Sunday, December 26, 2010

Christmas 2010

They thought they were camoflauged in the tree.

First ever panda bear at the manger.  Christmas play at Faith Lutheran Church.

Laura asked for a snowy owl, red fox, and peregrine falcon for Christmas.
 Santa could not find a falcon.

Ben was just excited about Grandma's John Deere afghan as he was his new legos.

Skiing on Christmas Day.

And Ben made it to the yurt.  Drinking hot cocoa.

Laura at the yurt, playing in the snow.

Ice skating on Christmas Eve with our best friends.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Summons to Solstice

My friend Dot and I yesterday at the yurt at Beaver Creek. 
We went to a ski-in party to celebrate the winter solstice.


Keep me from going to sleep too soon
Or if I go to sleep too soon
Come wake me up. Come any hour
Of night. Come whistling up the road.
Stomp on the porch. Bang on the door.
Make me get out of bed and come
And let you in and light a light.
Tell me the northern lights are on
And make me look. Or tell me clouds
Are doing something to the moon
They never did before, and show me.
See that I see. Talk to me till
I'm half as wide awake as you
And start to dress wondering why
I ever went to bed at all.
Tell me the walking is superb.
Not only tell me but persuade me.
You know I'm not too hard persuaded.

Robert Francis

Laura and her friend Jake built a snow tunnel at the yurt.

Wyoming kids skiing in 10 degrees with headlamps.  The
hazard was not skiing in the dark see so much as running into
a cow moose and her calf -- in the dark.

Thanks to my husband for getting
me up at midnight to see the lunar eclipse earlier
this week, and bundling the kids outside too.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Epic Journey No. 562 - Christmas Tree Search

Our family tradition of searching for the perfect Christmas tree inevitably turns into an epic journey. We always look for a tree on the north side of Sinks Canyon (i.e. the shady, subarctic side of the canyon). This involves hiking to at least the halfway point on the first switchback and then diving over one of the guardrails onto a steep slope and sliding down to where the 'best trees are'.  Scott: "Look, there's no tracks - no one looks for trees here now that they've put up the big retaining walls."  Well, go figure.  Once we finally found our tree and hauled it through deadfall and over sagebrush and boulders covered in snow, found the trail and made it back to our truck, the kids were pooped.  The picture to the right was taken only halfway through our day.

Scott helping Ben back up onto the Loop Road switchback because we'd hopped over the wrong guardrail to start.  The best trees are downhill of the second guardrail; if you are so inclined to cut a tree in the most impossible spot in the canyon.

Scott has Ben on his shoulders and is pulling the sled and Laura
is holding up the top of the tree.  I'm carrying the saw.

Back at the truck -  hot cocoa reward.

Merry Christmas!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Granite Hot Springs Camping

Obviously, I was a complete dork walking around the pool in
a bikini with a blow-up turtle around my waist.
And I wasn't sure if I would be able to wiggle out of the turtle. 
I'm sure I scared some foriegn tourists.
This is the second annual Granite Hot Springs camping trip that I have done with my family. This year my good friend Dot and her kids came along too, seeing that it's fall and our husbands are busy with hunting season!  Being October we had to be fully prepared with extra warm clothes, mittens, down sleeping bags, and hot toddies for the mommies.  It was a great trip and much needed since I had just gotten back from the east coast a few days prior. From Lander we went through Pinedale to get there and through Jackson and Grand Teton National Park on the way home.

Now, if we can only figure out how to get there in winter... dog sled?

Sunday morning this was such a welcome sight after waking up to very cold temps in our tent.

View from the campground. There was a light dusting of snow on the mountains.

The U.S. Forest Service Granite Creek Campground was effectively closed for the year, but a few sites are intentionally left open for hunters and people using the hot springs, and these are free.

Bison in Grand Teton National Park.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

NYC - 82520?

What are the odds of running into someone that you know on an unplanned day trip to NYC? Jody's explantion is that, according to her friends, she gets "cosmic" when she has a drink. I wonder what would have happened if she had downed TWO drinks in that bar in Greenwich Village? And what about the number on our homebound train - zip code 82520 - Lander, Wyoming?

Thursday, October 14, 2010

A Moment of Bliss - Happy Tomatoes

Today was a warm and sunny October day. Just beautiful; one of those days so perfect that they help pull you through the cold and dark winter months. I am visiting my dad in the hospital in Denver where he is recovering from major back surgery.

