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Introducing Ann Spencer – One of Our Alaskan First-years!

Hey everyone,

I hope everyone is off having crazy adventures. I spent the first month of my summer in Italy, exploring the dolomites with my dad for the first two weeks and then visiting Florence, Siena and Lucca with my mom, sister and grandma for the next two weeks. It was nice to get home though and start training with APU for the summer. I have spent most of my summer eating, sleeping and training and I have spent lots of hours in the mountains. I also spent one week up on the glacier skiing with the APU bridge program. The weather was beautiful and it was a wonderful opportunity to get on snow in the summer.

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Unfortunately, right after coming off the glacier, I was mountain biking out of a hike, went over the handle bars and fractured the radial head in my elbow. I have almost full mobility back but I am getting really tired of roller skiing with no poles. I’m so excited to start school and I hope everyone has had an amazing summer.  -Ann

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Kaitlin Fink checks in from the Road…

Hey friends!!

Wow, it’s hard to know where to start – since school got out, I’ve been in fifteen different states, had two jobs, moved around five different dorm rooms on campus, taken a full semester of classes, spent a week in an army barracks, lived out of my car in middle-of-nowhere Vermont, and am now spending three days at home before heading back up to Middlebury to start ResLife training. It’s been a pretty crazy summer, but I’ve definitely been keeping myself busy and I can’t wait to see all of you (and especially get to meet all of the new freshman!) in just a few short weeks!

I’ve spent the majority of my summer in Vermont, but back in May I took a cross-country road trip with two friends from Bowdoin. We took ten days to get from Vermont to Truckee, California, which gave us a little extra time to explore along the way. We rollerskied in every state we crossed, and I’m pretty sure that we were able to give some Iowans and Nebraskans their first-ever glimpse of nordic skiing!

[caption id="attachment_4321" align="alignnone" width="224"]They’re not messing around. Hundreds of truckers – only two rollerskiers. They’re not messing around. Hundreds of truckers – only two rollerskiers.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_4320" align="alignnone" width="300"]IMG_0907 Agility workout?[/caption] [caption id="attachment_4319" align="alignnone" width="224"] Somewhere in Colorado…or Utah…or Nevada…[/caption]

I came back to Midd to work Reunion weekend, and got to hang out with the 55th through 70th year reunion classes – so, Middlebury graduates who are now in their late-80s to mid-90s. I met one 87-year-old who was apparently a world record holder for the 80+ men’s 400m relay – and he ran the entire cross-country course with me as part of the 5K fun run. It was pretty inspiring to see him still out there running, and I hope that I’ll still be able to do what he’s doing when I’m his age!

I worked for a few weeks down in the Recycling Center; for those of you who have never checked it out, you should definitely stop by. It’s not exactly the most thrilling job, and there were some times when the smell was a little overwhelming, but there’s some pretty awesome free stuff to pick through. I may or may not have acquired a unicorn suit and a dragon suit that might be finding their way to ski team activities this year…

From there, I spent six weeks living down in Munford and taking classes with Dylan, Eliot, and nine other students as part of Middlebury’s inaugural year of the School of the Environment. Fitting a full semester of classes into six weeks doesn’t exactly result in the most relaxed of summers…but it was amazing to get to share that time with such a wonderful and inspiring group of people. It was definitely an un-traditional classroom experience; in all of the six weeks, I think there was maybe one class that felt like a “lecture”. We spent most of our time in small groups (Dylan and I actually got the chance to work together on our final project as part of the “Dream Team”), visiting museums and historical sites, or out on Lake Champlain aboard the College’s research vessel. I didn’t get to check out as many of the swimming holes as I would have liked, but I’m really glad I got the chance to be living on campus this summer with such an awesome crew!

