Kayaking the Apostle Islands

September 24, 2009


The True Adventures Apostle Islands Crew

The True Adventures Apostle Islands Crew

We did a True Adventures trip to the Apostle Islands in Lake Superior for a very long weekend last weekend.  I have to say it was one of my favorite trips in recent memory.  The scenery and location were really special, the people were great, trip went smoothly, weather was absolutely ideal (sunny and low 80s), and not a mosquito to be found.  Really spectacular.

Read the rest of this entry »


Everybody Loves a Lake House – Coldwater Michigan

July 9, 2009

Went to a lake house in Michigan last weekend.  Michigan is a beautiful state and has lots of lakes and subsequently lots of lake houses, which I love.  It’s always so relaxing, such great food, fun for everybody.  Swimming, kayaking, waterskiing, tubing, wakeboarding, cruising around on a pontoon boat, partying…  grilling out, people show up and leave whenever, totally laid back and cool.  Read the rest of this entry »

Canoeing “Le Diable” in Quebec, Mount Tremblant National Park

June 16, 2009

Went to Mount Tremblant National Park in Quebec over the weekend (mid June).  Very beautiful area, big stone cliffs on the two hour drive north from Montreal.  Many ski runs carved through the trees on the mountainsides as we drove north.  The trip was a fairly last minute deal with three buddies, all friends since age five or so.  One of us is a doctor, Spencer, and is in Montreal for the summer learning a new procedure.  Wayne and I flew in to meet him, I met with a couple guys I do some work with in the city, then we were off to the woods and streams and mountains north of the city.  We were late (for our 8pm shuttle to the wilderness) as always seems to be the case when travelling with Spencer, Read the rest of this entry »

2008 What a Year in Adventure-ness

December 30, 2008

Reflecting on the adventurous aspects of 2008…  One of the best ever for me second only to 2000 when I travelled the world for 6.5 months.  This year I was so fortunate.  Five foreign countries, two new mountains climbed, fourth Chicago to Mackinac sailing race, surfing, skiing…  I must list all the adventures and trips I was lucky enough to participate in this past year, and be so grateful for the opportunities I was blessed with.

  1. Elwha Trail hike in the Olympic Mountains West of Seattle with four good buddies.
  2. The 100th running of the Chicago to Mackinac Sailing race, on a J120 named Valkyrie, placed well in our class, finished in around 55 hours.
  3. Cruised the North Channel of Lake Huron on a 38 foot Ericson sailboat owned by my parents with a highlight being Topaz lake.
  4. Nantucket Massachusetts for several days with my oldest friend Spencer and his family, driving on the beach, catching bluefish from the shore, enjoying old friends, meeting my namesake, Cormac Thomas Carney
  5. Upstate New York at my girlfriend’s grandparents’ “camp”, waterskiing, kayaking, mountain biking, swimming.
  6. Climbing the highest point in New York State, Mt Marcy, ticking off the 12th state high point on my quest to do all 50 of them.
  7. Jamaica for work, Kingston.
  8. Cayman Islands to visit my cousin Megan for a few days.
  9. Jazzfest in New Orleans for a bachelor party
  10. Numerous mountain biking excursions around Chicago
  11. Numerous sailing parties on my boat, a 28 foot Ericson christened the Imjatse after a Nepalese mountain I climbed.
  12. Rock climbing in Red River gorge, Kentucky
  13. Rock climbing at Mississppi Palisades twice
  14. Summiting Mt Belford, a 14,000 foot mountain in Colorado, then sleeping in a bivy sack on its flanks overnight in about 15 degrees.
  15. Pilgrimage to the original Chipotle in Denver
  16. 35 person white water rafting trip sponsored by the adventure ministry I run at church, running class III and IV rapids.
  17. Kayaking the Vermilion River in very high, fast water.
  18. Costa Rica!  Staying at my friend’s resort, surfing, jungle hikes, four-wheeling.
  19. Talon’s Challenge at Vail, skiing thirteen black and double black runs in a single day with a reward of a free beer and a free hat.
  20. Skiing at Aspen with the family
  21. Moving my friend’s sailboat 200 miles down the intracoastal waterway from Norfolk to Beaufort NC, just my father and I.
  22. Two winter attempts of Mt Humphries, the tallest mountain in Arizona, each a failure, but getting closer and I lived to climb another day.
  23. Thanksgiving in Boston
  24. Ten person caving trip that I led through Buckner’s cave in Southern Indiana.
  25. Ski trip to Wausau Wisconsin and Granite Peak Resort.
  26. Raced the Cohasset Triathlon
  27. 40+ person sea kayaking trip led by my group