And I had planned to work remotely but instead I took a break from the hospital and walked to a nearby community garden. If you are picturing me climbing over the fence, you should know that Dad's physical therapist, Charlie, has a plot there and gave me the combo to the locked gate.

The community garden is a wonderfully eclectic place with random plots filled with different ideas of what consitutes a garden. Plus I love gardens in the fall. The plants continue to give and give long after the gardener has thrown in the towel (or trowel, sorry). We've had a long and warm fall, and hey - we all get tired of watering, weeding, and frankly -- how much can a person can?

I wandered through the plots, admiring all of the late season fruits and vegetables. And then I spied the most amazing pergola covered with the best grapes I have ever tasted. They tasted like champagne and had tiny seeds. So I just lay there for awhile, enjoying the filtered sunlight through the grape leaves.

After meditating on the grape-leaf-October-dappled sunlight, I roused myself and found Charlie's plot. He has a number of different heirloom tomatoes inclduing pear tomatoes and cherry tomatoes - plus a big raspberry patch.

You know how when a cherry tomato is perfectly ripe and falls off the vine on it's own? I found one today that I swear had fallen off the vine picoseconds before my arrival. It was warm from the sun and warm from the ground and when I popped it into my mouth, I almost got teary-eyed.  It was that good. It was like the perfect culmination of summer on a perfect fall day. It make me unbelievably happy.

My summer tomatoes on a feta cheese, artichoke and black olive pizza.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Crazy October Week

In the past week I have traveled from Lander, Wyoming to Hartford, Connecticut to Mt. Grace, Massachussets to Times Square and Greenwich Village in NYC to circumnavigating the Wind River Mountains in Wyoming, complete with camping and a soak in Granite Hot Springs in the Gros Ventre Mountain Range. And finally, driving through Grand Teton National Park. My big jaunt through Wyoming this weekend was some sort of way for me to slough off the east coast vibe and recharge before heading to Denver. Pics to follow.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

New England Fall Hike - Textures

In October I attended the Land Trust Alliance Rally in Hartford, Connecticut.  The first day there I went on a field trip to Massachusetts ~ on a beautiful fall day.  Here are a few photos from a six-mile hike through lands conserved by the Mount Grace Conservation Land Trust.  The views were pretty, but I what I really loved was the textures of the forest.  These were taken with my point and shoot Canon PowerShot SD1400 IS Digital Elph

Chesnut burrs.

The highlight of my entire east coast trip was seeing these newts.
 I think they are red-spotted salamanders.

Mushroom on a log.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Middle Fork of the Popo Agie on Horseback

I hope that our days of backpacking aren't over. Before kids we backpacked all over the Wind River Mountains. But our kids (8 and 5) aren't old enough to backpack yet and when they are old enough in a few years - we might just be too old. Right now, using our horses to get into the backcountry seems a pretty good solution, barring any mishaps.

We have one saddle horse, Kino, who is a sweetheart. Our other horse, Arizona, is our packhorse, and can be a bit squirrley. It works like this: Scott and I walk and Laura and Ben take turns riding Kino. Either Scott or I lead Arizona.

On this trip we had two mishaps. The first was on our way back to the trailhead. Kino stepped on our old dog Bud (who is 15). He didn't just step on Bud, Kino was standing on Bud's right hip and had him pinned to the ground for what seemed like an entire minute. We didn't think Bud would ever walk again, much less walk out. But he did walk out, with only a slight limp. We found out later his ACL was injured.

The second mishap also happened on the way home. I was walking down the trail in the lead followed by Laura on Kino. Ben and Scott were walking and Scott was trailing Arizona. Ben was wearing overalls and had to make a mad dash for the bushes ASAP. He couldn't deal with the overalls fast enough by himself so Scott had to hand Arizona off to Laura.

I'll never forget the sight as long as I live. I'm hiking along and I look back up the trail to check on Laura. Here she comes -- riding Kino with reins in one hand and the lead rope for Arizona in her other hand. She looked like she'd been cowboy-ing her whole life, moseying along easy as pie. 

It turned out Ben's emergency was a false alarm but you can never be too sure.

Laura with Arizona, our pack horse.

Weaving flowers into Laura's hair is a horse-packing tradition.

Eating dinner on the horse panniers - fresh trout.

My dad rigged up a leftie fly rod combo for Laura.

View from our tent.