The Hoppy Okapi

A 2012 Pacific Crest Trail Adventure

Triathlon Training – How did this all happen? January 29, 2012

Filed under: triathlon — Amanda @ 17:43
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Triathletes storm the water in a mass swim start. Photo by Flickr user foleymo, used under Creative Common License.

Toward the end of last year, I decided that I should start participating in triathlons in 2012, with the goal of working up to a half-Ironman, or 70.3 distance in 2013. I’m not sure why the 70.3 distance is appealing – maybe because it’s a significant endurance event, but doesn’t seem too out of reach, and doesn’t require 6+ hours of biking (yes, I finally completed a century in 2011, but I’m still not sure if I ever want to do another one – that’s a long time in the saddle!). So 1.2 miles of swimming, 56 miles biking, and 13.1 miles running seemed perfectly reasonable – until  I thought about how I haven’t been swimming since my last year of college (more than 10 years ago!), and quit running 3 years ago because my knees were hurting all the time….eh, minor details, right?

So I asked one of the Spin instructors at my gym which local triathlons would be good for a beginner, and he recommended the Spring Sprint Triathlon in Mission Bay – easy (flat) course, short swim, calm water. So I signed up for that one – a 400 meter swim, 9 mile bike, and 3 mile run. And then I joined a triathlon team sponsored by our local bike shop, Moment Cycle Sport. Conveniently, Moment Cycle Sport is a sponsor of the San Diego Triathlon Classic, an Olympic distance tri that takes place in September – I have to be able to swim 1500 meters by September! And then when I was asking one about swimming at one of our tri team meetings, someone recommended the Monday-Wednesday Tri Club San Diego swim workouts…and that is the story of how I’ve managed to join two triathlon clubs, sign up for two triathlons, and commit myself to more swimming and running than I’ve ever done in my life – this should be fun!


Hiking Mt Woodson July 9, 2011

Filed under: hiking,outdoors,San Diego — Amanda @ 13:45
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In need of a quick hike to do as part of our Mt Whitney training, and wanting to hike something other than Iron Mountain, Chuck and I conquered Mt. Woodson in mid-June. The hike climbs about 1500 feet in 1.5 miles, so it’s a short but reasonably steep climb.

The trail is that way!

The trailhead is a couple miles north of the Iron Mountain trailhead on route 67, near the driveway of a fire station. There are helpful signs like the one above that point the way to the trail. After following a short path that parallels the highway, we turned onto the main trail up the mountain (basically a fire road, paved with varying degrees of smoothness), and started winding our way up.

Wildflowers along the trail

There were more wildflowers than I expected along the trail – maybe because I’m more used to hiking in the fall, when several months of dry heat have toasted all the plants, but I’m always surprised to see wildflowers surviving into June and July in the coastal desert areas.

Mt Woodson trail

Mt Woodson is very recognizable from the road, as a boulder-strewn mountain topped by a bank of antennas. The boulders are just as fun to see close-up, except when they look like they might crack and fall on you:

Cracked boulder hovering over the trail

One of the boulders is nearly cubic – evidence of cracks long since cleaved.

Boulder on Mt Woodson

Some of my favorite rocks are the ones with the honeycomb-like impressions (fossils or water features?):

Fun impressions in the rocks

After winding our way around the switchbacks (the last few feel the steepest!), we found ourselves at the summit amidst the antennae. After a quick stop at the top, we started back down, retracing the path back to the trailhead.

View of the summit from the trail


Happy Kitten Adoption Anniversary! October 9, 2010

Filed under: animals,kitties,San Diego — Amanda @ 4:00
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October 9th, 2010 marks the second anniversary of our kitten adoption adventure! This was the year of the CSA, when the cats got to investigate all the new vegetables that we brought home – they’re very aware of their environment, and have to inspect everything new that comes into the house, as the pictures below show:

To adopt cats or kittens and support a great local shelter in San Diego, visit, the organization that brought Athena and Zephyr into our home!