What a wonderful year, with lots of love and great relationships started, nourished, and deepened during all these adventures and trips. 

I have to give a lot of credit for this year to Tim  Ferriss, author of The Four Hour Workweek for his writings and inspiration to live like this – thanks much Tim and all the best to everybody in 2009.  I always wanted to live like this but never knew anybody who did – I didn’t think it was really possible until I read Tim’s stuff and embarked upon the adventure.  Inspirational.  This year has been the best to date for my business, relationships, and adventures and experiences.  I hope for an even better 2009 and hope for the same for everybody.  I have to copy some of Tim’s stuff from a mentor of his here  – good food for thought:

“While many are wringing their hands, I recall the 1970s when we were suffering from an oil shock causing long lines at gas stations, rationing, and 55 MPH speed limits on Federal highways, a recession, very little venture capital ($50 million per year into VC firms), and, what President Jimmy Carter (wearing a sweater while addressing the Nation on TV because he had turned down the heat in the White House) called a “malaise”. It was during those times that two kids without any real college education, Bill Gates and Steve Jobs, started companies that did pretty well. Opportunities abound in bad times as well as good times. In fact, the opportunities are often greater when the conventional wisdom is that everything is going into the toilet.

Well…we’re nearing the end of another great year, and, despite what we read about the outlook for 2009, we can look forward to a New Year filled with opportunities as well as stimulating challenges.”

Kayaking, trying to get my Roll

July 31, 2008

Went kayaking last night with a friend in Lake Michigan, Montrose Harbor.  We went in river kayaks, same guy I went with a few months ago.  The idea was to get my roll down.  Now I have to tell you it is scary when you are upside down under water, can’t breathe (obviously) and can’t get up easily.  At first he stood there and helped me and I did fine.  But then we went out into deeper water.  If you can’t roll you are supposed to just sit there upside down and run your hands alongside your boat, your partner runs his boat into yours and you grab it and flip up, in theory.  Didn’t work fast enough as I would nearly panic, seeing stars after I was righted.  Panic is never good in any situation so I worked on it until the panic subsided.  Eventually I got more comfortable with it and was able to roll up on my own fairly consistently, though still need some work to get it more solid.

Triathlon with an Olympian, Nantucket Fish Haul, Mount Marcy Climb

July 9, 2008

Just took a week long vacation – haven’t done that in a few years.  It was action packed.  Started by flying into Boston and eating at Lisa’s folks – they always make amazing dinners – had pasta for us Saturday night in preparation for the Cohasset Triathlon on Sunday.  My good buddy from age five, Bill Burnett, puts it on, and what an amazing job he does.  This year Jarrod Shoemaker (representing the USA in the triathlon in Beijing!) and 900 other people raced it, including a number of elite competitors.  Jarrod beat me.  In just two years it’s become a huge deal in the northeast.  They had a giant stage and all sorts of gear and food available.  Super foggy and a heavy surf in the morning but they did the swim anyways, which added that much more difficulty to it.  I finished on a mountain bike, next year I’ll get a real bike, though I’ve said that for the last 8 triathlons I’ve done and never have.