[caption id="attachment_4318" align="alignnone" width="300"] Not exactly a typical class…[/caption]

Since then – I spent a week over at the Jericho army base with my club team from home, hitting up a combined volume/intensity training block and hanging out with junior biathletes from all over the world, and then spent some solo time up at Burke Mountain in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont. I discovered that pay-showers really do exist ($1.00 for 5 minutes of running water) and the backseat of my car is a lot more comfortable as a bed than I had expected…

I’ll be back up at Midd for good starting this Friday, so if any of y’all are headed back to campus early and need a bed for the night (or a few nights), definitely hit me up! I’ll catch up with the new freshmen during orientation, and I can’t wait to see the rest of you when you’re back in Vermont! : )

~Finky (Kaitlin)

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Katie Feldman reports on Western (and Eastern) Adventures!

Hi all! My summer has been a whirlwind thus far, and I can’t believe I head to Middlebury in just two weeks. With that in mind, I’ve been trying to take advantage of my final days in Sun Valley, Idaho between training, adventuring, and just being at home.My summer started out in Bend, OR with the rest of the Sun Valley team where we got some sweet on-snow time as well as some beautiful dryland training along the Deschutes River. This year, we mixed it up and did a combo ski and surf camp. After the skiing portion, we headed to Pacific City, OR where we picked up surf boards and wetsuits and spent the next 3 days doing bounding intervals on the sand dunes, running through the rainforest, and getting thrashed in the waves. I spent the entire first day just trying to get out past the break, but I eventually figured out how to paddle out and even catch a wave! Unfortunately, there is no photographic proof of this.

[caption id="attachment_4308" align="alignnone" width="225"]Looking pro! Looking pro![/caption]

This camp really set the vibe for a fun summer of training, and I returned home in Mid-June to find this:

[caption id="attachment_4305" align="alignnone" width="300"]Which month is it?? Which month is it??[/caption]

I spent the next month training in the valley with a group of other college skiers (including Midd kids Adam, Sam, and recent grad Ben) and babysitting in between training sessions. On off days I’ve been going to local concerts and/or heading up to Stanley to watch sunsets from the best swings ever:

Swingset

After a very hot July, I headed to North Carolina with my family for a reunion with all of the cousins. We wanted to go running, but it was so hot and humid during the day that we couldn’t figure out when. Since we’d heard the sunrises are beautiful, we decided to head out for some barefoot sunrise runs on the beach. The5:30 alarm was incredibly early, but well worth it as we beat the heat and even saw some wild horses!

[caption id="attachment_4309" align="alignnone" width="300"]Sunrise run Sunrise run[/caption]

12 miles later, our feet were blistered, legs were tired, and it was nice to spend the rest of the day relaxing on the beach.

While July and August are usually sunny and really warm here in the valley, we’ve had about two weeks of afternoon thunder and rainstorms. As I was told on Tuesday during L3 skate intervals in the pouring rain, it’s just preparation for the East! Note to self: put fenders on rollerskis before school starts! Fortunately, there was a break in the rain this past weekend, allowing a group of us to head out on an off-trail adventure in search of a water-filled basin known as Window Lake. After a rather steep ascent, we arrived to the bright blue water and were greeted by four mountain goats on the snowy peak behind the lake.

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[caption id="attachment_4304" align="alignnone" width="300"]Window Lake Window Lake[/caption] [caption id="attachment_4306" align="alignnone" width="300"]The descent The descent[/caption]
Overall, I’ve been having a busy and super fun summer. I’m so excited for the fall and the next adventure that awaits – see you all soon!

 

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Prague, Tetons, Salmon River…Luna’s Summer!

Hello!

My summer began with a couple of weeks spent here at home in Wilson, Wyo., where I was able to catch up with friends and attempt some early season hikes up in the mountains where the snow from a huge winter still remained. I was then lucky enough to travel for two weeks with my mom to the Czech Republic to visit Prague, where my cousin and his family are living, and to a couple of small towns in the southwestern part of the country. It was great to catch up with family and also to see and explore the beautiful city of Prague and the surrounding countryside.

[caption id="attachment_4296" align="alignnone" width="300"]Avalanche Canyon, Grand Teton National Park Avalanche Canyon, Grand Teton National Park[/caption] [caption id="attachment_4298" align="alignnone" width="273"]Karlstejn Castle outside of Prague Karlstejn Castle outside of Prague[/caption] [caption id="attachment_4300" align="alignnone" width="180"]Sightseeing in Prague Sightseeing in Prague[/caption]

In July, my family took a trip to the Main Salmon River in central Idaho for a week of rafting, a trip we have done pretty much every summer since I was one year old. It has always been a summer highlight and this year was no exception- from practicing whitewater paddleboarding and rafting to eating delicious fresh cooked meals to soaking up the hot Idaho sun it was great to take a week to relax and enjoy the company of family and friends, away from the frenzied atmosphere of Jackson Hole at peak tourist season.

