Today: John Storkamp, who through his business Rocksteady Running directs a series of popular trail races in Minnesota: from the Endless Summer Trail races to the Superior Hiking Trail ultras in spring and fall. He also is an accomplished ultramarathoner.


I just finished “Fatal Passage: The Story of John Rae, the Arctic Hero Time Forgot” by Ken McGoogan. Sir Raymond Priestley, Antarctic explorer and geologist, famously once said, “For scientific discovery give me Scott; for speed and efficiency of travel give me Amundsen; but when disaster strikes and all hope is gone, get down on your knees and pray for Shackleton.” After reading about the exploits and achievements of John Rae, I would add “to truly thrive in the Arctic, give me John Rae.” I had heard it before, but it never registered until reading this book: Roald Amundsen cites Rae as one of his biggest influences, and if you know anything about Amundsen, that says something.


The explosion of interest in trail and ultrarunning, and thinking about the deeper motivations behind it and implications of it. Zooming out beyond running, I think there is a movement of people wanting to explore our natural world in new and interesting ways, while trying to fit it in with busy work and family lives. Strangely enough, I think some of this interest is fueled by technology, our constant connectivity via our devices. It gives us the ability to see what our peers are up to and that inspires us to do the same. I find this heartening — anything that gets people out and moving under their own steam in nature is good by me.


I am staying tuned to the online sources tracking the beginning of the Antarctica expedition season. Minnesota native Eric Larsen will attempt to break the speed record from Hercules Inlet to the South Pole, while Lou Rudd and Colin O’Brady are separately seeking to become the first individuals ever to ski solo and unsupported from the Ronne Ice Shelf, through the South Pole, to the Ross Ice Shelf — completely crossing the Antarctic peninsula.


I have been really enjoying Henry Rollin’s (Black Flag/Rollin’s Band frontman) weekly radio show on KCRW (Los Angeles public radio/NPR affiliate). He spins two hours of rock, punk, new wave, dark wave, experimental, avant-garde and more. He digs deep into the crates and routinely exposes me to music I have never heard. Not easy to do.


I am planning for winter adventures (the most wonderful time of the year): I am training to compete in my 14th Arrowhead 135 winter ultramarathon (foot division), which races at the end of January from International Falls to Tower. More exciting, however, I am training for and planning a self-supported ski trip with a couple of buddies through the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, originating on the shore of Lake Superior at Grand Portage and traveling to Ely, covering around 150 miles of some of the most remote country in the state during the coldest time of year. We will set off sometime around the new year, lake ice/slush conditions contingent.