Period One SuperTours

The first two weeks of the season are over and to be completely honest, they were far from satisfactory. There are lots of factors that may or may not have contributed to sub-par races but the bottom line is that I just didn’t race well. During a few time trials back home in November I felt less than stellar, unable to tap into that race feeling and fitness. In the first Super Tours in West Yellowstone I had the same feeling. The sprint prelim was ok not great; I qualified 20th which was in the mix but I didn’t feel like I was sprinting. Fortunately that was good enough to make the heats and I felt much better in the quarterfinal. A new–and welcome–change on the SuperTour this year is the timing of heats. For the past several years, lucky losers (the last two to move on to semifinals after the first two in each heat automatically advance) were selected from the lowest bib numbers (based on qualifying placement) that placed third in the heats. So it didn’t matter if you placed third in the fastest heat if you had a high bib number from a slower qualifying time (i.e. Bib 20 but bibs 18 and 19 also finished third then you’d be out). By timing the heats, the fastest racers actually advance which is more fair. So I managed to out-lunge my teammate Fitz for third and luckily we had the fastest quarterfinal times so we both advanced! The sprint course was pretty twisty-turny and I got boxed out early on and never managed to make a move around and my day was over. So, not the result I was gunning for but 12th in the end was a good start.

West-sprint-PKNearing the finish of my quarterfinal, I am far left, #20 (photo: PK)

Sunday’s race was a different story. I was looking forward to the 10km skate and had a good race plan. However, after a good warmup, I started out conservatively and was never able to pick up the pace and my race plan went out the window. I never felt relaxed and comfortable on my skis and finished way down in the results. I’ve struggled with short skate races the past few years and was hoping that things had changed but apparently not. Some of it is a mental block after having dealt with so much lower leg injury but it’s clearly something I still need to work on.

West-Yellowstone-Toko10km skate race (photo: Toko/Ian Harvey)

West Yellowstone is a funny venue. It’s at altitude, the course is deceptively hard even though it’s relatively flat, it’s the first races of the season and it’s also a ski festival over Thanksgiving holiday with more Midwest juniors and masters than you knew existed (no offense to anyone, it’s just a fact) and everyone is anxious to see how well their summer training has paid off, especially with the Olympics this year. So the stress factor is high. But more often than not, how you race in West is not a fair indicator of how the season will pan out.

20131210-101916.jpgMe and Claire, my college roommate, teammate and best friend!
West is the one time every year that Claire, our other college teammate/friend Em, and I are all in one place, so it’s a really fun reunion (I failed to get a group photo this year! So sad).

West is also home of the gear expo where all the industry brands showcase and promote their new products. My two main equipment sponsors, Rossignol (boots, skis, bindings) and Start (poles) have amazingly helpful and personable reps, Paul and Evan, and I want to thank them for getting me set up with some great equipment and hopefully I will do them proud with some good results here soon. I also helped at the NNF booth at the expo and they did a nice profile on me here. The NNF is an amazing organization that has helped increase funding for American skiing and subsidize international race trips across the board from juniors to the World Cup.

Bozeman

The week after West, Bozeman was frigid. I’m not talking ‘ooh, my cheeks and fingers are a bit nippy’ cold, I’m talking ‘wear two layers each of thermals, overpants, jackets, puffy jackets, hats, buffs plus a cold air breathing mask, mittens and overboots’ cold. I think the average for the week was -20F. We still got some decent training as long as you wore all the clothing mentioned above and went slow enough to not really sweat. I was really looking forward to the races, both classic, a sprint and a 10km mass start. But, FIS has a temperature limit of -4F/-20C for official racing, and come Saturday morning, it was still an icy -18F/-27C, so they had to cancel the sprint. The forecast called for warmer temperatures on Sunday for the distance race (warm being high of about 0 – +2F) but it never got that warm. The official thermometer was reading -5 to -7F in the stadium but the jury argued that it was warmer (i.e. at least -4F and legal) around the rest of the course and so after three 30-min delays, the race started. Unfortunately, after about 3km I decided that the air coming into my lungs was still too cold and harmful, even with my crazy pig-snout breathing mask, so I pulled over and didn’t finish. Sometimes, it’s just not worth it. If it was cold enough that my coach told me to race in my warmup jacket (which I did) then it was cold enough to do serious damage to my lungs, and this early in the season, I didn’t want to risk it. It was a bummer, but the right decision. I got to watch everyone lap and finish from the heated seat of my car! Kudos to the race organizers and volunteers, and racers, who stood freezing for hours to pull off the event. However, I still think it was a dubious decision to hold the race.