[caption id="attachment_4299" align="alignnone" width="267"]Salmon River paddle boarding! Salmon River paddle boarding![/caption]

In between these two trips I’ve been training and trying to get in as many views of the mountains as I can. I have also been working for a gardening business three days a week and slowly adding to my limited knowledge of plants. When I’m not working or training, I’m looking for hiking buddies to head into the mountains with, preferably to a lake to jump into. So far they’ve all been pretty chilly swims even though it’s already August.

As for the remaining weeks of my summer, I hope to get in a couple of nights backpacking in the Tetons, or at least some more adventures up in the mountains!

[caption id="attachment_4297" align="alignnone" width="300"]Hanging Canyon, Grand Teton National Park Hanging Canyon, Grand Teton National Park[/caption]

I’m looking forward to my last few weeks at home, spending time with friends and family and taking in all this beautiful place has to offer.

I can’t wait to see all of you soon!

 

Luna

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Dispatch from Evan Patz

Hey Everyone,

I hope your summers have gone well! It’s hard to believe that Midd is already less than a month away.

My summer started out with a week in Wisconsin to see my parents (and more importantly, my dog, Taz) before I would spend the next 6 weeks abroad in Malaysia and Singapore. After my brief visit, I began the 30-hour journey to Singapore, which included highlights such as flying over the Alaskan glaciers, doing core in the Tokyo airport, and getting 2 full hours of sleep. When I landed in Singapore, I met up with my friends, Ian and Evelin, who are from Midd and would be my travel companions for the trip. In a nutshell, Singapore had a lot of strict laws such as, “drug traffickers will be put to death,” which was on the customs form, it was also cleaner than the ski room at the end of the year, and was so hot and humid that I couldn’t stop sweating. But besides the heat, Singapore had some amazing buildings and delicious food.

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Downtown light show in Singapore. The slab on top of the building is a giant swimming pool.

 

After a few great days in Singapore, we took a bus to Malaysia and then a ferry out to Tioman Island where we would spend the next 6 weeks volunteering at a sea turtle conservation project.

[caption id="attachment_4286" align="alignnone" width="300"]The red pointer is Tioman Island. The red pointer is Tioman Island.[/caption]

A normal day at the project involved giving tours to visitors; I became quite good at explaining sea turtle life cycles with only hand gestures, since a lot of people didn’t speak English, and I also learned turtle in six languages. When we weren’t busy talking about turtles, there were other projects to work on such as building a larger tank for Jo, the 8-year-old blind Green turtle that lived at the project or conducting studies on the surrounding coral reefs. We also patrolled the beach at night to look for nesting turtles. If nests were found, we would transport the eggs (usually 120-150 eggs) to our own hatchery to prevent people from digging up the eggs and selling them for money. Once the baby turtles hatched, we released them on the beach and watched them begin their lives as they crawled into the ocean.

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Don’t worry, I still saved plenty of time for training. Although running in the equatorial weather was not always enjoyable, I had some great trail runs through the jungle and long treks up mountains. When I didn’t feel like sweating off half my weight, I swam along the coast with lots of coral reefs where I’d see turtles, stingrays, and plenty of fish.

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After a great trip, I journeyed back to Wisconsin (luckily I did not fly Malaysian Airlines…). It felt great to get back on my rollerskis and roll around the many bike paths in Madison. As usual, pedestrians stared at me like they’d never seen rollerskis before, which they probably hadn’t, and one little boy even dropped his ice cream when he saw me coming, oops.

