in New Orleans for the American Historical Association annual conference. In addition to some good panels on the history of medicine and networking I saw a lot of this:

Morning in New Orleans

And ate a lot of this:


Took a lot of photos of these:


I also paid a visit to Anne Rice:


I also got to meet [ profile] dlightful!

HSS 2012

Dec. 1st, 2012 06:40 pm
brdgt: (Mrs. Robinson Closer)
Thanks for all the tips about San Diego, I had a wonderful time. Much better than last year's HSS, for many reasons. The hotel was quite nice and so was my room. This was the view from it!


I went out to Coranado Island the first night.

And watched the sunset.

And took the ferry back for the opening reception.

I organized a recent alumni and current grad student dinner on Friday night. I hadn't seen Camilo in forever and it was especially nice to catch up with Matt, who just got married.

And went to the zoo on Saturday with Stacey (her husband was presenting at the conference). They have a baby hippo (the zoo, not Stacey and Adam)!

And sleepy koalas.

Stacey and I were a little silly :)

I also took a trolley tour on Friday morning and had lunch in Old Town and got a run in with an old medical history friend on Saturday morning. I definitely have a list of things to go back to see, but the visit just reaffirmed my love of southern California.
brdgt: (Grad Student by iconomicon)
Hey LJ, I've been reading, just busy trying to get over writer's block - think things have turned a corner though.

In the meantime, I'll be in San Diego Thursday-Saturday for the History of Science Society annual conference. I don't think I know anyone there (and I've been to LA enough to limit that area significantly - yah traffic!), but weather/clothing wise any suggestions? I'll be inside the hotel most days, but want to go to the beach for a run and go to the zoo with a friend.


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.

How Steep?

Oct. 12th, 2011 04:20 pm
brdgt: (Windy Road by iconomicon)
Some of Nick's pictures of Mount Mansfield:

I may have been exaggerating here...

I like how you can see me watching the bird here...

So green...

How steep is Mount Mansfield?

See More... )
brdgt: (Windy Road by iconomicon)
We last saw our intrepid adventurers when they left South Royalton, Vermont for Mount Mansfield. We had seen some flood damage, but most towns truly effected were cut off, but after grabbing lunch in Montpelier (where we saw lots of FEMA people) we drove through Waterbury, Vermont, where you could see how every home had been flooded.

Everything smelt like mud and the pastures where matted down from the flooding:

Vermonters have a way of finding humor in tough times though:

We stopped by the Ben and Jerry's factory!

And got to Underhill State Park just in time to set up our tent before dark and enjoy an awesome fire in the great firepit for our campsite. Underhill is off the grid, small, and super quiet - we loved it!

The next morning around 10:30 we started out. The park didn't have any maps to hand out and the maps they had posted didn't even have all the trails on them. We got two different answers from the ranger (who clearly "knew the score") but we figured out a nice long route that we ended up being super happy with (over 10 miles and over 2100 ft elevation change). We took the CCC Road to Maple Ridge to Rock Garden to the Wampahoofus to the Forehead, across the Ridge, to the Adam's Apple, to Lake of the Clouds, to the Profanity trail and back via the Sunset Ridge trail - all in 9 hours.

Nick likes extreme hiking and initially poo-pooed the elevation of Mount Mansfield, but I knew he'd enjoy the extremes of this hike, starting with the absence of switchbacks:

As a result you quickly get to the alpine zone of the mountain:

The trail was incredibly well marked, which is good, because otherwise we would have thought we were lost. Yes, they want us to go down that:

Looking back up:

So worth it:

The Rock Garden trail in particular was great, although it should have had a small box at the beginning, like the height chart at an amusement park ride, saying "you must be able to fit through this to go on this trail"

And this point Nick was totally in love with Mount Mansfield and we hadn't even reached the top! In this picture he is showing his sad face that they actually DON'T have us going up this rock face:

But that's ok, it doesn't take long to be back scrambling:

For great views:

We stopped for a quick lunch at the Forehead:

Being silly:

The summit was truly in the clouds:

Those white blazes? The Trail...

The other side of that:

The Sunset Ridge trail alternated between clouds and clear by the minute:

Finally made it back! Unlike backcountry trips we've done, Mount Mansfield actually wants you to sign back in that you made it!

brdgt: (Windy Road by iconomicon)
Coincidentally, we were scheduled to drive back East during and through the path of Hurricane Irene, with some quick visits along the way... with other meteorologists.

We left at 3PM last Saturday, drove through the night, hitting the worst weather between Syracuse and Albany, where we stopped to visit our first meteorologist at SUNY-Albany around 9AM. They like to find the tallest building to observe things from...

