After four weeks of working really hard at finishing summer school, and training my butt off- I got to have the little "play hard" break at home with my family last week. I was in the Methow for only five days earlier this summer, so it was great to be able to sneak another one week break down to the valley. It never seems like enough, but it sure does keep me going!

Love seeing these guys!!
Home, sweet home!
Playing hard in the Methow is always a little different each time. This past week I spent a lot more time in the mountains than I have in a while- and quickly fell back in love with the valley. My parents and I headed up to the North Cascades one day to a familiar childhood mountain pass trail. I found it amazing how even just the smells in the mountains remind me of my childhood and so many good memories! I really am convinced the small valley that I grew up in offers some of the best training in the world for a Cross Country Skier!
Running with Dad
I'm on top of the world, hey!
Mom and Dad, looking over Glacier Peak
The thing I appreciate most about my dad- he always has a smile on his face!! He works harder than anyone I know, and at the end of the day, he will always be smiling!!
There are some awesome trails in these mountains!
Spending summers in Alaska for the past four years means that I have lost a great deal of heat tolerance. I used to make fun of the Alaskans who came down to the lower 48 for camps and were affected by heat exhaustion when it was only mid 80's…. had they never been in the heat before? Well…. to my surprise, I have developed this problem myself. As I headed out on the roads for roller skiing in this last week  - I found myself drowning in heat, always needing to finish my workout at some body of cold water. A few sun bumps later… I managed to survive, and hopefully worked on getting my tolerance back.
Diving into a snow melted lake after a long run.
Warm times on the road with the best training partner!! (MVSTA photo)
Looking out over the valley.

This summer has been a unique and devastating one for the Methow Valley. It all started with a small fire started by lighting, and developed into a massive fire, taking down 300 houses, putting the power out for nearly two weeks, and devastating many of the wonderful families of the Methow Valley. The "poor luck" continued as new fires started with new storms, ten more houses burned down, more storms, mud slides, more storms, more small fires, more storms, houses washing down the river…. one thing after another. Suddenly a town that thrives on the business that summer tourists bring is put in a state of need. Wonderful families are left with no homes, no belongings, and even houses covered in mud. It was heartbreaking to drive into the valley and see the miles and miles of burnt property, sometimes, just chimneys standing on the property. What I have concluded is that someone from above is testing this small valley. While it is a time of challenge, it was nice to see how the valley has come together and helped each other! As I told some of my family friends who lost their home; someone from above is throwing lemons down at you, testing how many you can stuff in your bra and keep running. Hopefully they will catch a break, and they will be able to recover from such a tough one!

One of my close friends from growing up, Hillary Ketchum, had the cutest little baby boy. Kaley and I dressed him up in pink undies just so he can hate us when he gets older and looks at the pics :)
Spending some time with Rita Kenny, the owner of Winthrop Mountain Sports, the local sports star. This woman has been wonderful to our family since the very first time I bought a pair of skis. It is safe to say she has taught me nearly everything I know about cross country skis! We love her!

I am headed back to Alaska now for one more training chunk before our final National Team camp in Park City before the season starts. As I start making Christmas plans, thinking about racing schedules; I can't believe the summer has already flown by. It has been an amazing one- but I can't say I am ready for the chilly mornings to start coming! I guess that is part of it though- time will always fly!
Playing dress up with my Grandma! Wish I could see all my family more, but any amount is amazing!! 
(Reese Hanneman photo)
On another note, I am really excited to announce I will be racing on Fischer Boots, so the Fischer Complete Package next year!!