[caption id="attachment_4290" align="alignnone" width="224"]Getting some technique tips on the rollerski treadmill. Getting some technique tips on the rollerski treadmill.[/caption]

Besides scaring little kids, I’ve been doing a bit of research for someone at University of Wisconsin who is trying to make a certain type of motor run more efficiently. I also participated in the Paddle & Portage with my dad, which is a canoe race in downtown Madison where over 400 boats race across one lake, then portage the canoes through downtown, a 1-mile wide isthmus, and finally paddle across a second lake to the finish. It’s been an annual tradition with my dad and this year was our best finish yet, we got 3rd in our age group!

[caption id="attachment_4291" align="alignnone" width="300"]I’m under the green canoe. I’m under the green canoe.[/caption]

The last few weeks of my summer will be spent in Switzerland with the parents. They’re going on sabbatical in Geneva for the next 6 months so I get to tag along for the move-in. I’m excited to do some trekking in the Alps; I just hope my dad doesn’t embarrass me again with his yodeling skills.

Anyway, I can’t wait to see everyone at Midd. Have a great rest of the summer!

Evan

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Kelsey Settled Down for a Minute to Send Us an Update!

I swear I had the best intentions of staying in one place this summer. I was going to spend my time training in Truckee with Heather, Patrick, Nick and an assortment of other awesome college skiers. If you know my track record of being constantly on the move in past summers, you might understand that this would have been a pretty big first for me. It turns out that my adventurous nature is not easy to quell. Maybe not surprisingly, I ended up spending time home in Boulder, Park City, Truckee, Bozeman, and now I’m back in Boulder and who knows where the wind will take me next! Since you’ve already heard about the fun times in Truckee from Heather and Patrick, I’ll fill you in on some of my other summer adventures.

Unfortunately my brother, Taylor, was in a very serious bike crash in the end of May. This was the main reason for some of my moving around and eventually why I left Truckee. I try my best to give moral support and bring some comedic relief to an otherwise difficult time. Amazingly, he has already started riding his bike outside again and we have become sibling training buddies. He is in good spirits and very much on the road to recovery. On the bright side, it has been really awesome getting to spend so much quality time together. It is by far the most time I’ve gotten to spend with him in a while!

During what turned out to be my last week in Truckee, Lander McKinley and Anya Bean came out to visit from Bozeman and proposed that I drive back with them to go adventuring in big sky country for a week. Who could resist that offer? So I packed up and drove 12 hours to one of the most jam-packed and amazing weeks of my summer so far. We hiked and did yoga almost every day. The cherry on top was that Izzy and Sophie Caldwell also came to visit Anya. Needless to say I was in very good company to get in some laughter-filled days!

I’m looking forward to more great training and fun in the next few weeks!

Here are a bunch of pictures from my summer thus far!

[caption id="attachment_4276" align="alignnone" width="225"]Downtown Truckee at sunset Downtown Truckee at sunset[/caption]

 

[caption id="attachment_4277" align="alignnone" width="300"]View from the top of the Drifter TT course View from the top of the Drifter TT course[/caption] [caption id="attachment_4282" align="alignnone" width="300"]Lake Tahoe is beautiful! Lake Tahoe is beautiful![/caption] [caption id="attachment_4271" align="alignnone" width="225"]My love of coffee is still very strong... My love of coffee is still very strong…[/caption] [caption id="attachment_4273" align="alignnone" width="300"]Heather and I atop Mount Lola! Heather and I atop Mount Lola![/caption] [caption id="attachment_4274" align="alignnone" width="300"]So much love for the lovely Anja. So much love for the lovely Anja.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_4275" align="alignnone" width="300"]Bridger Bowl, Bozeman, MT Bridger Bowl, Bozeman, MT[/caption]

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[caption id="attachment_4279" align="alignnone" width="300"]Summit jumps with Sophie! Summit jumps with Sophie![/caption]

Sending my love and a lot of laughter!

Kelsey

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Evan Weinman, Reporting from Steamboat

Hey everybody! My summer has been a never ending adventure thus far, and with only three weeks until my college career begins, I am taking advantage of every last day here in Colorado.

I kicked off my summer with a road trip to Bend, OR with my fellow teammates where we had an awesome training camp. We abused our privilege of skiing on snow in June and we skied around a little 3k loop until we were dizzy. From Oregon, a few of us Steamboat kids went straight to Park City, UT for a camp there. It was a solid few weeks of intense training for me, and it really set the tone for what I wanted to be doing all summer.

