Salmon Run Juneau

One of the highlights of the  year in 2019 was a quick trip to Juneau AK to run (of course) and enjoy a few land based days v. the typical few hours on a cruise ship. The salmon were running and this is truly one of nature’s greatest spectacles.

Here is a thumbnail of what I learned in Juneau. (A detailed link is below.) The forest is rich and the ecosystem depends on the nutrients from the salmon cycle.  The species were down due to the 97% mortality rate of the eggs in the wild. A school teacher had an idea to raise fertilized eggs in home depot buckets in his backyard and release the fry into the water when they were big enough to survive. The idea worked, a big hatchery was created and the species  (Pink, King, Chum, Coho, Sockeye), are thriving. Temperatures in the tank are manipulated to create a unique ear bone marking that identifies which hatchery the fish is from for sport fishing and the revenue from the license goes back to that hatchery.

Here is what happens at the hatchery. Tens of thousands of spawning salmon return to the hatchery hell bent on swimming up the ladders. Eggs are harvested, fertilized and the meat is taken off to be processed.  Quickly the hatched egg  fry move up in size in tanks and eventually to pens outside. After almost a year they are released. 97% will return after a few years out at sea. the odds on the survival have completely been flipped. The final two pictures are a stream bed  with red spawning salmon at the Mendenhall Glacier where a bear family had just finished dinner. I missed the bears by 30 seconds. Readers I  failed you on the photo op but will keep living large and travelling the world to provide you with pics  adventures. Another reason to return to Alaska !!

The lady beneath the hatchery sign is Linda Macaulay  the wife of the teacher who had the idea !! I was so thrilled to meet the local royalty/founder of the process  courtesy of Steve and Paula the 50 State Marathon gurus.

What is not coming across here  is the spectacle of tens of thousands of fish frantically trying to navigate to their source to spawn.  The water was frothing with fish all headed to the same place. It was spectacular.

Hatchery Video

The  focused drive and intent of a fish with a not very big brain to have navigated thousands of miles to an exact location. I vowed to show a bit more persistence in my endeavors to succeed in this life.

Here is everything to know about the salmon run.

THE LIFE OF SALMON

Alaska is beyond words, pictures, description.  Do it while you can still move around and explore. I thank the universe for nudging me to a second round of 50 states. Our country is so magnificent.

IT IS NOT DEATH THAT A MAN SHOULD FEAR,

BUT HE SHOULD FEAR NEVER BEGINNING TO LIVE.   -marcus aurelius

Love to all,

NW

Delayed Post Spacecoast 26.2 ‘19

We are a bit tardy on this post since there is a big time adventure in the works. Stay tuned for the coast to coast (USA) bike trip coming soon.

For the seventh year in a row we followed the advice of Michele V wrangled up a few pals from Europe and attended the Spacecoast Marathon weekend. It never disappoints.

The party began with a great night kayak outing to experience bioluminescence in the Indian River lagoon. This is a spectacular sight and who knew only a few places on the planet have it ? Sparkling water and glowing globes you can pick up. Wow Mother Nature WOW. It doesn’t photograph well but if you are curious google up an image.

Saturday while enjoying the fishing pier and tiki bar I saw a reason to stay out of the water.

Those are 6′ sharks . There were a few dozen surfers about 50 feet away. Glad this weekend was a run NOT a triathlon.

The race was a success with lots of happy finishers and even a best time by Katja B.

It is obvious that the best part of the weekend is celebrating at the finish line and playing in the waves.

We adore our Bradenton running pals and ESPECIALLY our European friends Little Debbie and Katja.

Enjoy today and swim if you dare !

Love to all,

NW

Eastern Penitentiary and Liberty Bell

The day after the Atlantic City Marathon Debbie and I did a tourist day in Philadelphia before heading home. We toured the Eastern Penitentiary. It was an interesting place to visit but you certainly would not want to live there. Below is a link with the many interesting details and facts. The visuals were stunning and haunting.

This amazing architectural and socially significant institution is nestled into downtown Philadelphia. The link below does the most “justice” in explaining this unique and visually rich building. I highly recommend it on your Philly attraction list.  The above is the central hub with wings going out in several directions. This allowed for very few staff to keep an eye on the halls.

prison

The exterior walls are 35 feet thick.

FACTS ABOUT THE PRISON

This link  will provide a much better explanation to understand this very unique place.

