Thursday, August 24, 2017

Spring, Summer, and the Great Eclipse In Teton Valley

On August 21, we experienced what might have been the biggest event in Driggs history: a Total Solar Eclipse. Build-up and preparations began over two years ago throughout Teton Valley, including the towns of Tetonia & Victor, plus nearby Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Forecasts of over 100,000 visitors didn't seem to quite materialize, but the entire region was definitely crowded - I even saw a few folks on the trails.

As for the event itself: it blew away expectations. I've seen some incredible sights over the years, especially here in Teton Country...but nothing compared to this. From high up in the Big Hole Mountains west of Driggs, on a knoll I knew would provide unobstructed & quiet views, I watched it all unfold. As totality approached and the sky grew dark, there was complete stillness accompanied by a power that was palpable. Insects, butterflies, and birds all ceased their movements in the minutes before; the wind completely stopped; and suddenly, all focus was on the halo surrounding a dark moon - the sun's corona.

It was like looking into the soul of the universe, while the horizon was aglow with a 360-degree midday sunset.  I found myself howling and then crying, and could hear a few others doing the same from surrounding peaks in the hills. Totality was two-minutes, which felt like ten-seconds, and left an impression that will last a lifetime. I now understand why people chase Eclipses.


From that once-in-a-lifetime experience, it's tough going back to pickup where my blog left off in late winter. This is the longest I've ever gone between posts - life, work, being in a funk, and simply falling out of the habit - but I'm not giving up on this thing and will give it a shot with a few of my favorite photos & memories from the intervening 6 months. Like an eclipse, it's almost all a blur at this point.

There was a trip to the desert - all the way to Tucson.

An epic hike with cousin & nephews in Zion's Park.

Spring bike rides with Doug & James, near Boise.

Golf with longtime buddy Cole. 

A spring work seminar with dad and brother Mark.

An Ironman 70.3 in St. George, with good friends & my cousin Wade, plus great support from my sister there. Then learning I'd been dealing with a torn hamstring for several months.

Frequent rainbows in Driggs, as deep high country snowpack lingered well into June.

Pole Canyon with Gene, mid-June. He obviously wanted a better view. 

Being involved with the Teton Region Composite Mountain Bike team was a highlight again this summer.

My little house - base camp for 5+ years now - still feels good.

Mom & dad visited over the 4th of July, and devoured some huckleberry milkshakes in Victor.

I won my age division at the local Pierre's Hole 50k mountain bike race again this year, up at Grand Targhee. Such an awesome event, and it just keeps growing. 

As summer winds down in paradise: Teton Valley has become busier, like it was ten years ago - but it feels less speculative and more sustainable these days. So I appreciate serene moments like this, and the farming that continues amidst such grand mountain scenery & recreation...for now. 

Monday, February 27, 2017

Driggs Winter Musings

Several times in the last few weeks, people from way outside Teton Valley, Idaho have asked about my blog & when I'll be doing another post. I've had a bad case of life & blog inertia this winter, but finally feel motivated to get this Livin' in Driggs train rolling again.

What a winter it has been. Fall was so brilliant & long that not many of us were expecting record snowfall in Idaho this year...but it has happened. Boise, Twin Falls, Ketchum, Stanley, Burley, Pocatello, Challis, Idaho Falls, Montpelier, and everywhere in between has been absolutely hammered. City & county snow removal crews have been working almost non-stop since mid-December, roads have been treacherous, and avalanche incidents have been downright scary. Suffice it to say that reservoirs will be full this summer, and spring flooding could be significant throughout southern Idaho. Fingers are crossed for a gradual warm-up.

The upside of being buried in snow is incredible backcountry skiing, snowshoeing, snowmobiling, snowboarding...and anything else with "snow" involved. The downside: driving, shoveling, walking, and not much color beyond gray & white. 