We left around noon, and drove through the Berkshires, where weather went from Hurricane to calm by the mile and we saw dozens of utility vehicles out. After a quick visit with my old college roommate, his wife, and new daughter we got to Boston around 6PM on Sunday. We grabbed dinner with Steve and stayed with Dan, a meteorology grad student at MIT.

The next morning was beautiful - not a cloud in the sky. We headed up to Portsmouth for dinner with my friend Katie and her boyfriend Eric. Neither of us had been there before and it was lovely.

I had checked that morning with my dad and we could get to his house in Vermont. We arrived around 10PM and went straight to bed. The next morning the first thing my dad says to me is that he's going to the hospital. He caught a nasty cold when my sister, niece, and grand-niece were there a few days earlier and it developed into an infection. In the light of day the road to his house looked like this:

Luckily a neighbor had flattened it out some with his backhoe. Vermonters.

We drove back from the hospital via Bethel, passing the Camp Brook road, which leads to Brookfield, a town that is being airlifted supplies since it is now cut off:

Back at my dad's we grilled some brats, played some horseshoes and backgammon, and chased the chickens around:

We left on Wednesday to hike Mount Mansfield...

Next up: The Trail Goes Where?
brdgt: (Windy Road by iconomicon)
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.


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!!
brdgt: (Windy Road by iconomicon)
We left off when we finally reached an area flat enough to camp on. Luckily, it was an unofficial backcountry site with a bear pole and everything.

It was a beautiful morning:

We had come down this slope the night before:

And the Hellroaring Creek was just as impressive the next morning:

Nick checked out the water situation:

Him looking up at me:

Despite the steep, rocky slope it was our best spot for water, so we filtered a bunch.

And washed a few things, including ourselves:

Then we got back to the camp to find a visitor!

He was panting, the poor thing...

We spent the day hiking parallel to the Hellroaring creek, going through wildflower filled meadows and shady wooded spots:

And a mudslide:

For lunch we stopped at an illegal backcountry site overlooking the creek:

Where Will and Jason flipped a coin for he last chicken, salsa, and cheese wrap from the day before. You find ways to entertain yourself...

I found a nice little perch to watch them skip stones:

And have our second animal spotting of the day - a Marmot! He was rather fascinated by our stone skipping:

So I decided to try it too:

After that we left the Beartooth Wilderness:

And entered back into the Park (a note, never, ever did we see signs when we entered Montana or returned to Wyoming - apparently park boundaries are more important than state ones!). The sign had seen better days...

We continued along the creek for the rest of the afternoon:

In the distance you can see the Buffalo Plateau that we hiked two days earlier:

We crossed over Hellroaring to get to our campsite for the evening, which was off of a little spur and right on Coyote Creek:

The site was beautiful - in a meadow with a shaded brook on one side and a hillside on the other, with lots of ground squirrels in between.

In fact, I'm pretty sure one of those ground squirrels took my comb!

I had had it out because I did a creekside hair "washing"

I had to change pants because I got waste water from cleaning my food bowl on my hiking pants (which means I could no longer keep them in the tent). Luckily I had brought my running pants as an underlayer - see my gear post about that!)

There were lots of butterflies:

That night we ATE ALL OF THE THINGS, so we didn't have to carry them the next, our final, day.

We were pretty darn hungry. In fact, I can't tell you how long it takes you to recover the calorie loss that happens on these trips. There is just no way you can eat enough calories to recover what you burn. Your body is building so much muscle, it's not just the cardio.

Next Up: Back to civilization :(
brdgt: (Windy Road by iconomicon)
The next morning Nick, Will, and I were up for a while before Jason and Steve, so we enjoyed good conversation over breakfast (you can see our bear pole here quite well):

And even read some:

Still a lot of damage from the 1988 fire:

We headed out around 11:30AM and pretty quickly came to a patrol cabin. They maintain the trails and backcountry sites with horses, so we first came upon the corral:

And we took a break (and availed ourselves of their outhouse, which had a seat and toilet paper!)

The closer we got to leaving the park the more the trail resembled a brook:

We stopped again on this ridge to rest and enjoy the view:

I climbed up that hill and enjoyed the view:

We encountered some snow:

And then left Yellowstone Park and entered the Beartooth Wilderness:

We would see tons of animals prints, scat, bones, and tree scrapings, but not an actual animal until the next morning (don't cha want to know, huh?)

Around this point we must have reached our peak elevation and then started heading downhill... with the water...

