ilanarama: me on a bike on the White Rim trail (biking)
No, not pumpkin pie. That's desert with one 's', as in Arizona and New Mexico, where we spent our four-day weekend. Our friends Ryan and Steve wanted to ride the Black Canyon trail, a 70+ mile singletrack that is typically done over two days; Britt thought it sounded like fun, but I knew that I was in no shape to take on anything that epic, since I've only recently started riding my real bike again. But I was willing to run the car shuttle and go find something easier to ride while they tackled the BCT, so we enthusiastically signed on.

Blah blah and photos )

Just the photos, no blah blah


Sep. 10th, 2016 05:25 pm
ilanarama: me in my raft (rafting)
Over Labor Day weekend we rafted the Rio Chama, a wild and scenic river a couple of hours away in New Mexico. We did this trip five years ago (also on Labor Day weekend!), with a completely different group of people, and once in between then and now. The river is dam controlled with releases on weekends; though sometimes enough water flows during the week to float it, weekend launches are restricted by permit. Fortunately, our friend Jenny got a permit, and (maybe to pay us back for including her on several backpack trips this summer!) invited us along.

Not a lot to say about the trip this time, other than it was delightfully non-eventful (where event = raft capsize or camp injury or other thing you really don't want to happen). The only minor disaster happened in our second night's camp, where Ryan misplaced her iPhone and despite ransacking the camp, none of us could find it. We were preparing to leave when she jumped into the water next to her raft and started squelching around with her feet, in case she'd dropped it into the water the previous night without realizing it...and yep, there it was! AND due to its protective case, it still worked!

But have some photos, anyway: )

Above pictures and selected others (16 total), no words, at Flickr
All the photos (34) at Google Photos
ilanarama: me in Escalante (yatta!)
We did our annual backpack in the Weminuche Wilderness at the end of July, but gah, I have so many photos to go through and so much to write about that I haven't even started trying! So instead have a very short write-up about a mini-trip we did last week to the Bisti/De-Na-Zin Wilderness in New Mexico.

As you probably know, the Perseid meteor shower peaked last Wednesday night/Thursday morning, and as it was expected to be an "outburst" event with many more and brighter meteors than usual, we decided we ought to spend that night in the desert, where we could sleep outside far from city lights. For previous celestial events we've camped at Valley of the Gods near Mexican Hat, Utah, and originally we'd been planning to head out there, but at the last minute we decided to go south rather than west. Neither of us had been to the Bisti Badlands, and it's about the same driving distance, around two hours.

We headed out after work, following Google Maps. When we got there, we found a nice flat spot to park the Sportsmobile, with room to lay out a tarp and sleeping bags nearby, not far from the main parking area. Two other vehicles were parked not far away, and as we surveyed our spot we noticed a group of people with packs heading into the hoodoos. Clearly others had the same idea!

After a brief hike down a wash through some of the formations, we returned to the van for drinks and dinner. Then, as the sky darkened, we took out a pair of binoculars for each of us and looked at the various planets: Jupiter, Mercury, and Venus were all visible near the west horizon, while Mars and Saturn were in Scorpio near the moon - a five-planet night! (Mercury was particularly cool to see since it's rarely visible.) I saw an amazing meteor slash across the sky even before it got fully dark! We went to sleep around 10 and woke up around 1:30 am, after the moon had set, and watched the Perseid display for a couple of hours. There were only a few really bright ones, but the frequency of meteors was impressive - sometimes we'd see one after another, four or five within a minute.

(Alas, no photos of the light show - our camera wasn't good enough, and we were too busy using our eyeballs.)

When we could no longer keep our eyes open, we went back to sleep. The sun woke us after we'd had far too little sleep, but we got up anyway, because we wanted to hike around the badlands before it got too hot. This is seriously a wilderness, in that there are no trails and no water sources: hikers are advised to bring a GPS (we had a GPS app) and plenty of water. A map at the parking area indicated several areas of interest, and Britt had grabbed the coordinates of a few others from people's web pages.

So what did we find? Wild and wonderful pillars:


The "Cracked Eggs", oval rocks with reddish layers peeking out from under the pale tan sandstone (no doubt they hatched dinosaurs!):

Cracked Eggs

Eerie arches:

Bisti Arch

And other strange landscapes, weirdly-shaped rocks, and petrified wood that looked exactly like someone had just split a few logs and left them there with the woodchips scattered around them, and it had all bleached in the sun. Then we tried to lift them.... It was like a practical joke played by nature, "Haha, you think this is wood, but it's NOT!"