Wayne and I before the Cohasset Triathlon

Wayne and I before the Cohasset Triathlon

The next day we left for Natucket to stay with my very close family friends the Carneys in their beautiful home in the town of Nantucket, overlooking the harbor – such a nice place.  But boo, it’s on the market, bummer.  My best bud Spencer was there with his kids, including new baby Cormac Thomas – named after me!  How cool is that?  2 months old, and amazing.  Also his older sister Daley, who at three is super fun to hang out with.  Went out to a super nice dinner at Orin Moore’s with Spence, Sue, Lisa and I, highlight was when the waiter brought a french press and pushed down on it at the table, spraying coffee and grounds all over the table and putting out the candle – we found it hilarious, the head waiter not so much.  Went sailing several times on their Rhodes 19 in Nantucket harbor and through the cut in the jetties to the open ocean, a little sketchy coming back in but fortunately the tide had shifted in our favor.  And a highlight was driving out on the beach on Coatue and surfcasting – we caught four huge bluefish!  I can never get over how you can stand on the beach up to your ankles in water and take this giant rod, cast out a huge lure, and reel in these 4 or 5 pound (guessing) fish.  Plus the added bonus of driving on the beach which is always a good time.  Letting the air out of the tires first so they are somewhat flat is fun too.

Fish in hand

Fish in hand


After Nantucket we went to Lisa’s grandparent’s place in upstate New York, on Indian Lake.  A terrific two houses they have, on the water next to each other, a bunch of waterfront  with docks, ski boat, swim platform, rowboat, kayaks, canoe, and sunfish.  And over the course of five days we used them all!  Taught Lisa to sail one day which I expect will do wonders for her confidence on my boat here in Chicago – so much easier to “get” sailing on a small boat.  Swam every day and showered and shaved zero days – just an “Adirondack shower” in the lake each day.  So fun.  For the 4th we went and climbed Mt Marcy – 3200 feet or so of elevation gain, 7.2 miles up and 7.2 miles down – it took us 4 hours up and I couldn’t believe it, but also four hours down.  Weird.  The last couple hours seemed to take forever.  The summit was really beautiful, above tree line so huge views, 360 degrees.  Count it as my 12th state high point! 

Nearing the Summit of Mt Marcy

Nearing the Summit of Mt Marcy

Actually quite incredible fireworks that night on the lake for such a small town – we took the rowboat and speedboat out to watch.  The next night I went on about an hour long mountain bike ride around Indian Lake, which is no small feat considering the trails are for snowmobiles not bikes – and are overgrown and mosquito infested and swampy in places.  Kevin, Lisa’s uncle, was in better shape and kicked my butt up the hills – one particularly long one – tough to train for that kind of stuff in Chicago.  Was a blast, and really cool and pretty.  A interesting aside – at one trail intersection in the middle of nowhere out in the woods there were advertisements on the trees for bars, hotels, restaurants, etc – for the snowmobilers.  Was something I’d never seen before.

Managed to chop a whole bunch of wood for Lisa’s grandfather, he appreciated it and I enjoyed the physical labor.  Small repayment for such incredible hospitality and relentlessly delicious meals, one after the other.

Got back late Monday night, tired but refreshed.  I need to figure out how to do more and longer trips!  Actually in a couple weeks we have the Mac race and then a few days sailing in the North Channel with my folks – so good stuff.

Kayaking the Vermilion River

June 19, 2008

Went kayaking on the Vermillion River here in Illinois a couple weeks ago on a Thursday.  Was amazing, especially considering it was only a couple hours outside of Chicago.  Went with a friend I met on the rafting trip in Wisconsin who had an extra kayak for me to borrow.  Class 2 and easier class three rapids – the river was running high and fast.  The start was into some fairly fast-flowing water – took some courage, but all was well.  Turned out I never actually went over, which impressed me.  The boat I had was very stable, and I’ve been a few times before out in colorado so wasn’t a total newbie.  I really enjoyed it after I calmed down.  Was fun to get out and walk the rapids before we ran them in the boats.  I’m pretty excited to go again.  I never did get up the courage to try a roll, even with Pete there to help.  Next time I’ll do it.  There was a very cool canyon up into Matheson state Park – felt like Venezuela or something – very overgrown, 30-40 foot high cliffs on both sides, we paddled slowly up the standing creek.  Quite cool.  Can’t wait to go back.  Met a guy who canoed a river called the Bureau – I’d like to try that one of these days.