Nevertheless, racing goes on, and now we have made the ten-hour road trip across the border to the more balmy climes of Rossland, B.C. Canada. The temps are on the upswing with highs just around freezing forecasted for the weekend! The courses are legit, and will be tough, but I’m looking forward to some fun racing!

I also want to give a shout-out to my APU teammie Sadzarue (aka Sadie Bjornsen) who has been kicking ass on the World Cup over in Europe the past few weeks and has been such an inspiration. Sadie has finished 7th in both classic distance races, in Finland and Norway (meaning arguably some of the deepest WC fields) and helped the ladies relay team to a bronze medal in Lillehammer last weekend. It is incredibly inspiring to see someone like Sadie have such success because she has had so many injuries the past few years that have prevented her from training at full capacity until late this summer yet she still puts a smile on her face, goes out and skis like a bandit. It’s also awesome to know that I do virtually the same training, so somewhere in there I must have another level of racing, I just have to find it. I’m so happy for her, and can’t wait to see what else she and the rest of my teammates over in Euroland–Kikkan, Holly and Rosie–have to show us this year.

Sadie-7th-WCLillehammer Sadie on her way to 7th in Lillehammer, Norway last weekend. (photo: Salomon Nordic)

WC-girls-3rd-lillehammerThe USA women on the podium (Kikkan, Sadie, Jessie, Liz) in Lillehammer (photo: Salomon Nordic)

More photos from the past couple weeks!

imagePanorama of Bohart Ranch XC trails BEFORE it got wicked cold. Pretty spectacular.

IMG_2596Me, PK and Jess at Bohart…AUS reunion!imageSunset in West Yellowstone

image Getting creative with the shots…same sunset as above.

IMG_9410APU girls in Bozeman a few days before the races. New uniforms are sharp! (photo: Becca)

imageHaving fun at the grocery store in Bozeman 🙂

IMG_1185Driving from Bozeman to Canada…it was a dreary as it looks. This was before the blizzard.

imageSnow on arrival in Rossland!

imageBecca and I jumping for joy for the amazing skiing and warmer temps in Rossland yesterday

Fall Training Update!

A lot of training happened this fall. After I came home from Australia, I pretty much jumped right back into the swing of things with the team, putting in a lot of quality hours and the time really flew by. September and October were some of my biggest months in terms of training hours, about 140 hours combined. It rained a lot in September, and one day I actually did a 2-hour workout on a bike trainer in my living room because it was pretty much a hurricane outside. I watched almost the entire Hobbit movie.

IMG_1949With rain come rainbows

IMG_1074Fall sunsets last a long time and can be pretty amazing.

The whole APU elite team flew down to Park City, Utah for the first two weeks of October for an altitude training camp with the US Ski Team. The sun and warmer temperatures were a welcome vacation from the cold rain in Anchorage. It was the first time I had ever done a dryland training camp outside Alaska (apart from college) and it was really fun to check out new rollerski loops and running trails. We did a couple killer bounding workouts up Canyons alpine resort that were so hard they made me want to hurl and crap my pants at the same time. Afterwards, though, I felt like a rockstar because I’d done a great workout. There are hundreds of miles of single-track trails in and around Park City, and I had such a blast running on them.

IMG_2078Fall colors in Park City

IMG_2079View driving over Guardsman Pass from PC to Midway/SoHo

IMG_2122View on one of my runs around Deer Valley

We had some awesome workouts with the USST and on our own. Doing speed workouts at Soldier Hollow was a great chance to really break the course down into sections and figure out how and where to make up time and push the pace. It will be really beneficial and advantageous to know the course and how to ski it better come January when US Nationals will be there again.

IMG_2055Becca, Rosie and I rollerskiing at Soldier Hollow (photo: Zuzana Rogers)

We also had some fun lifting sessions at the local public gym, and even got to watch a bunch of the US Bobsled Team men lift some incredible weights. They were incredible athletes and could probably throw me across the gym as easy as a softball given the hundreds of pounds of weights they were squatting and pressing.

IMG_2111Getting my heavy lift on… One-legged rotation squats with weight.

