Orienteering1:59:44 4.71 mi (25:25 / mi) +405m20:04 / mi
Wow, first desert orienteering experience. At Rock Spring with leftover controls from last weekend that Tom and I went out to collect in.
Cacti are difficult! All over so it's just a constant dance around them and then there are the particularly evil cholla with their stick-and-become-fishhooks behavior. Had to take my shoes off twice because I just couldn't bear their attack into my skin with every step.
But, there are also some super cool things, like slot canyons and multi-color rock and fantastic visibility and the saguaro cacti which are impressive and don't really get in your way.
I totally was not in touch with the map at the beginning and flung myself way to far to get to the first control, which embarrassingly and due to mistakenly going through some dark green took a half hour, whoops! After that, I modified my plan to basically just include the controls I needed to get, not the ones Tom was in charge of, like my original plan, so did that. Even doing that was out far too long and was super dehydrated at the end, not good!
Orienteering53:30  3.49 mi (15:20 / mi) +199m13:01 / mi
After a lot of restoring water, an orange juice and an ice cream sundae (thanks goodness for the cafe there!), headed back out to pick up three of the controls for the adventure race. Got to see some new areas and then had my own adventure, coming back through the creek for fun, but initially missing the trail turn off back to the dirt road. Gosh-a-roni it is not easy.
A round of drills in the parking lot, waiting for Tom to ready his brand-new day pack for the hike!
Hiking1:16:22  2.83 mi (26:59 / mi) +742m14:52 / mi
Mt. Elden hike with Tom!
The trail started just across the highway from the Flagstaff Mall. So very proximate to town... And the highway noises most of the way up were probably the only downside.
A great and well-maintained trail, neat lava rocky stuff and closer to the top, snow! The final 0.2 miles were slippy, but luckily not post-holey. Summit at 9,301 ft and could easily see Humphries Peak, all of Flagstaff and both the forest and desert beyond.
Also neat: alligator juniper. Notably gnarly trees with scaly-looking bark. They are hearty things, most look like they'd survived a fire or two.. Despite the promise of a few varieties of cactus, we only saw two. An aloe-plant shaped thing and a prickly-pear looking thing.
Running32:16  3.65 mi (8:50 / mi) +136m7:55 / mi
And a bit of a run afterwards, discovered a route that is nearly all trail and doesn't immediately climb all the way up Mars Hill. Win!
Morning run with Tom around Flagstaff, then a little bit extra on my own.
A research-only day, which hasn't happened in ages! Gave full effort to a new project on very young star clusters in some early-type galaxies with molecular gas. Also had a great chat with one of the staff astronomers about many things dynamics, from galaxies within clusters to exchanging Oort cloud bodies with exo-Oort clouds. He also said it would be ok to bug him with questions as I attempt to resurrect the Reed telescope this summer... could be very helpful!
Running47:06  5.0 mi (9:25 / mi) +173m8:30 / mi
And at altitude! Made it to Flagstaff last night, gave my talk at Lowell Observatory today (not so many extragalactic astronomers here, but everyone was paying attention and a few questions at the end from those who are, so ok!).
Also participated in morning's science tea. Potential young hot Jupiters, rings around asteroids and really awesome bagels. It can't possibly be that Flagstaff has better bagels than Portland can it? Maybe I haven't searched hard enough.
The run pretty much took me back up to Lowell and a bit around the plateau. Nearly got knocked out by a frisbee golfer on the way up...