July 1, 2012

Utah 2012

Eastern Oregon sunset.

Downtown Boise from the foothills.

Aspen along the trail, Park City.

Wilco, Red Butte Gardens.

Family hike to Clyde Lake, High Uintahs.

View from the top of Puke Hill, Wasatch Crest trail.

More aspen at 10,000 ft.

Shadow Lake. New Moots is officially named Clementine.

Desolation Lake.

Park City BMX track.

Red Pine Lake.

Hiking the Pfeifferhorn with Curtis.
More to come...

March 5, 2012

Trip ideas for this Spring/Summer/Fall

In the past 5 years I've grown to really enjoy thinking up and planning trips.  Some trips I propose happen, and some don't, and that's ok.  I've found that if I throw out enough ideas, and keep my ambitions up, some trips are bound to happen.  And I realize that if I never float the idea of an adventure, it will never happen.  And if I spend some hours looking into a trip that never materializes, well,  I've at least felt the excitement of the possibility.

I've compiled a list of ideas for family trips as well as solo or group adventures over the past few years.  Many have actually happened and the list is getting short, so I've been in need of a new crop of ideas.  For this year I've come up with the list below and thought I'd share. 

1. Mt. Rainier climb
Second attempt as last Summer the weather kept us from going beyond Camp Muir.
2. Selkirk scenic loop and side trips bike tour
Roads that I have mostly driven before, a solo trip for early Summer before the snow pack has melted.
3. Antoine Peak Conservation Area, family hike and mountain bike exploration
Seen from I-90, recently acquired by the city.  I'm sure many know more about this than I, but could be a nice place for a quick family hike or a day of exploring by mountain bike.
4. McCroskey State park mountain bike exploration and possible bike packing
Along the Western border of Idaho, a ridgetop state park overlooking the palouse.  It looks like there are a lot of trails though many look to be motorcycle trails.  I figure even the 22+ mile gravel road through the park is at least worth a look.
5. Kettle Crest bike packing
I've wanted to do this for the past couple years.  A new mountain bike may help this one happen.
6. Backpacking in High Uintas
Trying to find a time to meet my brothers and go on a trip.  Could be great.
7. Backpacking Selkirk Crest, from Harrison Lake to Fault Lake
Along with this is just the need to hike more along the crest.  There is some nice rock up there that I'd like to be more familiar with.
8. Steptoe Butte bike ride
This is an easy single day that will likely happen this Spring.  I've ridden nearby, just never gotten to the top of the butte.
9. Mt. St. Helens climb/dayhike, family camping trip
Permits are already in place for this one later this Summer.
10. Repeat Iller Creek ride over the top of Tower Mountain
Part II of my New Years Day ride.
11. Family hike to Kokanee Glacier hut
I hiked on snow in mid to late July last Summer and stopped at Kaslo lake where the hut is situated.  Would be a nice alternative to full backpacking with the kids.  Just tricky to get reservations.
12. Mt. Hood hut mountain bike tour
This one also requires reservations.  Less likely to happen this year, but has been on the list for a couple years now.
13. Mountain bike tour in Switzerland
This one is new, a stab at an epic trip in celebration of V and me both turning 40 this year.
14. Trail of the Couer d'Alene's and Hiawatha trail loop through Avery
Have done the out and back from Plummer to Wallace and beyond.  Putting together a loop on mixed terrain would make it more interesting.
15. Columbia Plateau Trail
Also an easy one.  I've gone a few miles past Fish Lake but need to tick off the entire developed length of the section near Spokane. 
16. Bonnie lake paddle and island camping
This is a newer idea that I thought would appeal to V.  She likes paddling and there is a little island in the middle of this lake that belongs to the county, camping allowed.  Getting the kids to participate would require another boat. 

Those are the ideas for now.  I have aspirations of spending more time in southern BC and in the North Cascades, but nothing specific as of yet.  I'm hopeful that at least 10 of these things can happen this year, possibly more, but I will have to really start working on not working to allow time.

February 5, 2012

It's a....

new bike.