For me, being the trail-running junkie that I am, the highlights were the two long runs we did. The first was part of a classic rollerski-run combo workout with the USST. We skied up Emigration Canyon from Salt Lake City to the top of a pass, then changed footwear and ran along a ridge for 90 minutes back over to Parley’s Summit. It was a beautiful day and the views were spectacular. The other amazing run was the last day of camp. Kikkan, Fitz, Becca and I did a 3-hour run from Canyons Resort along the Mid-Mountain Trail all the way to Park City Resort. I think it was roughly 18 miles. The Mid-Mountain Trail is this awesome single-track trail that is about 26 miles long from Canyons all the way to Deer Valley, and the cool thing is that once you get up to it from the base of either resort, it runs at roughly the same elevation across the whole length, so you get these incredible views because you are halfway up the mountain, but you aren’t going up and over peaks.

Untitled 2Girls on the run!

UntitledFitz, me, and Becca overlooking PC on the Mid-Mountain Trail

While I was in Utah, Alaska got some snow and by mid-October there was groomed skiing at Hatcher Pass. After a few rest days post-camp, we transitioned right into skiing and never looked back. The skiing was amazing and thanks to Ed Strabel and the Mat-Su Ski Club for the wonderful grooming! It was a couple more weeks before we got enough snow in Anchorage to ski the trails and though it was still rock skiing and too little to groom, it saved a lot of time and energy not driving to Hatcher. PK also arrived in Alaska at the end of October and trained with APU for a month before we headed down to Montana for the season-opening races in West Yellowstone at Thanksgiving. We had a lot of fun doing trails runs in the dark, skiing at Hatcher and Hillside, chasing moose around, playing pond hockey, and just chilling. I think he liked Alaska enough to want to come back again!

IMG_2374Panorama of Cook Inlet

IMG_2386Wild sunsets

IMG_2393Incredible. Westchester Lagoon. Taken with my iPhone!

IMG_2390

IMG_2462Running in the tunnel was brighter than outside of it.

IMG_2526Once it snowed, the days got brighter! Running through downtown Anchorage.

IMG_2450Excited for my new Rossi boots!

IMG_2429Being the usual ham for the camera. With Rosie at Hatcher Pass on a snowy day.

IMG_2566We had a brief cold spell that necesitated this attractive contraption. Keeps the lungs nice and warm and healthy!

ADN-AKcup-frostyThis was taken in 2011 after a time trial…look familiar?

IMG_2562PK pretending he can ice skate and play pond hockey (because lakes don’t freeze over in Oz)

IMG_2535“Can I help you?”

Anchorage also hosted another Fast & Female event in October and most of us participated as ambassadors, showing girls how to use the Ski Erg machine, doing balance drills, talking about what motivates us and why we love what do, and just having fun and being active with some hard aerobics!

IMG_2235Little girl having fun at the photo station.

IMG_2241Me and Ryann

IMG_2263Having fun with my favorite Dorris girls, Ryann and Lauren!IMG_2234Super Sadie

IMG_2211Abby working the SkiErg!

IMG_2229The girl has balance! She worked the ball for at least 45 minutes!

IMG_2222APU junior girls!

IMG_2207Fitz showing how to rollerski!

The season started with West Yellowstone Super Tours last weekend, and Bozeman Super Tours this weekend. More on those races in the next update after this weekend!!

2013 Drive for 25 – Cross Country

“A Goal is a Dream with a Finish Line”

If you are a fan of American cross country skiing, please consider being a supporter too! There is just ONE WEEK left in the National Nordic Foundation’s “Drive for 25”, a fundraising campaign that supports nearly every American skier in some way or another. The NNF helps fund skiers from the World Cup all the way down to U-16 training camps. I personally have gone on several NNF-funded racing trips and camps, and it makes a huge difference. My goal for the last week of the drive is to garner AT LEAST one donation per day. Whether it’s $10 or $100, your support helps! See below to learn more about the NNF and click on the image to go to my fundraising page for NNF. Thanks for being a part of American Skiing! #skiingnation

2013 Drive for 25 - Cross Country

2013 Drive for 25 – Cross Country.

Ski Racing in Australia!

As promised, the next Australian catch-up installment. After I’d been in AUS for about two weeks, we took a little drive north to Jindabyne, New South Wales for a weekend of racing in Perisher Valley. The drive was around five hours and took us out of the lush green landscape of the valleys around Bright into a more arid and high-desert landscape.

IMG_1652Windy desert

IMG_1724Something on this sign is not like the rest…Can you find it?

IMG_1682Lake Jindabyne

IMG_1691Sunset from our room. Storm’s a-coming.

