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Anemone

I've been watching the condition at Wolsfeld Woods over the past couple of weeks - unfortunately, it looks like the dry sunny weather is resulting in a short season for the spring wildflowers. The trees are starting to leaf out rapidly, but there's a few nice touches.


More pictures behind the link.

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William O'Brien - New and Improved!

Sunday was the orienteering meet at William O'Brien, on what's basically a completely different map than the one we had three years ago. Two years I entirely redid the base contours using LIDAR from Washington County, and last year Kevin T. came to town and quite a bit of field checking and vegetation remapping. So now it's back to being pretty accurate, although there's still an excessive amount of raspberry vines that, if you're not careful, leaves you looking like you lost a battle with an angry cat.

My legs were still a little cashed from the Trail Mix the day before, and staying up until 4:30 AM the previous night didn't help matters either. However, I am no longer allowed to claim certain things as extenuating circumstances.

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Trail Mix

Last weekend was a rare one for me, with two "official" race events. On Saturday morning, I subbed for Tom on a 4-person team at the Trail Mix, an annual 50K/25K trail race at Hyland Lake Park Reserve. The the elite event is the solo 50K, or four loops around a 7.8-mile trail course. They also offer a two-loop solo 25K, and the team event is for those runners who aren't ultra-level; four people start at the same time and each run one loop, then their times are combined. Tom had signed up with Kelly, Justin and Molly in the even-mixed division (two men and two women), but swapped onto his friends' team at the last minute because one of their runners bowed out. So I ended up running for the whimsically named "Rainbow Unicorn"!

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A Gnome Hunters Reunion


Old school style.

So Mark sent me a Facebook message a couple weeks ago:

After all the fun we had at the 2007 Florida C2C, how could I possibly pass that up!? I always knew he wasn't quite ready to retire yet.

Also a little funny that Buck hasn't mentioned it to his usual team (Midwest Mountaineering), yet. Even though they all know. But still, this is not exactly being "disloyal" to a team - a concept which is kind of silly in the first place. The only time that should ever, possibly, be an issue is if you somehow race against your usual teammates.

But still, it's a lot of commitments for me this year - wow. I'm glad that cost is not a problem, like it is for so many people. But I'm going to see if I can avoid some of the time-off issues by flying directly from Florida to Hawai‘i (c'mon, aren't you jealous now!) I can send my gear box and bike back to my parents in Minneapolis, and catch some "recovery" "sleep" on the plane. I was planning to visit Annie in November again, but we'll see if early October works out better, in terms of both total time off, and total airfare.



Terrace Oaks Meet

The local 2010 orienteering season is officially in full swing! This weekend was the meet at Terrace Oaks Park in Burnsville, set by none other than my fellow Gnome Hunter, Dave Swanson. Terrace Oaks is a small but fun park with surprisingly large hills and a mess of confusing trails. Its main drawback is that it's fully infested with buckthorn - pretty much the whole map apart from open areas is medium green, and you have you protect your eyes as you sometimes swim through the undergrowth. Nevertheless, it's still often faster to cut corners between trails rather than running all the way around.

I ran the 6.5 km Red, and in a small park like that, Dave had to set a "superball" course to get the requisite distance. There were 19 controls, all E-punch, and I was bouncing from wall to wall, so to speak.


Map of April 3, 2010 Terrace Oaks course - Click to enlarge

As usual, race details below the fold.

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A New Toy

So I'm now the happy owner of a new DSLR. Based on a combination of Internet research and some scuttlebutt from people "in the know", I ended up getting a Canon Rebel T2i (also branded as the 550D). It's a brand-new camera model, just released in the last few weeks, and it has essentially the same guts as the 7D. In fact, it's so new that neither Apple nor Adobe has released a RAW compatibility update yet - I found this out the hard way because I automatically set the mode to RAW when I got it, but wasn't able to import the pictures when I got home. Thankfully, the Canon software that came with the camera will export a TIFF and thus tide me over until the vendors catch up.

So a couple days later, I went out to capture the early spring.


Sharp-lobed hepatica at Standing Cedars.

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