The doors into the hallway were added at a later date. There was a small opening for food.  The access was through the courtyard area attached to each cell. Two 1/2 hour daily breaks outside along with work brought to the cell was the daily routine. One book (the Bible) was issued for the duration of the years of the sentence. Many of the prisoners did not know how to read.  A side note- we visited on a magnificent fall day. The temperature in the prison was San Francisco can’t get warm creepy  damp and  chilly. I could not imagine what winter would feel like. The audio tour info said summers were unbearable. How any could make it through multiple years of that plus isolation ?

We took the headphone audio tour as the human guided tour did not match our schedule. I  had a million questions.  If you happen to go try to time a tour so you can get lots more details. There were a few displays with prison reform slanted facts and figures. The tour guides seemed to be law students from a nearby school.

Meanwhile back on the outside here is a great memorial to the black soldiers in WWI.

City Hall.

We had the Bell to ourselves at closing time. It was a great afternoon to swing by Independence Hall.

Sadly, this was Philly Lite. So much to see and a plane to catch back to Florida. Did you know that Philadelphia designates a portion of every construction project to public art and has the most public art of any city in the world ?

We will finish with some Ben Franklin since he got a lot of the Philly party started.

Ben Franklin Wisdom

Make it your best day.

NW

Maine Marathon

State 47 Maine was a few hours after state 46 in New Hampshire. The early start had a great sunrise over the cove. In addition they even blasted some great music to send the velocity impaired on our merry way. The route was beautiful and the fall colors got better by the hour. My “run” efforts were unsuccessful in passing the robust walkers. Something about accepting the things you cannot change was in order. The first groups of regular starters came flying through and I got an education on running tangents. This strategy was also the purpose of the green line laser used the following weekend when the male world record was broken. And of course a shout out also to the female world record broken in Chicago the next day. This of course proves the secret powers of a good deep dish pizza.

Back in Portland ME Julia G came through with a great pace group right on time. Question for the pacers: does your arm get tired from holding up the sign ?

In the last few years it is possible to accomplish many states in multi day series with generous time limits. Wonderful news. An observation regarding this is the party in the back of the pack at larger events has disappeared ! I miss the good chats and laughs with my peeps. My headphone free policy stands !

At a late mile there was an angel with pickles. Magic stuff. My tank was empty from the two days of running but that was a great boost. The skies got dark, the wind picked up and temps dropped.

Hank the other angel came back on the route in the late miles to say hurry up before the chocolate milk and pizza are gone at the finish line. There is the first half of the marathon: miles 0-22 and the second half: miles 22-26.2. It felt extra good to stop, get warm sweats on and put on sandals.

The previous day in NH there was a runner in a ketchup costume and lucky me, I had a photo shoot with the mustard version in Maine. Congrats on your first double Brian. (Insert condiment joke here.)

That is fake smile at mile 22. Skies had darkened, temps were down, the tank was below empty and wind was up but heck it’s a marathon not a cake walk.

Hank my running husband is local in N. Berwick so the post race meal was authentic and delicious. Chowder and fish sandwich at Billy’s on the estuary in Wells.

Check it off-46-47. It was a great fall weekend in a wonderful part of the states. Next up is 48 Atlantic City NJ.

There are no short cuts to any place worth going. -B.Sills

Bristol NH

New England fall colors ? Yes please.

This trip got off to the best start when I caught a quick visit with the best co workers Linda and Kath. These gals are gold.

My 46th running state was New Hampshire in early October. Quick ! Sign me up. New England is really wonderful and what could be more fun than running all day in the colors ?

The trip started in the capitol Concord. The building is the size of a small elementary school with lots of history. I was mesmerized by the regiment flags from various conflicts, primarily the Civil War.

Early the next day Hank on the Hill and I got the band back together and took it out n the road for a Bristol NH and Portland ME double the next day.

Someone was fired up to light this candle !

This was mile 21.

The route was hilly, conditions were perfect and there was an early date with a start line the next day in Portland ME. It was a great day to run and a beautiful route. I love fall colors and pretty lakes-who doesn’t ? . After just returning from great open water swimming in AZ the lake looked extremely inviting to take an October dip.

After inhaling some pizza and a chocolate milk elixir it was off to Maine.

Hank picked up packets, chef Nan wrangled take out, bags were repacked and in a few short hours the start line in Portland was open for business.

Here are a few more fall shots to get you through to spring flowers.

Thank you for following the blog and the 50 state journey. New England ! Amazing.

Love to all,

Get out there-winter is coming and Game of Thrones is not. 😉

NW

Warwick RI NE Challenge Day 6

The final day of the NE series was in Warwick RI. The venue was City Park. As you can see it was stunning. Our opening photo is the very happy posse of runners ready to take on the day. Charlotte  C, the costume champ is of course wearing a very detailed replica of the RI flag.  We were all ready for another epic day.

