Saturday, February 28, 2009


Last Saturday, we finally had good snow, good weather and free time to enjoy the outdoors again. Short of a New Year's/birthday stroll through the beautiful DuPont State Forest in North Carolina, we hadn't gotten out since our Cadillac sunrise summit.
On this outing we headed to Camden Hills State Park. We avoided the trail and used the Televator feature on our snowshoes and headed straight up the side of Mount Megunticook. We had spectacular views of Megunticook Lake, Camden Snow Bowl and the Atlantic.
Never shying away from an adventure, our route down was the steepest area we could descend without rappelling or down climbing with crampons and ice axes. Our descent was a mixture of shoeing, skiing and sledding.

Monday, February 23, 2009

The Waiting Game

"The only locations that fit the skill sets of you and Christopher require level 2 Spanish speaking abilities."

And so our wait began... or at least the next phase of it.

After interviewing for Peace Corps in December we received word at the beginning of the month (February) that if we would agree to enhance our Spanish abilities we could be nominated for service starting in March 2010. So, while this narrows our options for service countries, it also gives us a smaller area to ponder as opposed to the whole world!

After surveying the options for learning Spanish and checking out prices for these options, we decided that this was a feasible plan. After roughly 10 years of not using Spanish we will take the plunge and eventually invest in Rosetta Stone. Based on information from those who have used it before we figure it will give us the abilities to pass the CLEP test for the required college credits at a small fraction of the price to attend a semester of college. Now we wait for the next round of information, which our recruiter is trying to pin down. Between conferring with those at the placement office and his recruitment campaigns we are bound to have some more information in the future (how distant that future is I am not completely certain, but I hope that it is soon!)

Once we pass this hurdle and sign whatever required documentation is needed to bind us to this agreement to learn Spanish we will enter the waiting phase that is broken up only by physicals and dental exams - and more waiting while the results of those appointments are reviewed to see if we are healthy enough to live outside of the great United States for a period of 27 months.

And so we wait for our next service experience to come to fruition.

Sunday, February 22, 2009


Now that we are well into 2009, I thought that it would be fitting to do a recap of our 2008 activities. iPhoto makes it quite convenient to remember when different adventures took place, so here it goes.

New Year's Day: We enjoyed our new outdoor equipment and went snowshoeing in Camden Hills State Park. We climbed up to the top of Bald Rock where we could look at at the islands of Penobscott Bay. We also enjoyed a delicious meal of Ramen and played with the panorama feature of our new waterproof/freezeproof camera.

January 6: More snowshoeing

January 13: Took in a BodyVox production

January 20: More snowshoeing

February 2: Camden WinterFest - We carved ice sculptures in support of the nonprofit organizations that we each work for. Unfortunately, all of our cameras lacked batteries with any power so there are no photos, but Tarah's organization (S.T.A.R./5 Town CTC) carved an adult holding hands with a child and Chris's organization (The Teen Center) carved a tree on a base of a heart, because everything that the Teen Cener does is "rooted in love".

February 3: We watched the Super Bowl at our friends Dave and Eri's house and ate tons of delicious sushi and other Japanese food.

February8: Attended the Banff Mountain Film Festival World Tour

February 9: More snowshoeing

February 16: First longish (10 miles) run in preparation for North Face Endurance Challenge 50 miler

February 23/24: Winter camping trip in Acadia National Park

We don't have any photos or notes from March, but I'm guessing we probably snowshoed and Chris ran miles and miles and miles (mostly inside).

April 5/6: Shoulder season camping and Cadillac Mountain summit sunrise hike

April 12: North Face Endurance Challenge in Bear Mountain New York
Tarah runs/hikes the 10K, Chris runs/hikes over half of the 50M Chris makes it into the ad for the the 2009 series

April 20: Explored new (to us) trails in Acadia National Park

April 26: Chris went solo in Grafton State Park hoping to knock out the Grafton Loop Trail in a weekend. Little did he know there was still a ton of snow so his attempt was thwarted, but he got to use his orientating skills and get home early to spend his b-day with Tarah.

May 3: We are introduced to the world of rock climbing and the joys of a Dan Deacon Concert

May 11: Shopping for outdoor gear, including climbing gear, in Freeport and Portland

May 24/25: Back to Grafton. We knocked out the 40ish mile loop in two days

June 7/8: Participated in National Trails Day in Baxter State Park by being eaten alive by black flies and clearing a trail with other volunteers

June 14/15: Worked on "defining the corridor" that is the Wadleigh Brook Trail in Baxter State Park, our assignment for the Trail Stewards program

June 21/22: Back to Acadia National Park, this was the trip that we decided that we needed to hike all of the trails in Acadia before we left the area.

June 28/29: Back to Baxter, this time purely for pleasure. We poked around the south end of the park on Saturday and then got up early Sunday and climbed Katahdin in the rain and fog.

July 4/5/6: A long weekend in Acadia National Park. We avoided the holiday masses, except to watch Bar Harbor's fireworks from atop Cadillac Mountain, and hiked everything that we could on the "quiet side" of Mount Desert Island.

July 12/13: More trail work in Baxter and the Traveler Loop, in under 7 hours

July 26 - August 2: Vacation in Iowa (and Nebraska) Our "tax credit" went to plane tickets to the plains. We enjoyed a wonderful at week with the family, chilling at home, hanging at the Iowa Great Lakes, and seeing the sights at Henry Doorly Zoo. A few highlights were the water park at the condo, the wooden roller coaster at Arnold's Park, winning plush roses playing "Ice Ball", cruisin' on the Queen Mary, the Grotto at West Bend and the butterfly garden at the zoo.

August 9: Bouldering in Acadia

August 11: We celebrated our first anniversary with a lobster dinner and came home to carrot cake from Sweet Sensations.

August 15/16/17: Camping and hiking in Acadia once again

August 23/24: Final trip to Baxter. Corridor definition, canoeing and swimming.

August 30 - September 1: Wrapping up Acadia's final trails on Mount Desert Island.

September 14: We knocked out Acadia's only miles on the mainland, Schoodic Point

September 20 (&21): We got up before the sun and hopped a ferry to Isle Au Haute to hike the final 18 miles of Acadia's trail. Unfortunately we missed the ferry back to the mainland and had to spend the night in the ranger station. The bright side is that we got to take in a few more sights on Sunday morning.

September 28: Pancake 5K in Belfast. Chris won his age group and Tarah set a PR

October 4: We volunteered at Camp Sunshine's Maine Pumpkin Festival were we got to hang out with one of Tarah's corps members. We even found the jack-o-lanterns that Tarah carved and a Huskers one too.

October 11/12: Grafton Loop Trail, again, this time in reverse and in record time.

October 19: MDI Marathon. Chris and Tarah both set PRs.

November 8: A rainy, quiet day in Acadia. We also practiced our leaps in case we ever needed to jump over a raging river or a babbling brook.

December 5: Peace Corps interview.

December 13: Cadillac Mountain summit sunrise hike.

December 31: Surprise visit to North Carolina to see Tarah's family