Johnson Canyon, Truckee, CA

While driving west up Interstate 80 from Truckee, California, you may notice a beautiful canyon, just north of the Donner Lake exit, in between Truckee and Donner Pass. This canyon, at one time slated for a 200+ home development, was acquired by the Truckee Donner Land Trust in two transactions between 2006 and 2012, effectively protecting it from any future development. Until this point, the canyon was referred to as “Negro Canyon”, in reference to the African-American landowner at the base of the canyon around the turn of the century.Read more

Thanksgiving at Camp Whiskey Jack

Papa’s camp, aka Camp Whiskey Jack, originally built around 1905 and acquired by the Potvins in 1944, sits on a couple of 40s (40-acre parcels) in the middle of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Every year since my dad was a kid, the men of the family have headed to camp for Opening Day of Deer Hunting Season (a holiday in the U.P.), and the women joined the following week for the days surrounding Thanksgiving. My parents continued this traditionRead more

Isle Royale Part 6 – 21 mile run on the big island

It was day 4 at Isle Royale National Park, a trail running mecca spread over 400 islands with over 165 miles of trails and 99% designated wilderness, and my sister Lynette (the Ecologist for the Park) and I had plans for a 21 mile loop on the main island. Monday morning, August 14, 2017, Lynette and I set out in her boat, the Universal Special, to head from Mott Island to the big island, for our “big” run of theRead more

Isle Royale Part 5 – Three Mile Hike

(for more stories from my trip to Isle Royale, see parts 1, 2, 3, and 4) It was Day 3 on Isle Royale National Park and although I’d already had 7 moose sightings (on solo runs), my parents and daughter were missing out. Lynette took us by boat to Three Mile, where we tied up to the dock, and headed out on a 3-mile loop. We reached an inland lake, and the whispering ceased. We would need to be really quiet if weRead more

Isle Royale Part 4 – Raspberry Island

(for more information on Isle Royale, see parts 1, 2, and 3) Sunday morning, my parents, sister, daughter and I set out in the Universal Special from Mott Island to Raspberry Island. The old boat was taking on a lot of water, and the bilge wasn’t really working, so my dad and I took turns using a hand pump to bail out the water, then racing up to the front of the boat (where I took this pic) so theRead more

Isle Royale Part 3 – where are the moose?

After Net and I returned from our Paddle-Run-Paddle adventure, we found Avian playing with her island friends at the dock. Clearly, she hadn’t missed us. We regrouped with my parents and decided to head out for a Mott Island Loop in search of moose. It was great fun; however, no moose. After dinner, I decided to try another loop. This time, heading out solo, I focused on treading as lightly as possible, and just listening to the sounds… Isle RoyaleRead more

Isle Royale Part 1 – Getting There

Isle Royale National Park (pronounced “I’ll Royal”), a pristine (99% wilderness) archipelago comprised of 400 islands and 200 inland lakes, is located way up north of where I grew up in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan (the “U.P.”), in a very isolated section of Lake Superior. Isle Royale is the least-visited National Park in the lower-48 – only 3 parks in Alaska have fewer annual visitors.  Isle Royale is a trailrunning mecca, with 165 miles of pristine trails throughout theRead more

Running in an Endless Winter – Truckee

Despite the biggest snow year in my 18 years of living in Truckee, I’ve managed to put together a pretty ridiculous racing schedule – three 50 milers and one 100 miler over the next four and a half months. The only way I’ll survive that is to run no matter what winter brings. Sometimes it’s beautiful and fun and I love it, and other times it’s more… challenging. But the challenge brings a sense of adventure, and I’m hoping the combination of shoveling and slogging through miles ofRead more