A side note for 50 staters aspiring to this series regarding  the host hotels on this series. The race rates were great, the rooms were spacious, clean,  and there was great hospitality. That included breakfast at o’ dark hundred for our 6am starts. I had some trepidation as these were not my usual loyal brands but I would use them again in a heartbeat. I would return to Boston to see the sights and the JFK library etc. Logan airport is not the easiest especially by car but come on now it’s Boston !

The day began with much self induced excitement. I refused to follow my navigation NOR master the roundabouts and barely arrived at the venue on time.  Of course dragging the unwitting Hank  L into the commotion. My usual philosophy is that arriving with anything less than an hour before race time is living completely on the edge. This is why a room share is not advised. The alarm has obscene numbers on it ! Of course adding to the angst was looking at my feet rather than the unique flour arrows marking the path. Late and off course ! Madness ! It all worked out as life usually does. Funny thing about life isn’t it ?

How about the grammar on that sign for the Obesity  event ? I puzzled on it for many miles.  They had a great DJ, lots of gift baskets lots of enthusiasm, and whistles and bells for the cause.   We got to circle the festivities  for a few hours.  There was also  a softball league next door. Many runners remarked this was a first -to enjoy a game during an event. This is the advantage of a looped course. Immersion in the local life.  I was so slow I enjoyed 2 full softball  games and even identified a few favorite players.

Since there was no tomorrow there was intense chatting on the route.  Not intense running on my part-CHATTING. I completely forgot to run. Do not tell the pace police. Here were the people/chats  I can recall :Denis McCarthy, Larry Macon, Frank B, Haywood C, Charlotte C, Connie P, Mary Harris, Aaron, Adan C, Tina and Jeff H,  Hank L (who dashed off to do 2 more races that day in 2 more states !!!) Tina, Regnata, Sandy,  Clyde and on and on ! Clyde is getting us all to believe in a big way in CBD as he got faster everyday. Clyde’s list of worn out parts is among one of the best so I am going all in on the CBD to be just like Clyde. Perhaps the  Fireball is also key.

The Warwick City Park and the bay views were outstanding. I  even got to watch the entire tide go out . This my friends is the gift of the back of the pack.  On one occasion at a winter event  even a sunrise AND a sunset. Do.Not.Judge. 🙂

Special shout out to my neighbor Jayne D who is from Warwick. Your hometown is a winner. Here is a little known fact about our smallest state: Providence has more doughnut shops per capita than anywhere else. My unscientific  observations verify this. It is challenging to go more than 10 feet without stumbling on a Dunkin.   Starbucks: stay out !

JC’s race crew treated every runner like a true champion. Great bling, swag and of course top notch food and beverages and day long support for a whole week. Did those folks even get a wink of sleep ? Thank you race crew.

My overwhelming takeaway from this trip was the immense pride for the 6 day finishers.The greatest joy of the week was to watch Mary H from Seattle cross that line to the cheers of her BFF, Mom and all our race posse finishers. What a great moment and the pride in taking and making the challenge complete was incredibly emotional. My friends I cry for you to this day. You did it. You did not back down. You stayed cheerful,  optimistic, made every mile fun -all 157.2 of them. Wow just wow.

On day 5 my getaway day from Boston I did not want to get on a plane, I wanted to go to a great park and do another one. I craved the camaraderie (easy for YOU  to spell) the fresh air and the exertion.

I think that nothing is impossible when you want to fulfill a dream. A lot of people will tell you that you can’t do it, that you don’t have what it takes, but if it is in your heart and you feel it, there is nothing that will stop you. It is like the sun – you can’t block it: it will shine regardless, if that is what you want.

Thalia

Here are my thumbnails for each state.

VT-Rugged,beautiful unspoiled, charming.

MA-Historic, pristine, charming towns and rural areas.

CT-Charming, great food, beautiful rural areas

RI-Water everywhere, compact, charming, beautiful.

How can one area be so consistently charming mile after mile ?

I love it even more for the second time around the states. Sorry  not sorry to my Midwestern roots and adopted FL home.

As we speak here I am scrambling to pack up and head out to St. Regis MT for #42. The forecast is for rain, snow, cold and a definite 33 miles to complete the event. Luckily Mr. Dave Bell and his running wife Val S will be along to chuckle up the weekend.

Say yes. Just say yes.

Thanks for reading and following the blog.

Love to all,

NW