I am fortunate to have a job that allows me to work remotely during a portion of the winter months - I just need a high-speed connection & a good frame of mind. So, I've headed south to thaw-out a couple of times, and it has been awesome...but re-growing a winter coat upon returning is a challenge. I'm still debating what the best long-term winter strategy really is. 

Meanwhile, a Teton Valley "winter in photos" recap:

Dinner with siblings, nieces & nephews in West Yellowstone over the holidays.

Teton Canyon fatbiking - I mean, those views!

Henderson Canyon snowshoeing, with my good longtime friend Mac. 

Cross-country skiing at Teton Springs.

Snowbiking on Grand Targhee's stellar groomed trails.

And of course, some colorful sunsets.

Here's to the home stretch. Days are getting longer, baseball spring training has started, March Madness is right around the corner...and soon we'll be seeing some green around here. 

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Idaho Summer: A Magic Carpet Ride

One day it's the Summer Solstice, and you've just done an Ironman even though you can't really swim or run...and then the magnificence of summer in Idaho envelops you like a fairy tale, and you ride the magic carpet of warm sunny days, rushing trout-filled creeks, solitary singletrack on high mountain passes, music in parks, cool nights with the Milky Way so vivid you can feel its timelessness, floating on crystal clear alpine lakes, shorts & sandals & sunscreen, family & friends & love...and smoke from fires, which simply reminds you that it's not all a dream.You're living in Driggs.

Where to begin? On a high alpine lake in the Sawtooths - for real.

I helped coach our local Teton Composite middle & high school mountain bike team again this year. What a great experience, and the circle is growing! 

Melissa & Romeo doing the dual SUP thing, on Palisades reservoir. Idyllic. 

A late-June lunch hour, Teton Valley style. I'm pretty sure Julie Andrews was singing in the background. 

Sun Valley golf, with brothers & nephews. The scenery surpassed my skills, for sure. 

Did I mention mountain biking yet? Simply stellar. 

Family ice skating at the iconic Sun Valley lodge. No one got hurt, which is always a bonus. 

On the work side, I oversaw a lot of this - all over Idaho. 

There has been good time spent in Boise, too. Loving the water, warmth, trails & trees. 

Now that I'm in the Old Guy division, I've grabbed a couple of 1st Place mountain bike race finishes. I'm most proud of this one: the Pierre's Hole 50K back in August, right here at Grand Targhee. 

Finally crossed off the bucket list item of a Boise State football game! They won their home opener, and haven't lost since. 

My garage project has lasted all summer & fall...go figure. But it will definitely be nice.

The annual Star Valley bike ride with my brother Curt & friends was as beautiful as ever. I finally lost my Salt River Pass KOM to M-Russ, but he is a worthy heir. 

There was more - much more - but now it's time to slow things down a bit, take in the fall colors, and enjoy some Oktoberfesting in Idaho. Cheers!

Saturday, July 9, 2016

The Onset of Summer, and Driggs Adventures

Like mountain thunderstorms, Idaho tumbleweeds and windblown desert sand, the weeks & months pass on by - some faster, better and more memorable than others. But they roll on, inexorably.

It's been too long between posts, again. In the meantime: snow melted, gray became green, creeks filled, and days grew longer. Ahh, summer in the mountains.

Things like golf also start happening in the high country. My nephews Blake & Tyler showed me how it's done.

Singletrack emerges.

Triathlons transpire.

Hiking season begins.

And it's so sweet coming home to Teton Valley this time of year.

Can you say summer sunsets?

Great rides with good friends.

Rad Romeo dog.

Helping awesome kids learn to ride & race.

Work occurs in beautiful places.

And then: the iconic Coeur d'Alene Ironman 70.3, which I was fortunate to do with several good friends plus my cousin Tyson. I wouldn't recommend having an infected tooth pulled 36 hours before the start...but all's well that ends well :)

Race day was beautiful, tough...and I finished under my time goal. Ironman truly does an event like no one else.

Now it's time to recover for a while, and simply enjoy mid-summer perfection in the Tetons.