I figure it has been 3 years since I bought a new bike, so I'm overdue.  My last bike was the first custom frame I've ever had and was really a revelation in that I finally feel comfortable on my bike.  I've always made do with stock frames that really weren't large enough for me.  I feel somewhat normal riding that frame.  It is a road touring frame that I use for commuting, and hopefully for a short tour late this Spring.  The bike above is obviously a hard tail mountain bike that better fits my style of XC trail riding than the full suspension frame I have now.  I also suspect having the right size frame will make a difference in my comfort for longer rides.  I have visions of bike packing and finally using the Revelate Designs seat bag and handlebar bag I have this Summer.  The above drawing is just for the preliminary design and doesn't show the shaped tubing that will be used for the down tube and top tube or the tapered head tube.  If all goes well I should have my hands on it by the end of March or early April.  Congratulations to me!

January 12, 2012

New Years Day Ride

A few years ago the Big Rock/Rocks of Sharon area was made a conservation area, abutting the Iler Creek conservation area.  I'm not up on all the details, but there is supposed to be access to the area via Steven's Creek Rd, off Palouse Highway.  I tried finding the access point a couple years ago and realized that it wasn't quite ready.  A log was pulled across the last part of the road to the parking area on the south side of the mountain and I knew that while some trail work had been undertaken by the Mountaineers, the approaches were still basically erosion ruts.  

We've hiked Iler Creek several times and have enjoyed the reward of the view of the Palouse at the top, but from where we live you have to drive all the way around Tower Mountain to access the trail, which is frustrating when you look at a map and see how close we are to the west and south approaches.

I've long wanted to ride up Steven's Creek Rd, bypass the log barrier, and find a rideable trail to the top.  On New Years afternoon, perhaps a little too late in the afternoon, I decided it was time.  Rather than head to Steven's Creek, however, I thought I'd save a little time and trespass up Tower Mountain Rd.  I still feel guilty about ignoring the sign plastered all over the road, but I did it.  And in a way, karma got me.

The route
 I made it to the top just as the sun was setting.  Exploring a new area in the dark didn't seem like a great idea and I thought about just bombing back down the road I came up, but then I'd have to trespass again.  So with the hubris of the new year I found my way east along the ridge to Big Rock and beyond, picked a promising trail, and pointed my wheel down hill.

And it was nearly straight down, with a deeply cut erosion rut in the middle.  My knuckles got tired, my brake pads were thin, and I was getting cold.  I almost went over the handle bars more than once or twice.  But I eventually made it down to the parking area, turned on my lights, and headed home.  Even if not entirely successful, it was a good little adventure to get the year started off right.  And perhaps next time I'll exit out the Iler Creek trail and find my way back via Dishman-Mica.  Hmmm.

December 25, 2011

Early Winter So Far

Vanessa and I skinned up Mt. Spokane twice.  Once the week before Thanksgiving when it was cold, snowing, and powdery.

And once in early December when high pressure was sitting on top of us for weeks.  Inversion provided blue bird conditions (although crap snow) on the mountain with freezing fog in town.

Vanessa has made me a fan of "jumping" photos.  Humor us.

Obligatory panorama.

I took the kids to see a few movies over the holidays.  This is from a prop in the lobby.

I gave a boring lecture to Nurse Practitioners at the Davenport.  This was a foreboding decoration that served as distraction.

We forced our children to hike up to Big Rock via Iler Creek.  They hated it.

I loved it.

Spokane trails always have car wrecks.

I noticed this sign on High Drive recently.  I'm always riding the opposite direction on my commute so I've never noticed it before.  I suspect it has been there for some time.  I like it, though I'm uncertain what it really means.

Emmy turned 12. I feel old.

I finally made it up West Willow Peak.  Funny story.  I set out solo, got my car stuck, then met some nice guys who saved me and led me up the mountain.  There is some nice powder out there.

North Idaho Winter Sunset on the way home.  I never get tired of views like this.

I ventured solo up Mt. Spokane and yo yo-ed off the back side a few times last week.  There was a surprising amount of powder to be had despite the weeks of high pressure and minimal snowfall.

The new AT setup is serving me well.  Still getting used to my heel being locked down.

Beautiful sky and frosty trees.

Skin track.

Merry Christmas!!