IMG_0002Stopping to see more kangaroos on the drive…

IMG_1660And then there were even some getting their workouts in at the Sports Center where we were staying in Jindabyne!

IMG_1661

The first few days in Perisher were beautiful and sunny, a welcome relief from the wind, snow, rain and fog of Falls Creek.

IMG_1670Snow-covered gum trees

IMG_1671Pretty cool skiing through this landscape.

Saturday was the Australian National Championships Classic Sprint. The weather held out most of the day, but started spitting some rain/snow mix just as the final heat was about to start…of course. It was a little weird to be racing in August, but it was fun. Since I didn’t really have a lot at stake and the whole atmosphere was so much more low-key than most U.S. races I go to, I was a lot more relaxed. But I also didn’t want to make a fool of myself so I still put it to the line. I was bummed that Esther Bottomley, Australia’s only female World Cup regular and a great sprinter, didn’t race the weekend because of illness. I was hoping for a good sprint battle with her. But at the end of the day, I came away with the win, and that was pretty cool. I can say I am an Australian National Champion! Now I just have to work on that U.S. National title….

IMG_4078Starting one of the heats. (photos by Allison McArdle)

IMG_4083Coming into the finish

IMG_4105Chisa Obayashi (Japan), myself and Jess for the classic sprint podium

The second day was some of the most unpleasant racing I’ve had in a while. A storm blew in during the night, and we drove up to Perisher in weather looking like this:

IMG_1711Think this looks hard to drive in? Try ski racing in it!

The wind was blowing SO hard, around 50mph if I recall correctly. It was so windy that my poles would blow to the side whenever I tried to plant them in the snow. The races were shortened from 10/15km to 5/10km on a 2km loop because of the wind and the snow drifts on the trail. The extent of snow drifting was something I had never seen before on a ski course. Snowdrifts were so high that they became an extra little climb and then a jump off the back of them! Between the drifts and the strong wind, I had a horrible time warming up and during the race I felt like I couldn’t even go hard enough to feel like I was racing because every other pole plant would just blow away. I resorted to skiing WITHOUT using my poles on some of the uphills because it was actually easier and faster than using my poles. Some of the younger kids racing were actually getting blown over by the wind on the more open sections of the course. During my warm-up I was telling little kids to “get low” in the wind because it was lot more stable. And I was telling myself that during my race too. It was ridiculous. It was epic. In the end, Jess beat me by 15 seconds, but I was just happy to get out of there!

IMG_0029Kids bundled up!

IMG_0046It wasn’t that cold but the wind was biting! Not sure why I’m smiling here…I was NOT happy…

IMG_0071Racing

IMG_0077Jess trying to navigate the snowdrifts.

IMG_0096Trying to push through the wind.

IMG_0101Gusts. So fun.

Kangaroo Hoppet Week

The week following Perisher was Hoppet Week! The Kangaroo Hoppet is a 42km marathon ski race, THE premier race in AUS, and is also part of the World Loppet series, so it brings in quite a few racers from around the world as well. The elite field was quite good. Several Russian skiers had been training in Australia, including Alexander Legkov, who is the #1-ranked distance skier in the world, and won the 2013 Tour de Ski and Holmenkollen, and his teammates Ilya and Alexei Chernousov, as well as Marina Chernousova on the women’s side.

Elite night sprints were held Thursday night at Falls Creek Village Bowl. The course was literally a downhill start for 100m into a short 50m uphill on an alpine run that spun a 180, then headed back uphill to the start. It took about 90 seconds and was frantic! It was snowing hard the whole time, and was pretty dark with only a couple lights, so it was quite a whirlwind. Rapid-fire heats of 3 ended the whole event in about 20 minutes, and I came out 2nd to Esther in the end by just half of a ski length and out-lunged Marina. And it won me some cash! Bonus!

IMG_0221Warming up in the snow

IMG_0247Heading out of the start in the final heat.

