Thank you for the dances

I asked my skis to the prom, and she showed up in an irresistible powdery gown.  We’ve shared dances at Lake Louise (1 day, cross-country), Crystal Mountain (2 days), Mount Hood (2 days), Hoodoo (1 day), Mount Bachelor (2 days), Telluride (10 days), and Crested Butte (2 days).  The bumps, curves, slopes, face-plants, and turns are exhilarating.  Our relationship is getting serious.

But, our relationship is an unusual, open one.  My skis must soon rest and yield to my fling with canyoneering ropes and kayaks.  I promise to return for another winter dance.

Glacier National Park Backpacking

A beautiful place to play in the snow. More photos coming soon.

Such a swell Swell

Armed with advice from some friends and a copy of “Hiking the Southwest’s Canyon Country” by Sandra Hinchman, we set off on a tour of canyons in southern Utah.

From Salt Lake City, we headed south to the Wedge Overlook, which overlooks the Little Grand Canyon and San Rafael River.  This area is in the northern section of the San Rafael Swell, a stunning anticline and home to many fantastic outdoor adventures.  Next, we drove south through and spent the night in Buckhorn Draw, a worthwhile destination on its own.

The next day, we headed towards Goblin Valley State Park and hiked Crack Canyon, which was pleasingly shaded.  There were a few spots that required boulder-hopping.  We camped on one of the many dirt roads along the northern side of the San Rafael Reef, which is so named because of appearance and not because it was an ocean reef.  We moved to within the Goblin Valley State Park boundaries.  The Goblin Valley is bizarre, fantastic, almost alien terrain.  After a day here, we hiked the Little Wild Horse and Bell Canyon loop.  These canyons were pretty, dry, and mostly shaded.  The roughly two mile hike connecting the canyons was an unshaded slog through sand.

Finally, we headed south through Hanksville towards Capitol Reef National Park.  Regrettably, time only permitted a brief hike from the visitor center up Sulfur Creek.  We hiked in the river, which had about 10 inches of water at the deepest.  We climbed the first water fall but turned back due to threat of storm.  To finish off the day, we drove the marked scenic drive, which was nothing short of incredible.  We finished the tour with convenient camping on BLM land just west of the park.

I regret not having enough time to explore more and look forward to returning, preferably with ropes and kayaks.

In-Water Boat Show

Sailing in San Diego Bay

Went to an in-water boat show over the weekend. Admired small and large boats — sailboats, cabin cruisers, yachts, etc. Boats are a great place to get ideas for small space living. We saw some neat designs for a plexiglass revolving shower and for a desk that converts to a child’s bed. Would have liked to see more designs for live-aboard boats — e.g. solar or wind power, composting plumbing, desalination systems. The show was mainly marketed towards recreational boating. A sail boat ride on San Diego Bay was a nice surprise perk. We finished up the day on Coronado Island, which has expansive views of downtown and the harbor.

Trapeze School

Took a trapeze class at Trapeze High yesterday. Peter got the landing on a knee hang and catch, which looks like this (these are pictures of other people):

Katherine did back flips and worked on figuring out the knee hang.

A fun afternoon and a great workout.

Playgrounds for GrownUps

Our New Year’s resolution is to play more. Here are some places and experiences that we’re eyeing for the new year.

What else should we check out? Please add a comment.

Reverse Snowbirds

RVers are often called snowbirds because they travel south and downhill in Winter to stay warm. Quartzite in Arizona is a popular destination, for example.

We must be confused, because we can’t wait for snow. Here are our goals for the Winter season:

Go back to school at Telluride ski school. We got the limitless lesson alpine season passes and can’t wait for the first day of class.

Go fly a kite, in the snow. Kiteskiing, aka snowkiting, uses a stunt kite to pull a skier across flat or gently sloping snow or ice. It’s the winter version of kiteboarding, and will hopefully prepare us for Summer kiteboarding on Hood River. For lessons, the programs in Utah and Colorado look attractive.

Snowshoe or ski hut to hut. Possible locations are the San Juans and Rockies. If we can improve our skiing enough (to double blue) in time, we may be able to take a backcountry safety and avalanche course in combination with hut to hut skiing.

Get our axes in gear at the Ouray ice climbing park. We’ve never ice climbed before and look forward to learning from a local guide. For spectators and advanced climbers, the biggest events of the season are the Ouray Ice Festival and Chicks With Picks.


Ski Pass Deals

Some ski pass deals to check out for this season:

— The Colorado Gems pass: $10 gets 2 for 1 lift passes at many of Colorado’s smaller ski resorts

Descente Passport: Buy a ski jacket and get a lift ticket to 36 different ski resorts across the U.S. and Canada

Telluride Limitless Lesson pass. For the price of 2 group lessons, get an entire season of ski lessons. There are holiday black out dates on this.

Ski Utah Yeti Pass: Good for one lift pass at each of Utah’s 14 ski resorts. Since 13 of the resorts are within 2 hours drive of Salt Lake, this pass can be useful even for fly-in vacationers.