Saturday, January 23, 2010

A Ski Through Geyser Country

Yes, Yellowstone in Winter. Or was it just a dream?

Mo here is staggering a bit from that "Blain's socks" smell.
The canyon at Firehole River.

Skiing through the fog made by molten rock. Man the earth is hot!

Wildlife - oh yeah. This guy actually flashed us his gang sign, but we photoshopped it out.
Introducing "Cygnet" our 1952 Bombardier snow coach and driver/guide. He loved this vehicle. Alpen Guides from West Yellowstone have the coolest rides.
After we shoved the guide/driver under a speeding buffalo, Blain took over the driving duties. He already was acting like he was the guide, so figured, "Why not?"
Here we are tailgating another snowcoach. What? it was just a little love bump... I can't help it if they were driving too slow.
Here the other passengers are yelling desperately for help and some are trying to climb out the hatch. Too bad for the 91 year old lady. She was sweet.
Onward to Old Faithful. This photo is proof positive that Raven still controls the universe. When he flew off the geyser erupted. Coincidence, you say. I say nope.
So there.
He did it.
Nobody can predict these things with any accuracy.
Umm well, okay, some NPS rangers can, but that's because they are psychotic or something. .
Here's Mo carrying her skis across the original heated pedestrian crossing. For some reason there were several places around this big lodge that they melted all the snow off the walkway. Totally random, though. Some sections they even planted green grass. Weird. Must be some sort of stimulus money or something.
As we were sitting here, a bunch of people came up and stood around us like they were waiting for something to happen. Then it did. This geyser shot out of the ground for like, a minute. Then they all walked off. It was like they knew or something. Weird.

One more dream shot. Scratch one off the "bucket list".

Monday, January 18, 2010

So Bogus - Bogus Basin that is and Boise with the Knoxs

Writing this looking out the windows in Pete and Robin Knox's lovely log home and ranchette at horses, cows, a donkey, and one very stinky husky/shepherd dog who thinks he's found the eternal smorgasbord...
Our first day in Boise took Pete and us to Bogus Basin. A big little ski area with loads of double-black steep tree runs to practice our jump turns on. Pete is an excellent telemark skier and pushed us to our max. We loved it. The fog was on us again, but made the day somewhat surreal.

Pete feeding the herd back at the ranchette. They grow their own hay for four cows, a calf, a donkey, and two ponies.
Here's Jack the little ass. He works the petting zoo circuit. Chance would be a good stand-in for him.
Up past Idaho City on Sunday for a XC ski with the whole gang. Caleb tried out skis for the first time and trooped along with an ever-watchful mom.
Oops. Falling is fun.
Blain got to pull the boys, Caleb and Logan, up the hills, but left the downhills for Pete, who had metal edges on his skis for stopping power.
Caleb getting the "cooler carry" treatment. He started calling for more downhills.
Pete showing off a step christy turn to wow the crowd.
The view from the top (and from the rental yurt that we have to go back to one day) was stunning. A grand picnic spot. Click for the whole panorama.
Caleb's first ski video. One of many to come, we're sure.

"Free taters for out of staters" - IDAHO

McCall Idaho.
This little snow town has a lot going for it. Brundage Mtn. just up the road for downhill, Bear Basin and Ponderosa SP for XC skiing 5 minutes away.

Payette Lake in McCall is quite nice, and they've put some money into making the waterfront area nice with walkways, marinas, a sculpture park and amenities.

At Bear Basin we had a great time skiing with Chance. Ski-joring attached to the dog hasn't caught on out in the West like it has in Alaska, so unfortunately, we find very few groomed ski trails that allow dogs. When we do we love them.
Back on the road, we travelled through Nez Perce country and had to stop at a monument called Heart of the Monster National Historical Park. We heard a recording of the Nez Perce creation story of the making of the world's tribes by Coyote after he slayed a great monster that was eating up all the other animals. The monster's heart was left here and became the Nez Perce people. This is the Nez Perce's Eden. The beginning of the universe. Pretty powerful stuff.

On through Devil's Canyon and back into summer for a bit. The Salmon River was dry and beautiful country. Chance got to go swimming, and we got a little Vitamin D.

To Kooksia and a motel with an oddly insect-like caribou on the roof.
And a hugely enjoyable stop at Jerry Johnson's Hot Spring over Lolo Pass - Lewis and Clark Country. A 1.5 mile luge trail in, but we discovered paradise at the end.
The hot springs flow out of the cliff in waterfalls and filled the boulder-lined pools. Soaking amongst the cedar trees was such a treat.
Gorgeous spot. Can't show the "other" photos though... It's that kind of place...
Blain looking for the giant hot springs cave salamanders.