IMG_0249Night sprints podium

Friday was the last training day before the Hoppet, and boy, did we have crazy good luck on our way down the mountain. After we finished training, we headed down the mountain towards home around 10:30 or 11am, thinking about what skis we were going to wax for the race, what we were going to have for dinner, pondering the weather, etc. Then, about 15 minutes out from Falls (and about an hour from home still!) we rounded a corner and came to a stop. About 8 cars in front of us was a giant pile of rock and rubble from a landslide that had come down and blocked the road only about 45-60 minutes before. Road workers were there and telling everyone that they had to go back up the mountain because it was going to take a few hours before anyone would be able to get through. We kinda grumbled and dawdled, on the hope that they would let us walk past the slide debris and get to a car on the other side to pick us up. Then they decided that it was too unsafe to let anyone walk past it because the hillside was on the verge of sliding again. And then we got lucky. The policeman was just coming over to tell us that we were going to have to spend the night on the mountain because it was going to take all day and night to clear the debris when he got a call on the radio that there was a mom waiting on the other side of the landslide for her kids. “Are you the kids a mom is coming to pick up?” he asked kind of confused because we were all in our 20s and hardly “kids”, but we yelled “YES!” It was Esther’s mom and five of us ran for her car. Literally ran. With ski bags and backpacks. We were the only people to get off the mountain that night. It was incredible. We were SO lucky. We would have been stuck on the mountain without all of our race gear, no change of clothes, no food, and likely slept on a couch or floor of a lodge overrun with hundreds of people that got stuck too. Fortunately, the road workers did amazing work and cleared the road by 7am the next morning and with just a one hour delay, the Hoppet went off without another hitch. Phew.

IMG_2285The landslide at Falls Creek. No small clean-up task!

The day of the Hoppet dawned clear and sunny, which made for a wonderful last day of skiing in Australia. I was pretty nervous at the start, not knowing how I was going to fare. Truthfully, my primary goal was to make it through the whole race without bonking, and I had planned my feeds precisely. The race went much better than I was expecting. The pace was pretty quick from the get-go, and I managed to get dropped by Marina and Chisa after about 5-6km after I fell too far out of the draft on a gradual section. For the next 25-30km or so, I skied solo with a few pulls by some men that either caught me or I caught and drafted for a bit. I was really happy with myself for being able to really push the whole time at a solid threshold pace, with only a couple of slight energy lulls. Even with hour-long threshold workouts throughout the summer, it’s hard to know whether you can sustain it through a nearly-two-hour race. After I passed through the stadium at halfway and started out onto the second lap, I could feel my energy dragging but luckily I had stationed Sue Kovacs just after the lap lane to give me a nice big Coke/energy drink feed mix, and about 10 minutes later I felt waay better and was able to up the pace again. Around the 32km mark, I could see that I was quickly catching someone, and around the 33-34km mark, I caught and passed Chisa. With less than 10km to go I really gave myself a kick in the pants to do my best to leave Chisa behind and really gun it for the finish. I knew I was in second place at that point, and not seeing Marina anywhere within sight ahead of me, I just wanted to keep it. It was really exciting to ski back across the Dam Wall towards the stadium because there were actually a ton of people cheering and I was passing lots of 7k and 21km racers. The finish is a downhill into the stadium and straight across the line, and it felt so good to skid to a stop and hang on my poles. I really wanted to just sit down, but I didn’t think that would look very professional… Plus I wasn’t sure if I would get up again. I proceeded to stuff a cupful of gummy worms and some slightly-unpleasant tasting blue drink into my stomach, and then I was cornered by the emcee for an interview. I don’t remember much of what he asked me except for something about the clothing attire/style of Australian skiers or maybe the lack of clothing, because my response was “Well, I don’t really mind because in a few minutes I probably won’t be wearing much clothing either here, so…” I have no idea what was going through my head to make me say that other than I was sweating profusely in the sun and full black lycra and a fleece headband. But I do know that I was a pretty happy girl that afternoon, although pretty useless for a few hours until I had lunch and a nap.

IMG_0261 Thank you PK for being a fantastic wax tech 🙂

IMG_0264Pretty glad I put on that sunscreen…saw a lot of red faces later that day, but not mine!

IMG_0305Didgeridoo start!

IMG_0326And we’re off

Kangaroo-Hoppet13 Skiing past kangaroo signs

IMG_0344Tucking into the finish…it’s like you get to finish at the top of the hill!

IMG_0345With Jess (4th) after the race

IMG_0350Happy post-race chillin’ w/PK

IMG_0367Flower ceremony

IMG_0375Thanks to Falls Creek and the Birkebeiner Ski Club for a great race! I’ll be back to win it someday soon 🙂

Australian Winter Fun

Australian Winter Fun

While I was in Australia, the two internet cables that run under the ocean from America and feed the whole island continent’s internet needs got attacked by too many bottom-feeding sea creatures and thus there was no way to access the “World Wide Web” while I was away. JUST KIDDING. The rest of my trip was just as fun as the first few days I posted about earlier. In order to save you from reading a freaking book here, I am going to divide the trip into a couple of posts and photos. This post is about my first couple weeks, training and having fun. The subsequent post will be race recaps of Australian Nationals and the Kangaroo Hoppet, as well as some photos from my mini beach/farm vacation post-races. I will also add a photo gallery with a lot more photos than what I put in the posts if you want to see more of my trip. 

