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Archive for the 'Sarah' Category

Perseids

Tuesday, August 17th, 2010

Last week was the annual Perseid Meteor Shower. The shower peaked Thursday night, but Sarah and I went out both Wednesday and Thursday nights to see what we could see. We drove outside of town a good 20 minutes or so, into a very dark state forest and laid on the ground, on the dam of our favorite lake, looking up at the night sky.

Wednesday, we saw about 15-20 meteors, include 3-4 really long/bright ones. I tried to take some photos, and while I did get some good shots of the stars, the meteors proved difficult to photograph.

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In this crop, you can see a meteor. I had to increase the brightness a lot to be able to see it, but it’s there.

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The next shot appears to have a meteor, but it’s actually an airplane.

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Thursday night, my mom and nephew joined us. I was worried that my nephew, who is 12 1/2, would get bored — even at the peak of the shower, in a very dark location, it can be 10 minutes or more between meteors. It takes a lot of patience. But he was fascinated! And, he was great at spotting meteors. He counted 22 meteors … and he noted that number 5 was the best.

Even if there hadn’t been a meteor shower at all, it would have been a great experience. It’s shocking how many more stars you can see, just by going a ways out of town. We all also enjoyed the sounds of various insects, and the¬†occasional¬†“ploop” sound of a frog jumping in the water, or a fish coming to the surface.

Watching the meteor shower certainly gave me a renewed sense of appreciation for astronomy, and I’m glad my nephew was fascinated as well. My great-great uncle discovered Morehouse Comet, so I guess it’s in our blood!

2009 in review, personally

Wednesday, January 6th, 2010

No bike content here, that’ll be a separate post.

2009 was a strange year. We spent most of the year in Pennsylvania, having moved there in October of 2008 when Sarah was offered a job there.

Her job was great, but we hated living there (really, we hated the Wilkes-Barre area, not the whole of PA). We missed our families, both of whom live in Indiana. We took a long hard look at what was important to us and we realized we belonged back in Indiana.

So, in September of 2009, we moved back home. Once we returned, we went through a lot of effort to attempt to put our lives back the way they were before the move. And, we did such a good job of it that now it almost feels like the 10 months we spent living in Pennsylvania never happened. Like a weird dream, or an extended vacation (even though our time there was largely miserable).

I also found myself unemployed at the beginning of 2009, and started my own company. That went relatively well, but ultimately I learned that I hate working for myself, at least in that way. After we moved back home, I got a more normal job, and it feels great.

So, in a way, it was a year-and-change of mis-fires: moving to Pennsylvania, starting my own company. But we learned valuable lessons about how we DON’T want to live, which in turn reinforced how we DO want to live. It was a year of taking risks, but also of taking control of our lives, and learning how to steer the ship. We oversteered a couple of times, but we managed to correct for it.

Moving back home was even risky. Sarah had to quit a good job so we could do it, and we spent a lot of our savings to make it happen. But we saw what we wanted and went for it, and I am proud to say that we did. We are now both gainfully employed and loving being here … near our families and friends. It’s great to be home.

Sycamore Loop hike

Monday, October 19th, 2009

Sarah and I are getting back into hiking. The past couple of years, we’ve done a lot of hiking during the winter, but not much during other seasons, including fall. Since fall is both of our favorite season, it’s a shame we’ve done so little fall hiking. We’re trying to make up for it this year.

So on Saturday, we decided to do a long hike. It’s a trail we’ve done before (way back in May of 2007), the Sycamore Loop, in the Deam Wilderness found in Hoosier National Forest. Our hike, including an extra out-and-back jaunt to Terrill Ridge Pond, ended up being about 7.5 miles.


View 2009-10-17 Sycamore Loop in a larger map

The hike started with a brief section on a fire road before we picked up the Sycamore Loop Trail itself, which started on a ridge, but quickly descended into a valley and followed a creek for a while. All the while winding through mixed pine and hardwood forests … but to be sure, a lot more pines than you typically see in this area.

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We stopped to rest at one of several walk-in campsites along the way. This seemed to be the best of the designated sites as far as I could tell, in a large pine forest, by a creek, with lovely limestone outcroppings — but no one was using it. It was further back than the other sites, but not by that much. We had a snack and rested for a few minutes.

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We hiked on, the forest transitioned back to hardwoods and the trail turned upwards for a long, gradual climb back up to the ridge. Throughout this time, the trail either followed the top of the ridge, or skirted the edges of ravines. But the foliage was too thick to get any good photos … and really there wasn’t much of a view. This would be a good hike in the winter, if we can access the trailhead (the drive or ride there involves a 7-mile section of gravel road).

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We took another break by a creek to eat lunch and filtered some water from the creek. Then continued on our way.

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We passed a rather large group camping along the trail. They were noisy and disrupted our peaceful hike slightly, but we were soon past them.

The trail reconnected with the fire road, and I talked Sarah into walking down to a pond that we had found last time, Terrill Ridge Pond. Some people were camping there, so we didn’t stay long. It’s a beautiful spot … another place I wouldn’t mind camping sometime.

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By this time, we had about two miles of hiking along a ridge on the fire road back to the car. There were two climbs at the end of the road that we remembered being brutal from our previous hike there. However, since we are more seasoned hikers now, and after some of the monstrous climbs in Pennsylvania, these two hills felt easy. It’s funny how your perspective changes over time.

It was a wonderful hike. We were in great spirits the whole time and perhaps a bit chilly (we forgot to take into account that it was a lot cooler in the shady woods than it was at home), but otherwise we were mostly comfortable. We stopped at the 58 Cafe on our way back (where I ate on a recent bike ride). This place is awesome and very “authentic,” as we like to say (loaded with local characters and flavor). Let’s just say they have not one, not two, but THREE different types of pork tenderloin sandwiches (a Hoosier specialty) on the menu. We each had one, and they were delicious. It’s great to be able to get a tasty meal after a long hike.

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