Monday, June 27, 2011

Summer At Last, Upcoming 4th of July Events

Summer arrived here in Driggs, Idaho this week - quite late, but all the more brilliant from the wait. Iridescently blue skies, impossibly green fields, snow-capped Tetons, rushing water, and smiles all around.  Let the flurry of summer events and activities begin.

It starts with the busy upcoming 4th of July weekend. Saturday July 2 will feature the second annual "Celebrate America" event at Huntsman Springs golf course and resort in Driggs, with a street fair, games, Glenn Beck, fireworks, and more; the band Widespread Panic will perform at Grand Targhee July 1-3; catch the authentic Tetonia Rodeo the evening of July 2; watch the classic Victor City parade the morning of July 4; and, of course, Teton Valley's signature hot air balloon rides all weekend.  Whew!

We'll be making time for some overdue summer recreation, too. Mountain biking trails are finally opening up and drying out; road cycling groups are out in force; golf courses are primed for use; and horseback riding is rolling.

Speaking of which: we have our Tennessee Walker horses here for the summer now, including my favorite, Cheval.  I'm looking forward to working in a few epic backcountry rides with Joanne, Weston & co. this year.

Did I mention the rivers are rushing? High water will last 2-3 more weeks...don't drive through overflows like this.

Happy Trails!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Summer Solstice Week: Bears, Snowpack, Golf

About 10 years ago, I had a grizzly encounter while hiking near Togwotee Pass, WY. "Encounter" in this case meant I saw the bear from about 50 yards away, he saw me, and he then continued grazing on fresh wild onions while I beat a hasty retreat back to the trailhead. As benign as it was, I was nonetheless dripping with sweat and didn't sleep well for a week.

That was nothing compared to what a local Driggs man experienced while hiking the popular Teton Canyon trail towards Table Rock last week.  The sow grizzly had two young cubs, and charged him three times; thank goodness he had bear spray at the ready, and loads of good sense.  Read the details here: Teton Canyon Grizzly Encounter.  It's wild out there folks, be prepared.

On a lighter note: the sun is finally winning its annual battle with lingering winter weather here in Teton Valley. We'll be seeing our first mid-70's temperatures of the year this week, meaning actual photosynthesis will be taking place, attitudes will improve, and water will be flowing everywhere. High country snow-water levels are at 392 percent of average; the SNOTEL site at Grand Targhee is just now peaking, and not expected to melt out until the end of July.  Absolute craziness...get your boats ready!

Here's what the snowpack looked like on a bike ride last week, up by Grand Targhee ski resort. Lifts are open for the summer season, and being used almost exclusively for continued skiing and snowboarding. Come on up and 'git some.

And, here's what we're all anticipating in the coming weeks: sunshine, Teton Scenery, golf on great Driggs area courses like the new Huntsman Springs, and more.

Happy Summer Solstice.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Memorial Day Weekend

This past weekend marked our 16th Memorial Day weekend here in Driggs. In true Idaho style, we typically get one or two relatively nice days, a day of rain, and a day of snow. Like clockwork, it happened once again.

I kicked things off with a classic road bike ride up to Grand Targhee on Saturday. It was supposed to be a rainy afternoon, but the weather held and made for an awesome day on the bike.

I never tire of this view.

Alas, Sunday we awoke to 2" of snow on the ground. With my big Boise Ironman 70.3 Triathlon coming up, I decided to make it a swim day.  Thanks to good friends Jon & Audrey, I was able to stay local and swim at Teton Springs outdoor pool in Victor. It has been open since May 1, is heated nicely, and is simply a beautiful setting. Not bad

Dreary weather continued on holiday Monday, but we stayed happy with a power hike followed by a good friend's birthday party. Notice from this photo: we really don't even have leaves on the trees yet here in Teton Valley; it's gonna be a short summer.

Of course, as soon as the long weekend ended, the sun emerged.  "Spring" runoff is going strong over in the Big Hole mountains, on the valley's west side. This photo is North Pine Creek, which was raging when I hit the road for work on Tuesday.  It's near one of our favorite mountain biking areas; clearly, we might be a month away from dry trails and summer riding conditions.

Meanwhile, runoff hasn't even begun yet on the bigger Teton (east) side of the valley. Yikes. I'm sure one of my next blog entries will involve photos of water...lots of it. 

Happy June!