Monday, April 25, 2016

From Winter To Mud: Spring in Driggs

It's been longer than usual since my last blog entry, for a variety of reasons - but I'm back at it. And I'll continue with this thing.

Going back to February: in the mountains of Idaho, many winter days are like this...

...and then slowly, the snow becomes rain & sleet & wind, with intermittent sunshine, and here we are in mud season. It's still not brilliant summer, but we have weathered another big winter in these parts, and that always counts for something.

After 21 years in Teton Valley, I can say with confidence that no two winters are the same - or any other season, for that matter. What made this winter different from many others is that we didn't have a big meltdown in mid-December or mid-January; the storms just kept coming every week, and the snow steadily piled up. Backcountry skiing was terrific, and so was nearly every other form of recreation.

Pedaling the snowbike (or, fatbike to all you newbies) around on county roads was awesome, as always. A quick lunch ride from home takes me to this spot & back, and clears my head better than a sandwich ever can. I just eat at my desk the rest of the afternoon.

For a late winter dose of the evasive Vitamin D, there's nothing like a journey to the desert. After months of snow, it feels like a whole different world - and is so good for the soul.

Thanks to my buddy PNut in Tucson, I even managed to get back on a horse after nearly 5 years. It felt great.

There was also some stellar mountain biking on the Arizona Trail. Ahh, singletrack.

Plus hikes like this one in the radiant Pima Canyon.

And then, after a lot of driving...back home to late winter in Teton Valley. It could be worse. 

Trees have now blossomed in lower elevation Idaho cities like Boise, Twin Falls & Pocatello. I'm fortunate to travel around Idaho for work sales this time of year, and it's so nice to experience real spring conditions in those neighboring places.

Meanwhile, here in the Driggs high country, deer & elk are following the receding snowline higher up into the hills each day.

The grass is getting greener...

...and soon we'll be back on Idaho singletrack, like this. 

There have been some singular snowy memories these past few months, and it's great to relive them in photos. But now I'm ready to be warm again.  

Until then, happy Mud Season - er, Spring! 

Saturday, January 30, 2016

A Real Teton Valley, Idaho Winter

It's been a while since we've had a good old fashioned winter here in Driggs. Sure, there have been a few solid snowstorms in recent years...but too often they're followed by bizarre warm spells, weeks of high pressure, and even (gasp) rain. This winter, however, is turning into the real deal.

We've eased into it one storm at a time - with no thaws or rain or extended high pressure - and suddenly, voila: it's deep out there. A fatbike ride out in Horseshoe Canyon earlier this week revealed some downright deep snowbanks.

Appropriately, the 5th Annual Teton Valley Snowfest is wrapping up this weekend in downtown Driggs. It's been fun to watch the event grow each year, with activities like skijoring (below),

nordic races, backcountry ski films, snowplane rallies, kids crafts, sled dog stage racing, and my favorite - "snowscapes" ice sculptures.

This is my 21st winter in Teton Valley.  I learned long ago that a key to thriving during the long, cold, and dark months is to get out & play in the white stuff. Whatever your thing is - skiing, snowmobiling, fatbiking, snowshoeing, ice fishing, hockey, winter running - you simply need to get out there and do it. Just an hour or two of adventure in these mountains warms the soul and makes subsequent couch time that much sweeter.

Early winter soon became Christmastime, and the holidays were classic. Snow, friends (thanks for the snowshoe hike Kevin & Deb!), family, adventure...

...and reflecting on what it all really means.

I made it down to SLC for a couple of days to connect with family & friends there, too. A snowbike ride in Park City with longtime buddy BK was a definite highlight.

As Christmas turned to New Year's, I was back in Driggs...and it got really cold. The afternoons were beautiful though, and I was able to enjoy some Teton magic with good friends Hank & Karen on a New Year's Day snowshoe outing - a happy start to 2016.

Then, there was an escape to Hawaii and tropical weather. I won't say too much because we've got a lot of winter left...but wow, it was warm.

OK, one more.

Back in Teton Valley, Romeo doesn't care what season it is. He just gets after it.

And so does Bridger.

In the end: whatever your hobbies and wherever your travels, here's to enjoying the season - and the sunsets.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Late Fall in Driggs: Simply The Best

We've had some spectacular Falls during my two decades here in Teton Valley, Idaho, but this year was one of the best. Colorful, calm, warm, and cool; beckoning adventure & reflection at once. This end-of-October sunrise was typical - not a bad way to wake up.

There was a lot of good travel in November. A trip to New York to see Melissa run the NYC Marathon kicked off the month.

I've been around some big events over the years, but this one took the cake, by far. 50,000+ runners and their friends & family, plus millions of Manhattanites = a sea of humanity. The vibe was incredible, and Melissa rocked it.

I was also happy to spend some quality time with my brother Curt and his family during the NYC trip. They have lived just outside "the city" for over a decade now - a little different than livin' in Driggs. It's been a good life for them, and his four kids are awesome. I wish I could see them more often, because they're growing up fast.

Then it was a work conference in Boise, where I was able to hang out with my dad. He's a legend in the asphalt industry, and still doin it. It never really feels like work when I'm around him.

Snowstorms started rolling through Driggs, and the transition to winter began.

My nephew Corbin - Mark's boy, down in SLC - turned 5. I figure it's time to begin the Idaho indoctrination, and sent him a shirt accordingly. I see a trip to Driggs in his near future.

Snowbiking, now referred to as "fatbiking" in the popular lexicon, has been epic as always around Teton Valley these past few weeks. The sport has grown exponentially in recent years, and the greater Driggs-Victor-Jackson area is a mecca. Hundreds of miles of groomed snowmobile trails, countless snow-covered dirt roads, plus groomed snowy singletrack up at Grand Targhee makes an unbeatable combination. Bridger & Romeo love it, too.

Early winter snow hiking is another favorite of mine. It's a nice chance to get high up into the Tetons before skis or snowshoes are necessary, and simply enjoy the serenity.

Annual work meetings in Salt Lake City were a great occasion to catch up with younger brother Mark. We saw a scintillating Jazz-Warriors game that came down to the last second, and then buckled down to business.

Back in the home neighborhood, and the iconic antlers at Town Square in Jackson Hole: it's looking & feeling like winter.

Happy Holidays, and let it snow!

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Rolling With The Seasons, and Years

You turn around, Summer has become Fall...and you're turning 50. Which also means over twenty years of living in Driggs & Teton Valley, Idaho. Moving here is still one of the best decisions I've ever made.

Fall, like aging, brings visible change. But it's good...and those colors!

I had some work close to home last month - like within a few hundred yards of my house. I'm not sure which was best: the project, or the Teton scenery? Indian Summer simply rocks.

I've also enjoyed some time with good old Bridger dog. He likes being outside as much as I do.

Meanwhile, our Driggs/Jackson high school mountain bike team (and therefore me, as a coach) attended races all over Idaho the past couple of months, this one just north of Sun Valley. Such a great scene!

I did a couple more races of my own, too. JayP's 60-mile Gravel Pursuit up in Island Park was awesome, and MooseCross CycloCross in Victor was simultaneously intense, short, sweet, painful, and fun.

A combo work/fun trip to Chicago also allowed for some good time with my brother Mark. The lakefront city views are incredible.

And then a highlight of my year: a Cubs playoff game, with great people, against the rival Cardinals...which Chicago won! I expect to see them in the World Series next year.

There was nice Fall weekend backyard camping with Melissa & Romeo, too. Turns out tents are ideally suited for napping.

And of course, fishing. It centers me.

Here's to a few more good seasons & decades...of everything: mountains, water, work, scenery, and love - changing, growing, living.