Petrified wood

The best of our photos are on Flickr. We definitely need to go back at a better time of year (spring or fall) and explore further!
ilanarama: me on a bike on the White Rim trail (biking)
sandstone stop

On Sunday Britt and I went mountain biking on the Alien Run trail near Aztec, NM. Last year (almost exactly!) I fell hard not much more than 2 miles in, and we took the early turn-around; this year I made it past all the hard parts (well, I walked a few of them!) and only fell once, in deep sand at the top of a climb. Fortunately, sand is a lot softer than rock, and no damage was done. Anyway, we rode the full ten miles and it was loads of fun and we did not get abducted by aliens.

Since I don't have any big running-race plans this spring, I think I'll try to work on my mtb skills a couple of times a week. (Also, I should update my biking icon with my current bicycle, duh.)

The snow-covered mountains behind my head are the La Platas just outside Durango. The high country's still got winter, but it's definitely springtime in the desert!
ilanarama: me on a bike on the White Rim trail (biking)
First mountain bike ride of the year! (Also, first mountain bike crash of the year, but I'm okay; I've got a couple of scrapes on my hands and arms, and a knot the size of an egg on my right shin. I feel it with every step. I expect I will turn all sorts of pretty colors tomorrow.)

Because the trails here are still too snowy or muddy to ride, we drove just over the border into New Mexico to find the Alien Run Trail in Aztec NM. Amusingly, out of 12 cars in the parking lot, all but one had CO plates. Aliens!

The trail is named for the alleged UFO crash site it encircles. It's a great trail, lots of swoops and swirls alternating between packed (and sometimes loose) sand and slickrock. Alas, it was a short steep slickrock uphill that got me, and because my hand and shin ached, we cut the ride short and opted for the 5 mile rather than the 10 mile option. Still, it was a good time, a nice ride, not too hard (mostly!) and yay for getting out and riding!
ilanarama: me in my raft (rafting)
Ah, Labor Day. The day on which we celebrate not laboring, by doing stuff like this:

a cold one

We wangled an invite on a Rio Chama trip for Labor Day weekend; the plan was to meet on Saturday, rig our boats, and do the car shuttle, then put in early Sunday which was the first day that no permit is required for the 31-mile section below El Vado dam. As this is a scenic and not too difficult stretch, it's quite popular, and we anticipated a lot of river traffic. Our group comprised eight people on six mostly small boats: Britt and I on our cataraftlets, three duckies (inflatable kayaks), and one large cataraft. We set up all but the big raft on the bank the afternoon before, so in the morning we were more or less ready to go.

Read more (and see more pictures)... )
ilanarama: a mountain (mountain)
I've been doing stuff! But somehow failing to update.

Labor Day weekend near Taos: gawking at hot-air balloons, climbing Wheeler Peak, and getting stitches in my elbow )

This Saturday I'm running the Imogene Pass Run for the third time. (First, second.) I'm not sure how I'll do this year; I'm not running as much as I was last year because of my recovery from peroneal tendinitis, but I've been faster at the short distances. My A goal is 3:49 or faster; my B goal is to beat my last year's time of 3:55, and my C goal is to just get under 4 hours. We shall see.
ilanarama: me, The Other Half, Moab UT 2009 (Default)
Aztec Ruins are not actually Aztec ruins, but the 19th century white guys who found, restored, and named them didn't know any better. They are actually pre-Puebloan (what used to be called Anasazi) structures built and occupied between about 1100 and 1300. Pots and other artifacts found there suggest that the earlier occupation was related to Chaco Canyon (to the south), and in later years more related to Mesa Verde (to the NW) - both of those sites are of course much bigger, but this one was still quite nifty. Although this site is only about 35 miles away, we had never been there until our impromptu picnic on Sunday.

doorways ruin roof

Four more )
ilanarama: profile of me backpacking.  Woo. (hiking)
If you want to be amused by the sight of me gasping like a landed trout as I race toward the end of my half marathon last weekend, here are the official pictures. Some of them (from the middle portion of the race) aren't too bad, but mostly? I look like a fish.

I have been sick with a cold all week, but have been feeling better the last few days, and today I was bouncing off the walls with boredom and desperate to get out of the house. So Britt and I packed a picnic lunch and headed down to the Aztec Ruins National Monument, a pre-Puebloan site related to both Chaco Canyon and Mesa Verde, which despite being only a 40 minute drive away neither of us had ever visited. Surprisingly extensive and interesting. Photos coming early next week, when I get them off the camera.


ilanarama: me, The Other Half, Moab UT 2009 (Default)

April 2019

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My running PRs:

5K: 21:03 (downhill) 21:43 (loop)
10K: 43:06 (downhill)
10M: 1:12:59
13.1M: 1:35:55
26.2M: 3:23:31

You can reach me by email at heyheyilana @



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