A Day at the Fair – Part Three: Pigeons! August 14, 2010

Filed under: animals,day trips,San Diego — Amanda @ 18:39
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After the Camel Dairy demo at the fair, we headed into the agriculture building to see what was going on there. A few ladies were spinning yarn from llama hair (and apparently trimming the llamas as the day went on):

This one's got a bald spot.

And then we saw the people carving a butter sculpture. It was a bit weird, actually…

butter sculptor in air-conditioned cage

And then we came across another of the wacky fair highlights – the pigeon collection! Who knew there were so many types of fancy pigeons? Not I…

white pigeon with ruffle

black pigeon with fan tail

brown and white pigeon with curly hair

this one dreams of being a peacock

Check out the foot-feathers on this one!

We then headed back outside for an afternoon snack – deep-fried s’mores, which were fun to try although the execution could have been better, I think  – the chocolate seemed to be just syrup instead of real melted chocolate bars. They were definitely as messy as the real thing though, and I’m already planning to try the deep-fried Klondike Bars next year.

deep-friend s'mores

Final deep-fried snack stop complete, we wandered over to the Purina Incredible Dog Challenge arena, were we watched dogs (and their humans) compete in a slalom run and a trick-frisbee routine:


Good catch!

After the champion dogs were named, we found our way back to our little school-bus shuttle and headed home – a good day at the fair!


A Day at the Fair – Part One June 20, 2010

Filed under: animals,day trips,San Diego — Amanda @ 14:27
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San Diego County Fair 2010

After years(!) of thinking, “Hmmm, we should go to the fair sometime”, and then managing to miss it despite the almost month-long engagement, I finally got to spend a day at the San Diego county fair.   One of the keys to the trip was transportation – freeway traffic approaching Del Mar during the fair is usually NOT FUN, so I looked at our transit and off-site parking options, and decided to use the satellite parking at Torrey Pines high school and take a shuttle bus to the fair. Other than learning how uncomfortable it is to ride in a school bus as an adult, this was a good option – it had the benefit of being free, compared with $10 parking at the fair or $12 for a transit pass, and the shuttles were running every 15-20 minutes, so the schedule was more flexible than transit.

Once we arrived at the fair, it was time for our mid-morning snacks! There was a wide variety of food to choose from – grilled turkey legs and deep-fried everything seemed particularly popular. Chuck chose a cinnamon roll for his morning snack, which I went for the fried cheese curds. This led to the serendipitous discovery of fried cheese curds dipped in cream cheese frosting – surprisingly delicious!

Our mid-morning snack

After our snack, we were energized for a morning of animal-watching. First stop was the pig racing arena, where cute little piglets raced around a track in hopes of winning an oreo cookie prize (in reality, I think the prize was getting back to their comfy indoor pens, as several winners ran straight into their trailer and left the cookie for the runners-up!). There was also a cute “swimming pig”, who was coaxed to jump into a tank of water and then swam to the other side, or maybe bounced – he looked like a skipping stone going over the water.

Cute little piglet about to go swimming

After the pigs, our next priority destination was the camel dairy demonstration, but we had some time to kill…so we visited the pygmy goats! The fair is just full of cute animals (I’m pretty sure the cats would love to have both piglets AND pygmy goats as companion animals…well, Zephyr would like it; Athena would just hide under the bed.)

grey goat

Baby goats!

Another cute goat!

There was also a sheep shearing demonstration going on – the sheep had very very long (and soft!) wool:

A little more off the top...

Rastafarian sheep

We also saw some cows:


Including a really big one – see how small the people are in comparison?

Giant monster cow!

After our foray through the livestock barn it was time to head to the infield. During horse races this is accomplished by taking a tunnel under the track, but for the fair they constructed a temporary bridge, so we got to go over.

The track is fast and the turf is firm!

We had a few minutes to walk around the gardening exhibits (giant swiss chard and squash, lots of herbs, etc), the horse exhibit, and the beekeeping tent.

Miniature horse

And then it was time for the main event…the Camel Milking demonstration! (To be continued…)



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