Monthly Archives: May 2013

Grape Nuts and the river of slush, or The Moose makes us work for it

Getting our winter alpine on near Mooilauke's summit.

Getting our winter alpine on near Mooilauke’s summit.

At 2,000 feet, the trail is clear, the day warm, and we move in t-shirts unencumbered by gloves or hats or fleece. At 3,000 feet, one hour later, we are six inches deep in wet snow and icy rain blows off snow-covered trees and we are forced to wear heavy rain gear and traction. At 4,000 feet, at the ridge, we huff through ankle-deep slush that pours down off Mt. Moosilauke in a river of brown, deep mud. At the summit, 4,802 feet, the wind blows in 20-30 mile per hour sustained gusts and we must duck down behind the rime ice encrusted ruins of the old summit lodge to keep, it feels, from flying off the mountain.

Our whole Grape Nuts Fit Summit Sampler hike is a challenging workshop in contrasting conditions. We literally face every type of weather. It is a difficult day, and an amazing, beautiful one.

Showing off our Grape Nuts flags at the summit.

Showing off our Grape Nuts flags at the summit.

Above tree-line, the sun beats down on us from a deep blue sky as we struggle against the wind. Tough Cookie holds her arms out and laughs, wide-eyed, as the gusts threaten to lift her off the ground, flapping wildly against her pink jacket.

Janelle’s 2nd 4,000 footer (the 10th highest mountain in New Hampshire) throws it all at us, and we let it, grinning and working hard all the way up. On a day like today, you can’t fight against the mountain. We just shake our heads, and absorb what it sends.

Our job is to hand out Grape Nuts Fit sample boxes. We’ve stuffed Janelle’s new Grape Nuts pack full of them and half-expect it to be difficult to give it all away. It’s not. Perhaps it’s the nutty conditions that put everyone in a good mood. Maybe it’s just that getting free snacks on the trail is a welcome treat. But nearly everyone takes them, and laughs along with us at how preposterous it is that here we are – on behalf of Grape Nuts – giving away samples, on a day like today, out of this little girl’s black and purple back pack.

The day rolls on, and we take our time; partly because of conditions and partly because it’s been a while since we attempted a hike of this nature and are out of shape. Our muscles are slow to respond. But Tough Cookie weathers the happy ordeal in typical fashion. She’s by far the youngest hiker on the mountain this day and is greeted with a mix of awe and disbelief by fellow hikers.

I joke with Janelle, and tell her to not let it get to her head. “Let what get to my head?” she says on the way back down. “I’m really tired!”

Big drifts on the way up!

Big drifts on the way up!

She lets out a bunch of fake ughs and sighs and at one point during a break she even lays down on the comfy soil to rest. She is tired, but mainly she’s just being a ham.

By the time we reach the car, her pack is nearly empty of samples and we are all soaked and muddy. But we all grin foolishly at each other, share high fives and hugs and await the inevitable happy creep of sore knees and shoulders.

It’s summer now. In less than two weeks, Janelle and I will set out on a different kind of pilgrimage as we take our story to readers far and wide across New England. Days like this will be become more precious, and perhaps, rare. But 4,000-footer #2 is a good one. Moosilauke put on quite a show, and the Grape Nuts flowed like slush from a mountain.

For our full album from the journey, click here: Grape Nuts Moosilauke Hike

Short Step and Tough Cookie

Short Step and Tough Cookie

Categories: NH 4,000-footers, White Mountain Hikes | Tags: , , | 3 Comments

Pic of the day: All hail the Moose!

Buffalo and Tough Cookie take a moment to size up the summit crown of Mt. Moosilauke on Monday before making a push for the top. This was the duo's Grape Nuts Fit Summit Sampler climb and it was amazing. We have some much coming in the days ahead. We'll have a trip[ report on the climb with incredible pictures, more information on upcoming events and some links to new press. Only two weeks to go!

GO BIG OR GO HOME: Buffalo and Tough Cookie take a moment to size up the summit crown of Mt. Moosilauke on Monday before making a push for the top. This was the duo’s Grape Nuts Fit Summit Sampler climb and it was amazing. We have so much coming in the days ahead. We’ll have a trip report on the climb with incredible pictures, more information on upcoming events and some links to new press. Only two weeks to go! Stay tuned!

Categories: Pic of the Day | 4 Comments

Three-week countdown, and several events confirmed!

dan booklogo copy copy 4Just a short post today to remind everyone that we are a short three-weeks away from the release of The Adventures of Buffalo and Tough Cookie! Wow, how time is flying. More importantly, our events, signings and readings are beginning to stack up. We urge you take a peek in the Events /Media section of this site and check regularly on events near you.

If you have any recommendations for events at bookstores or organizations near you that you think might have an interest, let us know. Also, we’re always happy to do house parties as well.

Janelle and I would love to meet each and every one of you. Click this link for a listing of our events thus far, and we hope to see you there: Event Listing

Categories: Press and Promotion, Updates and Plans | Leave a comment

Let’s Celebrate! Book Release Party Info

It's been a long, wonderful ride. Please join us for the next chapter in our adventure, we'd love to meet you all!

It’s been a long, wonderful ride. Please join us for the next chapter in our adventure, we’d love to meet you all!

Categories: Press and Promotion, Updates and Plans | Leave a comment

Running goals for 2013 and progress

Getting ready to run on a hot day in Concord.

Getting ready to run on a hot day in Concord.

One of Janelle’s running goals this season is to finish a 5k in under 30 minutes. Her best time last year was just under 35:00 so shaving 5 minutes off that time is an ambitious project.

So far this year, we’ve run three 5ks. After yesterday’s Rock n’ Roll run I think we’ve found a benchmark of where she’s at this season. (FYI, we are running as partners this seasons so our finish times are about the same.)

Here’s the finish number thus far:

Nashua Soup Kitchen run: 37:48

Girls Inc run: 36:00

Concord Rock n’ Roll run: 36:22

That may look daunting, but there’s some trending positives which lead me to believe she’s on the right path for a pre-30 min. race by the end of the season. First, at the Nashua race she ran a sub-10 minute first mile. That was way too fast of a start and it dragged her down the rest of the race. So, for the Girls Inc. run, we worked on pacing and focusing on maintaining a reasonable rhythm. And as you can see, the results were good.

So, what happened in yesterday’s race? Well, it was hot and it’s a hilly course. But digging into the numbers shows some positive trends. First, she ran the first two full miles without resting, nearly 23 minutes. Her pace for those first two miles was a steady 11:30. So, it’s clear that if she was able to maintain that pace for the final mile she could have finished in around 35-35:30.

It seems as though the issue right now is endurance. Her head was certainly in the race yesterday and we didn’t have cramping issues until the very end.

One interesting stat from yesterday’s race was how well she did within her own age group. For 11 and unders she finish 37 out of 121!

So, our next race appears to be the Girls on the Run race on June 9. Our plan is to work on some cardio sprints to get her lung capacity up there. I think we’ll also play around with her running form a bit as she tends to drag her feet when she gets tired.

All in all a great day. While we’d both rather be hiking, it’s been fun being partners on the running course. Oh and by the way Aunt Stephanie, she loves the shoes!

Buffalo and Tough Cookie are here!

Buffalo and Tough Cookie are here!

Ms. Vachon, Janelle's 4th-grade teacher!

Ms. Vachon, Janelle’s 4th-grade teacher.

It's all about the style!

It’s all about the style!

Showing off at the State House.

Showing off at the State House.

Categories: Running and Races | 3 Comments

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