Sunday, April 1, 2007

Spring Rowing and Hiking

This weekend marks the start of rowing in this area in earnest. The first high school regatta on the Occoquan was this Saturday and today, Sunday, George Mason University Men's Crew hosts their Occoquan Sprints. April 1 also means that we can now take out singles. The bad news is with Regattas running both days, its near impossible to take a boat out. The park which houses the boathouse, Sandy Run Regional Park, is essentially closed on regatta days for those of us interested in taking out shells on our own. With limited parking and hundreds of shells, rowers, parents and friends, its easy to see why. Regattas, besides providing competition for rowers and their respective schools, are also money makers. George Mason's men crew is a club sport and it depends on its three races (2 races in the spring and one head race in the fall), to help meet their expenses such as new boats, oars, insurance and rack rental fees. The same for the high school regattas. The high schools teams will race every weekend between now and late May. Most of the local schools will have their races on the Occoquan. So Saturday rowing is essentially out until mid May.

Saturday, Ann and I made the trip to Harrisonburg to see Daughter#2, our son in law and the Black Demon, aka Gracie. SIL and Daughter#2 enjoy doing outside activities like hiking and camping when they have the chance. Before I get too involved in rowing for the summer, I thought this would be a good time to let Daughter#2 take us on a not too difficult hike. Harrisonburg is nestled in the Shenandoah Valley between two national parks/forests - Shenandoah National Park, home to Skyline Drive and the George Washington National Forest. Our hike would be in the latter to Reddish Knob, one of the highest peaks in the park with a 360 degree vista at the top. Somehow we missed where the trail began and we ended up driving much higher and deeper into the park then we planned. We ended up just parking the car on the side of the road and walking the last mile and a quarter to the the top of the mountain. The view was as spectacular as promised. We didn't hike as long as we would have liked, but all in all it was fun. Gracie kept us entertain during the walk diving in the forest at various places only to rejoin us a few minutes later. The highlight was seeing two white tail deer on out decent back down the mountain. The town leading in to the national forest, Dayton, is populated with a large number of Mennonite farms. Its always interesting to see them out in their buggies or working their farms. As one Dayton website proclaimed, the hitching posts in Dayton are not just there for show. After our somewhat shorten hike, we headed off to Finnegan's Cove for lunch. Its more of a bar that serves seafood then a regular restaurant, but it has some good beer and a raw bar. Daughter#2 and I enjoyed some seafood jambalaya and I also had a dozen steamed clams. I let Ann drive home and I took the opportunity to take a nap. We made it home in time to watch the basketball tournament. The Georgetown game was a bit of a disappointment and we only managed to watch about half of the UCLA-Florida game before heading off to bed.

Erg class today was a trip. I'll normally row around 10,000 meters during the class. Today it was 11,100 meters. That's an indication how hard we were pushed. Although I didn't feel as exhausted as I should coming out of the class. After a quick shower, The Son, now back from his trip to California, treated us to lunch at Bar J's. It was a late lunch so no one really felt like having dinner. Now its back to the grind tomorrow.

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