Conquests of Tankbird


New boots, new pack! And some news from the original Tankbird
April 25, 2009, 2:58 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Hello, all!

So my Asolo Styngers are absolutely wonderful, except that I want some new insoles.  My Superfeet insoles are pretty good but (I think) a little worn after these years in my Merrells.  I have a nasty little blister on my pinky toe, left foot, but such is the price of breaking in new boots.  I wore them for a little hiking earlier this week, then about 3.5 miles yesterday with Chris, then another 2 miles today.  I did the Bray Loop trail today, which is very muddy and wet, and I totally ROCKED the tankbird name tromping through creeks and mud.

My boots are amazing for two main reasons:

  1. They are really, truly waterproof.  I can wade in up to my anklebone and get no water in them, and they come out dry on the other side.  Like water off a duck’s back, baby.
  2. They have a close ankle cuff.  That means that the little rocks I kick up DON’T get lodged in my shoe.  Wonderful!

They’re great for other reasons, too, but those two reasons really stick out to me.

Now, my pack.  Oh, I love this pack already.  It’s an Osprey Luna 70.  That’s last year’s women’s model large pack, so it was 20% off at Adventure Outfitters.  I wasn’t planning to buy anything when I went, since I hadn’t gotten the check yet, but I wanted to price packs.  Well Alec (one of the employees, or maybe a manager) was a great help.  He showed me the packs, and the Luna was (mostly) in my price range AND in the size I wanted, plus it was an Osprey like Chris’s, and he’s had nothing but good things to say about his Osprey.

Alec took the time to swap out the hip belt for me to get one that fit better, and then to swap out the shoulder straps (twice!) until I found a set that worked best.  Then he loaded it up with weight and helped me adjust it so it fit.  After all that, of course I got it!  I took it hiking yesterday on the 3.5 miles with Chris and again on the 2 miles today.  We weighted it down with about 20 pounds of gear I didn’t need (including a 5lb dumbbell) and off we went.  My back was pretty sore after the trip yesterday, but today’s was fine.  I have to get adjusted to carrying about 50lbs before August.  Craziness.

In other related news, it turns out Beaker (the original Tankbird) is a GIRL mourning dove.  She laid an egg Wednesday and another on Thursday.  Surprise!  We’ve been convinced for a year she was a boy.  She had the iridescent neck feathers, blue eye ring and dusky blue head feathers that supposedly indicate male gender… but laying eggs kind of overrules that.   I’ve adjusted the “What’s this page about” page to accurately reflect Beaker’s gender.

My check came in today, by the way, so I’m planning to go register for the rest of my courses and buy my gear.  Whoo hoo!

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Anxious Anticipation
April 12, 2009, 11:13 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

As the summer approaches, I keep getting more and more excited about what lies ahead of me. I’ve never done anything this intensely physicaly for this length of time, first of all. I did the 3-day Breast Cancer walk back in 2001, where I walked about 60 miles from Fitchburg to Boston over three days, but I wasn’t toting 50 pounds of gear, I wasn’t going up and down mountains, and I had a support crew and nightly hot showers. No such luxuries await me.

Chris fondly refers to me as his City Girl, and I guess it’s partly true. I’m more of a Suburbs Girl, though. In Florida, where I grew up, I played outside all the time in my childhood. But “outside” in Florida is much different than “outside” in New England. I’ve definitely become a lot more outdoorsy, and there are some activities I love (like anything involving whitewater) that Chris won’t even touch.

Operation Shape-Up Tankbird is firmly underway. I started running back in December when my dad was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, and I decided I was going to run a marathon to raise money for research as well as to give an outlet to my tumultuous emotions. He’s doing well so far and is going in for surgery this week (Wednesday, my birthday, to be precise). I have my sights set on the Bay State Marathon in October, which is a small marathon here in my local home state of Massachusetts. I’ve never run before at all, so it’s been slow going, but I’m pretty proud. I’m using Jeff Galloway’s run/walk system to get myself up to snuff, and I did 6 miles for the first time yesterday. For me, that’s huge. But there’s a long way to go. I also need to spend more time on the stairmaster to get myself ready for the hiking, you know, in between the actual hiking.

That said, all my paperwork for FFT (Fund for Teachers) is in, and I’m excited to get my check. I hope it’s this week. I have a webinar tomorrow night at 6:30 that I assume will give me more information. Then my first big purchase is my new boots to replace the Merrells I’ve worn out over the last three years. Okay, they still have some life in them, but they aren’t heavy-duty enough to survive this summer. My new ones are going to be the Asolo Stynger. These aren’t coming out of the grant, but I’m waiting until my next paycheck.

Wow, this is a long post. I’m guessing there will be a lot of long posts as I organize my thoughts around this huge expedition. My first trip is only a month away, so in the meantime, it’s just Operation Shape-Up Tankbird and (hopefully) a lot of shopping. Onward and upward!



Back to the present…
April 9, 2009, 8:34 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

It’s like “Back to the Future,” but with fewer jigawatts.

So I sent back all my paperwork for the grant acceptance today, and now I have to wait for the check to come in.  I imagine it will be arriving within a week.

I called the Mountain Leadership School yesterday and got registered.  Whoo!  I called the Outdoor Leadership Training today and spoke to Stefanie, and she said there are a few spots left for the May session.  I can’t register without the money, so it’s just a waiting game.

That said, I’m also picking out my gear, which is really exciting!  I love shopping for new gadgets.

Cheers to a re-activated journal!