Once I got back home, I found my routine of training in the mornings, and selling sunglasses in the afternoons. When I’m lucky enough to have an afternoon off from the local sun glass business, well, I usually have to just train. However, I have been getting out and doing a bunch of other fun things! A few of my friends and I have been exploring the mountains around town whenever we can, and it’s not at all uncommon for us to plan a trip at noon, and then disappear into the woods until the next day with nothing but some food and a sleeping bag.

[caption id="attachment_4264" align="alignnone" width="125"]rocky peak Little known fact that this is the smallest picture of Rocky Peak ever taken – editors are working on this situation![/caption]

On top of camping and a boat load of training, I started my sky diving career in July, and am on my way to becoming a licensed diver! I went on my first solo jump last week, and have about 7 more jumps until I complete the certification. It has always been a little dream of mine to sky dive, and I am beyond stoked to make it a reality.

[caption id="attachment_4265" align="alignnone" width="159"]sky diving Sky Diving![/caption]

All in all, my summer has been a blast. I’ve been staying busy, too busy actually, but that is a good thing. Between jumping out of planes, sleeping in hammocks, working, and even biking up 14’ers, summer has been treating me well. It will be a bitter sweet goodbye to leave this all behind in the fall, but I am excited to be starting my time at Middlebury, and I couldn’t be more thrilled to have a new place to explore.

Evan

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Nicolette Checks in Before Departing for Distant Places!

Hello Friends!

As July comes to an end I hope this post finds everyone in happy summer spirits and with some exciting adventures already under their belts. I know most of the team is spread far and wide across the country (and globe), but I, along with Dylan, Eliot, and Kaitlin, have been holding down the fort here at Midd for the past two months.

[caption id="attachment_4259" align="alignnone" width="300"]This beautiful morning was the perfect time for a jaunt up Snake Mountain This beautiful morning was the perfect time for a jaunt up Snake Mountain[/caption]

After the hectic end to the spring semester I got away from campus for some therapeutic lake time and to visit family, but not for long! By May 30 I was back and my summer was fully under way. I have been busy doing research for my academic advisor, who is in the process of writing a book. It has been incredibly interesting, and I certainly am learning a lot in the process. The topic of the book is work ethic in America; there’s nothing like reading about worker dissatisfaction and the historical fight for higher wages and fewer hours to make me question my impending entrance into the workforce in a few years…

But aside from work, summer in Vermont has been amazing! I don’t know what I did to please the weather Gods, but the sun has been shining (for the most part) and the temps have been warm. Not going to lie, the humidity has made for some pretty sweaty workouts; but thankfully there is no shortage of swimming holes to cool off in.

[caption id="attachment_4258" align="alignnone" width="300"] Jumping is no doubt the best way to enter the water![/caption]

I actually only have one more week out here in the east; on Saturday I head home to the good ol’ Midwest for a 10 day stint at home before hopping on a plane out to LA. I’ve never been to the City of Angels before, so three days will hopefully be enough to get a feel for the city. From there a friend and I peace out to Cusco, Peru for two weeks. At over 11,000 feet I’m pretty sure just walking uphill for a few minutes will count as a solid training day (kidding, kidding. Don’t worry AJ and Patty; I’ll still be training). On September first I’ll find myself back on the east coast, with only a few days before we all reunite!

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xoxxo

Nicolette

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Patrick Reports from Northern California

The summer has been nothing less than incredibly productive and busy. Whether its training, exploring, working construction or nannying the activities have been endless. The California sun has been an angry Heat-Miser of a sort I have never experienced in my hometown of Tahoe. After weeks of record breaking temperatures I watched the bikepath melt away and swallow my rollerski farrol whole, it is not typical for Tahoe to receive 100 degrees of frantic fahrenheit but I must say the lakes and river have never felt more refreshing!

