Monday, January 14, 2019

Happy 2019, Idaho!

One day you wake up and it's been over a year, and there's so much to say that it just blends into a giant photo collage in your mind. So that's how I've crafted this overdue blog post about life, Idaho, Driggs, adventures...and appreciating it all as we turn the calendar.

The mouth of Teton Canyon from the west, aka Wydaho side. Even as this area continues to grow, the signature views never change - it's incredible no matter the season.

This was the fourth year that I helped coach our local Teton Valley NICA (national interscholastic cycling association) mountain bike team, and it has absolutely exploded in popularity across the state of Idaho. Pictured here is the start line from the state championship race back in October, at Bogus Basin ski area above Boise. These middle & high school riders are first rate people, and it's been an honor to be part of something so outstanding.

Work continues to take me all over this beautiful state, and I love it. So much variety in geography, climate, vocations and recreation. The Perrine Bridge over the Snake River in Twin Falls has become a favorite.

There were numerous Teton Valley hikes with good friends, too. This 4th of July outing with Jon, Julie, and Hank was perfection.

I've been spending more time in Boise, and can't say enough about it as a city & adventure hub. From the Boise Greenbelt to craft breweries, live music, good restaurants, incredible trail access, and nice people - it's a gem. And Boise State football games are always a highlight.

Central Idaho is simply magical. The air, water, stars, mountains, and fishing are all like going back in time 50 years. This is Mt. Borah, the highest peak in Idaho. Located between Mackay & Challis just off my favorite stretch of road in the state, it is always stunning.

Skiing? Yes, we have that in Teton Valley, too. It's world class.

In May, Bridger contracted cancer and the end came shockingly fast. He was only 11 years old - the same as as our previous Golden Retriever, Targhee. The silver lining was some nice time spent reminiscing with my ex-wife Joanne during those weeks. Like an Idaho river, life twists & turns....and rolls on by.

There was a scenic group bike ride in Grand Teton Park during April, before it opened to vehicles for the year. Stunning backdrops made it a challenge to stay upright.

Ahh, Sun Valley. I'm fortunate to spend a lot of work time in the area, and it feels like a home away from home. Hiking, biking, fishing, golfing, swimming, and all forms of sustenance - the Wood River Valley has it all.

Mountain biking with longtime friends Doug & James in Boise is as good as it gets. These guys are the real deal, and they know the Idaho backcountry like few others.

On the work front, I oversee sustainable pavement preservation projects with cities & counties all across Idaho. This photo is near Salmon, with the beautiful Lemhi mountain range in the distance. Everywhere I go, the people and scenery are outstanding.

Despite all the recent growth in Driggs, it remains bucolic. Just on the outskirts of town, these horses have become my buds over the past few years - not a bad life they stumbled upon.

How authentic is Stanley, near Salmon River headwaters in the incomparable Sawtooth Valley? I have always felt the sky is a deeper blue here, and last year the area received designation as the Central Idaho Dark Sky Reserve - America's first Gold-Tier International Sky Reserve. The air is so clear that interstellar dust clouds are visible within the Milky Way.

For over 20 years, I have loved  the trails around Pocatello; it's a surprising under-the-radar recreation mecca. In June I participated in the annual Pedalfest mountain bike race, and grabbed a nice 1st Place in my old guy division. A great day with some awesome folks.

This stream shall remain anonymous. The fish were clearly thrilled to see me.

A favorite and relatively short hike leads to this expansive vista of the Tetons. I love doing it in early winter, when snow softens & quiets everything but skis/snowshoes aren't yet needed.

The Aspen Trail near Driggs, with peak fall foliage. No verbiage necessary.

Pioneer Cabin, high above Sun Valley. This is a hike I had done 25 years ago, then neglected; timing finally allowed for a return visit this year. With not a soul around and not even a whisper of wind on a perfect fall afternoon, there was a reverence which I still feel just looking at this photo.

A late-season Xterra Triathlon down at Snow Basin, Utah was a great experience to share with my nephew Tyler. It's a super demanding course and was his first ever triathlon; he was tough & finished strong. My swim has finally improved after all these years, and I managed a 3rd Place in my division.

Spud week in Teton Valley, when schools still close for kids to work the harvest. Magical stuff.

When the snow hits in Idaho, you've got to roll with it. Snowbiking (aka, fatbiking) is a blast & has changed my world during the long winter months around here. The groomed trail system up at Grand Targhee ski area is mind blowing.

Family over the holidays. Great times, as everyone came together in Salt Lake from as far away as New York,  California...and Idaho ;)

I was fortunate to be in Boise the day of new State Governor Brad Little's inauguration, and made a point to attend. He impresses me as a sensible, qualified, fair and honest leader - important attributes for leading the fastest growing state in the country. It was an amazing, patriotic event to experience.

Here's wishing you all a happy & healthy 2019, wherever you roam. Pursue passions, make a difference, show respect, and enjoy the adventure of it all. There's plenty of that around here.

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.