Monday, July 27, 2009

Heart of Summer

It's the heart of summer here in Teton Valley, Idaho, and we're making the most of it. Nothing matches the variety available this time of year, especially in the mountains: horseback riding, biking, golfing, fishing, hiking, rafting, relaxing. Gotta love it all.

Joanne and I did our first epic backcountry mountain bike ride of the year last week, along with my buddy Eric. 6 hours of "out there" time, 5,000 feet of climbing, 25 highly-technical miles, three creek drainages, two broken spokes on Eric's rear wheel (which somehow held together), and about a million wildflowers. It was an extreme day, and insanely gratifying. I think I'll wait a couple of weeks before another effort like that, though.

We spotted this abandoned snowmobile in no-man's-land (I told you we had a lot of snow last winter). If I pack it out, is it mine?

Business took me down the road to Salt Lake City for a few days, and there were some good times. My cousin Brent and I escaped the heat one morning and did a great ride from the University of Utah to East Canyon, and back. Another 5,000 feet of climbing...and I wonder why my legs are wrecked. This photo is from the summit of Big Mountain, where the Great Western trail intersects and connects most of the Wasatch Range. Next time I'm taking my mountain bike, to explore some more.

Back home in Driggs, Bridger and I did an evening hike up Pole Canyon and beyond. It's a favorite of mine, espcially once you crest the initial ridgeline and continue back in towards Fog Hill. It's great snowmobile terrain in the winter, abundant elk and moose habitat in the summer, and scenic year-round. The Indian Paintbrush wildflowers are really starting to pop up there now, too.

Adding some yin to the yang, I finished the week with a great round of golf out at Teton Springs. My friend Jon was nice enough to invite me along, where he and Sam soundly trounced me...but I enjoyed it nonetheless. How could you not, with scenery like this? Thanks, guys.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

The July Good Life

It's mid-July, and we're living the good life here in Driggs, Idaho. Long sunny days, trails drying out, rivers clearing up, fields the greenest I've seen in my 15 years here. Does it get any better? (well, it would have been better if Bridger hadn't gotten "skunked" down at the pasture tonight, for the third time in two years...will he ever learn? :-))

Palisades Reservoir is about a 40-minute drive from Teton Valley, and is in prime condition. 100% full, clear water, fishing and boating beckoning. The scenery's not bad, either.

Just below Palisades, the South Fork of the Snake River is starting to fish well. Drift boats are out and active, seeking the river's coveted trophy Cutthroat trout.

A highlight of the week was my first mountain bike ride of the season on a favorite local trail, way back in the Big Hole mountains. This view always puts my soul at peace, and inspires a sense of adventure. No crowds...just mountains, trail, trees, water and wildlife. It was a great evening out there.

Icing on the cake was the fact that I spotted an elk where they used to be plentiful, but are rarely seen anymore. On my first ride here 15 years ago, this little meadow was filled with about 100 elk. Tonight, I was happy just to see one. Amazing how it made the crazy world seem right for the moment.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Rollin' Into Summer

July means summer in Idaho, at last. It's always a long time coming, and especially so this year...which makes the payoff even sweeter. Verdant mountain meadows, rushing rivers, brilliant wildflowers, and backyard Teton Valley bar-b-ques. Let the fun begin.

High country snowfields still linger. As a result, "spring" runoff will continue for another couple of weeks, keeping rivers high and challenging.

Driggs area golf courses are open, in full swing and great shape. Stunning scenery helps ease the inevitable frustration that comes with such a great game. Just remember that one great shot :-)

A weekend on sweet Sun Valley singletrack brought even more summer adventure and smiles. See you out there!