heat-miser

With all of that heat though we finally got some rain and weather last week, just in time for me to jump into a volume week. I had just come back from a little adventure up in Bend, Oregon and training with some new folks for a week got me fired up. As a preamble to the epic week that was in store, upon arrival from Bend I caught wind of the Super Moon that was to be awoken on the 13th and while Heather Mooney and crew went searching for snow, I took off for the moon. Running out my back-door at 8:15pm, equipped with my water-belt, a granola bar and a headlamp I became lost in the night thinking of all the fun workouts for the coming week that I had in store. The moon was overwhelming, although consumed by the trees at times, I ran all over the mountain, howling with the coyotes and skipping over the rocks, not looking down at my watch until I found this view at 10:30pm…

[caption id="attachment_4251" align="alignnone" width="225"]Moon Lake Moon Lake[/caption]

Taking a deep breath of night air, I ran home hoping that the rest day ahead would go by quick!

[caption id="attachment_4248" align="alignnone" width="240"]Napping! Napping![/caption]

After a day of nannying three excitable children and hard core napping/cuddling with some fast folk (Anja Gruber, Beth Taylor and our own alum Patrick Johnson), Monday’s rest was a success and it was off to volumize with the hope that a little of their fitness had rubbed off on me!

Training out of home has been marvelous this year with all of the friendly faces that have made it out to work hard and play hard so putting in hours was no trouble at all. We had our Drifter Time Trial on Wednesday, an uphill running TT, and being late to the warm-up as per usual, I was written in to go first, right ahead of Patty J… Knowing he was on my tail pushed me harder up the canyon then ever! Also having Kelsey Phinny and fasterskier friends cheering along the way was huge for motivation on the pounding switchbacks. Still 20 seconds behind Patrick, I managed a personal best and a 3rd fastest time on the day! And the week just kept a-rollin…

[caption id="attachment_4247" align="alignnone" width="240"]Running TT Drifter time trial[/caption]

The rest of the week just blurred on by in a slur of strength and runs and night roller-skis and first rains of the summer! Capping off the most satisfying week of my summer thus far with a hike with old high school friends. I had done the first part of this hike earlier in the summer with the talented and ever-enthusiastic Nick Underwood as it became the first destination on an 18 mile trek across the Sierras over the Tahoe Basin and into Desolation; but as this was the end of an already long week, the first summit would suffice. After a casual 2 hours of chatting and hiking the lake had never looked better.

Top Of Tallac

And soon came the rain, in the most deliberate cloud…

Tallac Rain Cloud

We took the time for one more photo and rushed down the mountain as the lightning trailed behind us.

Tallac and Friends

All in all, this week sums up the perfection of the summer. Great friends, great adventures and great training! The volume of this week ended up motivating me to keep a training log for the first time in my career, much to the excitement of AJ, the total hours for the week were 27, and the most movement my legs have ever seen! I can’t wait for the fall. I miss you Team!!!

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Alia Reports from the Vineyard

Hello everyone! Here’s to the last full week of July… Yikes!

After a few trips to Burlington, mornings at the bakery with friends, peak bagging adventures in the Adirondacks, and hours helping build the wood-fired pizza oven in the organic garden, I found myself with just enough time to get ready before driving south to the locale I find myself in now.

[caption id="attachment_4241" align="alignnone" width="300"]IMG_5462 View from a bike ride to Aquinnah[/caption]

I’m spending 12 weeks of the summer on Martha’s Vineyard as a conservation intern with The Nature Conservancy, working hard to “save the last great places on earth,” while also immersing myself in the sea-level training life. When I’m not training and working full days “Protecting nature and preserving life,” it has been great fun to explore the island on foot and by bike, both alone and with my housemates. Between art fests, farmers’ markets, thrifting, arboretum walks, live music, yoga on boardwalks, scenic beaches, and vistas of the vast, blue ocean, there has been so much to enjoy here.

[caption id="attachment_4242" align="alignnone" width="225"]IMG_5515.JPG Respect the preserve boundary![/caption]

I’ll be in Vermont for the last few weeks of summer, biking, gardening, throwing the frisbee for my dog, and knocking off some more of the High peaks that I’ve yet to climb.

Looking forward to seeing you all, minus Jack and Nick, in September!

Alia

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