The first couple of weeks consisted mainly of recovering from jet lag, training, learning to drive on the left side of the road and just hanging out at PK’s house. Firstly, I want to thank Sue and Geza Kovacs for being such amazing hosts and letting me into your home and lives for an entire month and treating me like part of the family. You were great! I can’t wait to come back next year.

I suffered pretty severe jetlag for several days when I first got to Australia. I don’t know if it was so much travel, the drastic time change (18 hours ahead), or what, but I was pretty messed up. My stomach was topsy-turvy for a few days and I would get tired at really odd times. I kept the training light for a few days and when I started feeling better I was able to resume normal training hours.

Snow fell in some shape or form pretty much every day, accumulating slowly but surely. However, most shapes or forms were WET. “Snow” would be a loose description of what appeared. “Sleet”, “white rain”, “wintery-mix” would be more appropriate terms, and “shitting”, “blowing”, “sideways”, and “condensation” would be more appropriate terms to describe how it actually ended up on the ground, rather than “falling”. Let’s just go ahead and say that “winter” has a much broader definition than I previously thought. I was reassured (as if it would help) that it was one of the wettest winters on record. Nonetheless, I had some great training and really did enjoy myself most of the time. My coach, Erik, has a favorite saying when the weather is gross and it’s tempting to stay inside and take a nap: “It’s a championship day outside, guys! Let’s go train!” His theory is that more often than not, big important races take place in nasty weather, and it’s crucial to not let that affect your racing. If you’ve trained yourself through the worst weather Mother Nature can throw at you, then you will be prepared for anything come race day: wind, hail or high water (because let’s be honest, wet race days are becoming more common). So, I guess in the end, all the less-than-perfect weather was actually perfect for training the mind to be ready for it.

I also was fortunate enough to have a training partner! Jessica Yeaton, who skied high school in Anchorage and now skis at Montana State U, was also down there training and racing, so it was great to have someone other than the boys to ski with!

sTypical view on a training day. Hard to tell how wet it actually is, although you can see how much the tree branches are bending over.

IMG_1549Proof that I was really skiing in Australia!

IMG_1533Jess and me at Falls Creek with some clearing skies

IMG_1594A clear day on the Bogong High Plains, skiing up high! It really was spectacular.

Falls Creek is actually up on the Bogong High Plains, so it was a bit of a drive from PK’s house down in the valley in Bright. The drive was a crazy winding road, twisting and turning every 20 seconds, enough to make the toughest stomach turn over. I definitely felt a bit queasy several times. Given the distance and changing geography over the two passes between Falls Creek and Bright, the weather could be dramatically different. Fortunately, some of our days off were beautiful weather and we took advantage to do some local adventures.

IMG_1751Gotta watch out for those ‘roos on skis! They’ll mess ya up.

IMG_9851Mt. Buffalo framed by flowering wattle. Wattle is the Australian national flower and the origin of the “green and gold” national colors. It’s quite pretty and bright.

IMG_9908“Lady Bath Falls” partway up Mt. Buffalo

IMG_9887Standard pose with an epic view

IMG_9958Sunset over the mountains

IMG_0991Another view from the top of Mt. Buffalo. This was at the end of the trip, so more spring-like weather.

IMG_0958Climbing around on Mt. Buffalo

 I saw tons of new wildlife while I was in Australia. It was incredible how many unique animals there are to Australia. 

IMG_0923Trying to entice a parrot to feed out of my mug in PK’s yard. 

IMG_0947Success!! 

IMG_0901

IMG_0903Parrot’s mate with more red on the breast

IMG_0167Kookaburra was NOT sitting in a gum tree. I usually saw them on posts actually.

IMG_0854Black swans!

IMG_0871Pink and grey Galahs (cockatoos)

IMG_0012Big nasty spider: a Huntsman

IMG_0141Emus! (properly pronounced ee-miu, NOT ee-moo)

IMG_0152An adorable little echidna on the side of the road

IMG_1641And of course, more kangaroos!

IMG_1662Kangaroo print!