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Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Copenhagen Journal #4: Aarhus

This past weekend, with lots of road miles under our belt and panniers to carry clothes, we decided to bike to Aarhus, Denmark's second largest city. The trip was just under 60 miles and required two ferries. It was a beautiful ride, even though we had a strong headwind all the way there. Once in Aarhus, we spent two nights in the downtown center, visiting two museums on the in-between day, both of which were excellent. The first was the modern art museum, ARoS, and the second was the natural history museum Moesgaard. It was a very full day so that on our return trip, even with strong tailwinds all the way home, we were tired. Nonetheless, it was another great trip, and I would highly recommend Aarhus to anyone who asked for a recommendation.

Friday, September 21, 2018

Copenhagen Journal #3: What is Optimal Living?

Since we've arrived in Denmark, we've been filling our days: establishing new routines at work and home, and getting out and enjoying the last bits of summer weather on our bikes. There hasn't been much time for self-reflection, which is one of the things I looked forward to in coming here. Back home, we also tend toward filling every day with activity, so we've brought this way-of-life with us. Things will slow down as we move deeper into fall and winter, but I will, nevertheless, be contemplating the following questions over the next several months. Is filling every day an (though certainly not the only) optimal way to live? Is there something to be gained by slowing down some? Am I fooling myself in thinking that I have a choice?

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Copenhagen Journal #2: Biking, Work, Settling In

We've been here over a week now, the jet lag is over (i.e., we're sleeping through the night), and we're settled into our flat. I've been going in to work daily, and Jen and I have been exploring the area on our bikes when it's not rainy. The road riding here is great, so I'm glad we bit the bullet and brought our bikes. There are bike paths everywhere, which means endless options for riding and you rarely have to share the road with a car. Last weekend we did two 50 mile rides: one to Louisiana Museum, which is an exceptional modern art museum on the Baltic Sea north of us, and one to the Viking Ship Museum in Roskilde. It's feels good to be away from our busy lives in Missoula, but we miss friends and family, places, and our work. We're also adjusting to each other in our new life, where it's truly just the two of us.  

Saturday, September 1, 2018

Copenhagen Journal #1: August & Freedom

Family get together the night before we left for Denmark.

Written from JFK in New York, on the way to Copenhagen.

One of the blessings of this past summer was that our renter wanted to move into our house on August 1. This forced us to get the house ready in July, which took most of the month. But then in August, we were free, and it was grand: biking in Butte, backpacking in the Missions, a big day the Bitterroots, the Glacier Classic, the Dearborn, Lost Trail Bike Fest, and then a final hurrah Mineral + Sheep mountain bike ride in the Rattlesnake with Jen a few days before we left. With our newfound freedom comes new work (life is relentless), as we navigate the change back to it being just the two of us. I have also been going through a major personal reorientation over the past year. As I leave Missoula for 9 months abroad, I feel blessed by all of the positive change in my life and that I have such a great place to come back to.

Jen descending 1513 with Sheep in the background

Jen cresting the a hill on Warm Springs Ridge, a truly wonderful mountain bike ride.

Jen and Aimee, Overwich Falls

Joshua Phillips summiting Mount Wilbur, one of the toughest peaks in Glacier.

Forest and Elizabeth with Going-to-the-Sun Mountain

Orion Berryman and Matt Roscoe on our Whites to Koch crossing of the Bitterroot.

Al, near the summit of Mountaineer Peak in the Missions.

Daughter of the Sun Mountain, Missions.

Al Parker and Mountaineer Peak, Missions.
Jen riding in Butte.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Whites Mountain to Koch Mountain, Bitterroots: An Exercise in Brutality

Matt and Orion on Koch Mountain after following the ridge from Whites Mountain, the second peak in the distance.
Matt Roscoe and I have been getting out for a big mountain day every summer. As Matt says, "I like to run the tank to zero now and again." This summer, I proposed a climb of Whites Mountain, then a walk east along the ridge to Koch Mountain, with a summit of 'East Whites Mountain' along the way. Matt invited our friend Orion Berryman, who is a UM Professor of Chemistry and a competitive local cyclist/nordic skier. We left Missoula on the day before, driving up Lost Horse Road, and camping at Twin Lakes, near the Idaho border. It was interesting people watching in the campground: a movie projected onto a big screen, Dixie flags on a side-by-side, and a late night pop song sing-a-long. Camping at it's best!

We got started the next morning at the Bear Creek Pass Trailhead at 6:30am, walked in to Fish Lake, made our way on a fisherman's trail to Hackney Lake, and then on up to the summit of Whites Mountain, which we reached at 11:30am. Already 5 hours and 8 miles in, and looking at the long, brutal route over to Koch, we all gulped, contemplated turning around, but then plunged ahead. East Whites came quickly an hour later, but then the walk over the Koch was tricky, slow and extremely rugged. After a swim in the tarn southwest of Koch, we summited Koch at around 3:30pm. The walk out was uneventful but long, and we reached the car at the other end at 7:30pm, 13 hours and 20 miles later.

Despite the brutality of the day, it was awesome to spend time in such a remarkable place with friends.