Monday, July 9, 2012

Winner Creek to Twentymile Packraft

Last weekend I had the chance to float twenty mile with some friends.  Yay!  I've wanted to do this trip for a while now, so I jumped at the chance.  It's a great hike up the Winner Creek Trail, over Berry Pass, and down to Twentymile Creek.  The forest service put in a pretty sweet trail nearly all the way there - boardwalks, stairs, and everything. Deluxe! 

With all of the snow melt, I think water levels were a little higher than normal in some of the smaller creeks crossing the trail.

If you haven't heard, it was a pretty big snow year this past winter. There was still *a lot* of snow out there! I think easily half of our hike was through snow.

Berry Pass!  Picture green tundra, alpine lakes, singing birds...

and Anson ready to fight off any bears! 

Twentymile was a blast.  A little narrow and fast to start, but soon mellowing out into a flat, beautiful river.  A great day trip for a novice pack rafter. 

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Bore Tide 2012!

The bore tide has gotten plenty of press lately, both in Anchorage and out.  It's a really neat phenomenon - if you have a big tidal range coming into a shallow area, the incoming tide basically piles up agains the outgoing tide and forms a true tidal wave (aka tidal bore or bore tide). 

Here in Anchorage we get a tidal bore in Turnagain Arm, just south of Anchorage.  It's not an everyday occurrence, you need a big enough difference between low and high tides, which usually happens  a few times a month.  If the conditions are right when we get a bore tide it can be a great paddle surf opportunity!  Yesterday was a fantastic day for a paddle: no wind, glassy water, and sunshine!

Jon and Anson, heading out. 

Anson and I paddling out to wait for the bore. 

 Paddle high five!

Anyways, I think I mentioned that the bore tide has gotten quite a bit of press lately.  Anchorage Daily News had some really nice photos of Jon and Anson.  KTVA local news reporter John Thein did a really nice piece a few weeks ago when the weather wasn't so stellar (just have to get through the commercials first), and Associated Press reporter John Thiessen did a piece yesterday.  As you can tell I was pretty excited.  After that interview we loaded up the truck, drove a little further south, and caught it again...

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Morocco, part deux

Sun, surf, and sand…  what else could you want?  Climbing, of course!  Tafroute was about 5hrs from Taghazoute, and we’d heard that it was full of “tasty boulders” – who could resist?  We stocked up the safari van for an adventure and were off!

It was a neat drive out through the anti-Atlas, we passed kasbahs, fortress towns, and desert oases.  The anti-Atlas were also full of Argan trees that were, in turn, often full of goats.  Goats in trees!!  Jon and Resh were particularly excited about this.  They're still waiting to see a goat on a cow...

Tafroute is a great town, I can easily say one of my favorites of all the places we went.  Friendly people, clean streets... 

and a really cute souk where they even sell crashpads! 
ok, a foam mattress, but once you cut it in half...

We also made it out to the painted rocks, where a Belgian artist painted lots of boulders all sorts of colors in the 1980s.  It’s kind of a trip to drive out along a desert trail and suddenly come up on giant blue and pink rocks scattered in the sand.

So if you're looking for an out of the way bouldering get away, Tafroute is the place!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Morocco Surfing!

After Paris, a little surf safari was in order!

Jon and I rolled into Taghazout, Morocco, in early November to meet up with our friends Rick, Tanya, and Suresh.  It was a blast – generally two surf sessions a day, with beach merriment between and after.

There were great beginner spots for me and T, with plenty of bigger sets for Rick and Jon.  Even Suresh got in on the action! I graduated from the whitewater, learned how to turn (well, most of the time...), and caught an awesome long right on an outside set.  Jon’s biggest challenge continues to be even sunscreen application...

 Plenty of sun, surf, food, and memorable Moroccan massages with friends...  all in all a great time!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

vive la Paris!

Jon and I are on our way to Morocco to meet up with our friends, Rick, Tanya, and Suresh, to do a little surfing and hanging out.  We had a layover in Paris on the way and figured, well, why not stretch that out into a few days and check the city out?

We made the most of our two full days in Paris!  The food has been amazing.  Croissants, bread, and coffee everywhere you turn!  Here's our standard breakfast - fresh squeezed orange juice, cafe au lait, bread, croissant, and a different jam every time.

We did the classics on our first day: the Louvre, Arc de Triumphe, and up the Eiffel Tower.  It was great!  The Louvre is incredible.  No matter your taste in art, they have it.  We did a cruise through most of the sections, and made a point to see the three most popular pieces, the Mona Lisa, Venus de Milo, and Winged Victory.  A few of my favorites were a really neat ancient egyption sarcophagus cover (the surface is flat and polished, with an incut figure):

and aphrodite:

I'm generally way more into sculpture and other tactile sorts of art, but, for sheer scale, the "grand tableau" (aka BIG paintings) were a trip.  Seriously, these things were huge.  Jon and I were talking about where the heck you could ever put something like this.  Our question was answered on day two when we went to Versailles - a palace.   

After the Louvre, we walked over to the Arc de Triumphe at the start of Champs de Elysees.  One of the largest triumphal arches in the world, Napoleon had it built to commemorate his battles and it's also now the home of Frances Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.  I don't have any super-great Arc pictures (they're all cut off either at the top or bottom), but wikipedia does:

We took the stairs to the top to check out the view.  Notably, the horror of Paris traffic in the "star," where twelve streets dump into a circle with no discernible traffic laws.

and who could spend a day in Paris without a trip up the Eiffel tower?  A perfect way to end the day!

Today, day two in Paris, we took the train out to Versailles, which was amazing!  It was a trip to spend the day wandering around where Marie Antoinette, Lois XVI, and Napoleon hung out.  Gardens that went on forever, trimmed into geometric patterns with fountains and statues.   

The biggest surprise for me in touring the Grand Palace and the Trianon were the colors - the palace was filled with bright fabrics!  Here's the Queen's bedroom, with the little door to the king's room Marie Antoinette used to escape rioting mobs during the French Revolution.

And, in the Grand Trianon, cheetah print carpet with bright pink furniture!  These folks had style!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Yellow Iron

I'm pretty sure everyone has a secret (or not so secret) desire to operate heavy equipment.  Me included.  So I was pretty excited when Jon and I headed to Chickaloon this past weekend to prep our cabin site, excavator in tow!

We've got a little lot, ~1/4 acre, and plan to put up a cabin within the next year or two.  So this weekend's task was to clear off our building site and driveway.  Man, equipment makes moving dirt so easy!  Jon did most (ok, all) of the clearing / leveling / general dirt moving, but I got to dig a big hole!

Hooray for excavators!  We've got a building site!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Powerline Pass!

Last time I was in town, Libby and I talked Jon and Todd into going with us on a favorite near-town bike ride: Powerline Pass to Indian!  Here are a few pics from Libby.  Not a sunny day, but a great time nonetheless!

The view from the pass...

snack time!

smiles before starting the steep bit...

Jon is headed to Indian - turnagain arm pit barbecue, here he comes!