Monday, August 29, 2011

Late Summer Adventures

As summer winds down here in Teton Valley, Idaho, there's a certain urgency in the air. It's mainly about squeezing in final high country outings before the snow flies.  And so, I joined Joanne on a nice evening horse ride up South Fork of Teton Canyon the other day (I try to ride something other than a bike at least twice a year). We rode towards Alaska Basin, as far as time allowed, and it was gorgeous. Typically, signs of Fall are prevalent by late August, but not so this year. Wildflowers are still blooming, the grass is tall & green, and no colors on any leaves yet. I'm hoping this means we'll have a nice long Indian Summer.

This summer has also meant a lot of construction around Driggs. Specifically, a complete makeover of Main Street and Hwy 33. It's made life tough for local businesses and has chewed up a lot of bike tires, but is finally nearing completion. The finished product will be a big step forward; new pavement, sidewalks, landscaping, lights, and more. Come see it all next summer!

Of course, the past couple of weeks have also included a few bike rides, most notably the Star Valley Century last Saturday. It starts and finishes in Afton, WY, and is absolutely beautiful. This year's ride benefitted the family of a good departed friend, making it extra meaningful. I rode with my brother Curt, cousin Brent, and friends Todd Q and IronRuss. Here we are at the top of Salt River Pass, where much to Russ's chagrin I had just won our King of the Hill competition. Victory is sweet.

I took this photo after an evening mountain bike ride last week, and love how it showcases the uniquely Driggs combination of farming, the Tetons, and recreation. There's just something cool about starting a bike ride next to an Idaho grain silo, exploring stellar mountain singletrack, and returning to an amazing sunset with America's most iconic mountain range illuminated right before your eyes. It gets in your blood.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Paradise Found

The perfection of a Teton Valley, Idaho summer has a way of gobbling up the weeks. That, plus a lot of work lately (yes, really), has caused time to slip by between blog posts. So here we go.

The past few weeks have been filled with cycling, hiking, golfing, a family reunion, bbq's, horseback riding, and  lots of travel for work. The sun just keeps shining, with warm sunny days and cool peaceful nights.  It is oh-so-sweet.

The recent fun started with a LaBelle family reunion over in Sun Valley, Idaho.  We've been going there since I was a toddler, and it feels like a second home. My brother from New York, sister from California, and others from Salt Lake all came together for several days, and it was awesome.  Bike rides, bowling, ice skating, swimming, fishing, and relaxed dinners on the deck gave us all time to catch up, and made for some great new memories.

The Outdoor Retailer show in Salt Lake then consumed me with work for a week. But it was good consumption, as I love that whole scene. Lots of buzz out there about minimalist footwear, high-definition helmet cams, versatile lightweight packs, wicking materials, GPS advances, stand-up paddling, and more.  A trend I continue to see is casual outdoor style becoming more and more mainstream.  Button-down shirts are now often constructed with the latest performance fabrics; merino wool and cool-max socks are proliferating in department stores as well as specialty shops; minimalist footwear is seen in the workplace; etc.  It's been fascinating to watch this all happen over the past decade or so, and bodes well for the outdoor industry, which needs something to spur growth in the face of a computer-centric world.  And that's my work pronouncement for the week.

On a lighter note: in my work travels, mainly between Driggs and Park City, I'm forced to endure scenes like this.  It could be worse.  This is the Little Elk Creek drainage, along Palisades Reservoir in southeastern Idaho. Phenomenal sight.

Some great mountain bike rides over the past several weeks, too.  This is from an overlook on Ridge Trail, on the Jackson side of Teton Pass.  Simply delicious.

Enjoy the season.