We stopped in this nice meadow for lunch (my chicken, cheese, and salsa wraps - the boys were huge fans and probably forgave my lagging behind just for this meal):

The first streams we had to cross often had shrubbery, later they would be larger:

Seriously, if this had been within park boundaries, I doubt they would have let us hike it:

Finally! A sign!

We thought we were close and it was rapidly getting dark, but we just kept descending this beautiful wildflower covered slope:

Until we finally came to the Hellroaring Creek and there was a campsite just over the river with a bear pole (we were on our own in the Beartooth Wilderness, but the ranger told us that there would probably be some makeshift sites if we kept an eye out).

We set up camp for the night and went to bed exhausted.

Next up: Hellroaring Creek
brdgt: (Windy Road by iconomicon)
So, due to park closures (a late Spring made many rivers unfordable, especially in the four corners of the park - where most of the cool long backcountry trips were located - and the Grizzly attack) we came up with a clever idea for a 3 night/4 day trip with the help of Ranger Kevin at Canyon Village. Mind you, I've never done more than 1 night without resupplying (at Joshua Tree water constraints made this necessary, even though we technically slept in the backcountry three nights in a row) and the boys had never done more than 2 nights, so this was a big deal for all of us.

Here's Nick's description of the trip with our map: " Our trip began just off the road (marked by the thick red line) near the "Floating Island Lake" text. Our first day we hiked across the Yellowstone River, then took a right on Coyote Creek Trail, and then another right on Buffalo Plateau Trail. From there we hiked up along that trail to our first campsite, at the end of the 0.7 mile spur. The next day we hiked back out to Buffalo Plateau Trail and continued north to the Poacher's Trail, which we took west, until we met up with the trail marked "97," where we took a right up to the trail marked "36". We actually never even saw the turnoff for the trail marked "288." We made our camp on the second night just on the west side of Hellroaring Creek. The next day we continued on trail 36 to trail marked "91" and turned left and continued on that trail all the way until we were inside the national park again. Then we took a left across the first bridge, and another left after that to head to our campsite on the third night, which is the one at the end of the spur in the center of this picture right on the Wyoming/Montana border. The last day we followed the creek on the east side until it cut back over to meet up with Coyote Creek Trail (where we turned off the first day), and then we just took the same we took on day one back to the car."

In this post I will only deal with Day One...


I believe this was taken from Garnet Hill, at the very beginning of the hike. In the distance is Buffalo Plateau, which, after a quick 500 ft. descent, we would spend the rest of the day climbing. It doesn't look like much, but it was a 2,600 ft. elevation ascent that we did in 4 1/2 hours (leaving the parking lot around 4:30PM and getting to our backcountry site around 9PM)

At the bottom of the first descent was this suspension bridge over the Yellowstone River. It made me feel a little queasy in the middle!

The entire trip required quite a bit of routefinding skills, at least at this point we had signs and a clear trail:

Just after we turned off for the Plateau we saw a family of Pronghorn!

I'm not going to lie - hiking this Plateau was probably the hardest thing I've ever done physically - the elevation change, lack of breaks, and weight of my pack made it physically difficult and trailing behind the boys was psychologically difficult. At least the view made it all worth it:

The one time we stopped and actually took our packs off:

Nick set up a group shot:

Group shot!

Then Nick and Steve threw around a frisbee:

As we neared the campsite it level out some, but we had to cross some streams, which with top heavy packs can be rather scary:

It was still a little light out when we got to the campsite:

But got dark quickly:

The site was still quite hilly with lots of downed trees, so finding a flat area 100 ft from the bear pole proved difficult. We ended up next to a small brook (taken the next morning):

Next up: Poacher's Trail
brdgt: (Windy Road by iconomicon)
We left off on the morning of our hike to Observation Peak (9397 ft).

First we had to fill up on water. This was probably the worst water we had to filter the whole trip - pretty still and shallow (yes, that is an animal bone in the foreground - the pelvis of something...)

We didn't want to carry all of our gear up to the Peak since we had to come back the same way anyway, so we piled it on this rock and covered it with a tarp (a good idea because it did rain - well sleet at the summit - while we were gone). I like this picture because it seems like a lot of stuff at first and then you realize it is three tents, five sleeping bags and five camp pads (with a pillow and jet boil thrown in for fun), which is most of our gear on a given trip.

Looking back at Cascade Lake:

We stopped at this pass for a break and adding layers. The wind was howling something fierce.

Steve took a picture for us:

Pretty soon we encountered snow:

This was the beginning of the final push to the top. The trail sort of ended and we had to choose to go over the top of the snow (to the left) or along the bottom (the right). We chose the right.

The larger tree pictured here shifted about a foot downslope when I crawled under the log in front of it!

We reached the corner of the snowbank and encountered this, written by another hiker:

But actually, we could make it around, and onwards and upward:

This was Grebbe Lake, another hike we could have taken past Cascade but the guidebook said it was lousy with mosquitos, so we passed.

Looking back down at the climb so far:

There was a patrol cabin at the top:

We only got about 5 minutes of the view before the clouds descended and it started sleeting.

We look so happy for people so cold:

We took the route over the snowbank on the way back:

Everything seemed so green on the way down (and you can see some thermal activity in the background too!)

Cascade Lake again:

We stopped for a break to take off the cold weather gear and throw around a frisbee:

I took out my binoculars and scanned for wildlife:

So green:

A lot of times I fell behind - older and much shorter than the boys. Just climbing over obstructions took me longer. Unless I could go under...

Almost back to the van we spotted this carcass:


We lucked out with a cancellation and got this pretty sweet car camping site for the night, where we could plan the next adventure:

And clean up a little:

We decided that night to do something none of us had ever done before - a three night, four day backcountry trip. We wrote down some options and planned on going to the ranger station the next morning...

to be continued!
brdgt: (Windy Road by iconomicon)
So, where did we leave off? Oh yeah, the awful mosquitos, which 100% deet only served to prevent them from biting you... or I should say, some of us:

And we had come out of one overnight backcountry hike, saw some geysers and then headed back in to another... at dusk. With a storm approaching...

But still, we were in good spirits:

We only had about a 3 mile hike in to the campsite, however, so we just booked it and prayed the storm held off. It was also prime bear country - the ecotone between meadow and forest. At dusk. We made sure to talk loudly about how tasty we would be to the bears, especially when hiking around blind turns.

We got the campsite in the nick of time. The sun was going down and just as we set up the tents and got the bear bags up it started to hail. We enjoyed a beautiful lightening storm and slept poorly since we erected the tents hastily and therefore on a slope. The next morning this was the view out of the tent.

And the slope we were on:

I had gotten up a little earlier to use the little girl's room and this was the Cascade Lake Meadow at dawn:

I was up before the boys and I saw some people fishing on the lake, so I deemed it safe enough to take a little solo hike around Cascade Lake:

I spotted this little guy:

And then this one, who clearly knew how to get a better view:

Nick came down to look for me:

Next up: Observation Peak...
brdgt: (Windy Road by iconomicon)
We got to Yellowstone around 11PM and stayed at a car camping site that I was able to reserve the week before:

After getting up we went to the backcountry office and planned our first two trips (backcountry is free of charge as long as you don't reserve anything more than 48 hours in advance - you also can only book by mail or in person). Due to a late spring, pretty much all four corners of the park were closed due to snow melt and unfordable rivers. In addition, the recent bear attack had shut down that area of the park. To acclimate to the elevation we chose a one night trip out to Firehole Falls via Mystic Falls. It began at a thermal area, where we took our before picture (We always took before and after pictures).

Mystic Falls:

You can see Old Faithful erupting in the distance:

We're still so clean...

The area was still recovering from the 1986 fire so there was a lot of new growth, which, combined with the late spring meant lots of mosquitos.

The campsite was right next to this waterfall. Some fly fishermen came over that night and the next morning to fish near it:

The tent site was up a hill overlooking the falls:

While the food and fire area was at the bottom of the hill (note the bear pole - unlike Joshua Tree you have to use designated sites due to the need for bear poles. All items with an odor have to go in them - food, chapstick, sunscreen, the even suggest you put your water bottles in them):

We hiked back out, pretty much the same way we came in:

There was quite a bit of this:

The Little Firehole River:


Beehive Geyser!

We got back to the van pretty early and spent the afternoon checking out Old Faithful, enjoying some cold beverages and then heading out that same evening for our next adventure...
brdgt: (Windy Road by iconomicon)
So, we ended up leaving around 3AM (Jason wanted to see a band at Summerfest in Milwaukee). Yoshimi was not pleased that Nick would be leaving her:

We got to the Badlands around 2PM:

Set up our tents:

We wanted to do some serious hiking because we had all been to the Badlands but not really "in" them, but apparently there is only one semi-long trail there:

Throughout the whole hike there was a storm in the distance, which made for great scenery:

Lucky me :)

Then we had some "dinner" and enjoyed quite a storm throughout the night:

We left the next day for Cody to pick up Steve and then on to Yellowstone. We hit some road construction on the way that did some damage to the van.

Next up... Yellowstone!
brdgt: (Default)
Jason just emailed us some of his photos from the trip - here are some of my favorites: )


brdgt: (Default)

May 2017



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