Sunday, November 29, 2009

(American) Thanksgiving in Boise

For the fifth year in a row, our Thanksgiving dinner was at Gary and Bonnie's house. As always, Bonnie and her mother Frona did a great job with the dinner - turkey, stuffing, potatoes, sweet potatoes, asparagus, cranberries, and corn were all made and they were all quite delicious. Katie made dinner rolls which were also great for sating my craving for carbs. After dinner, we relaxed around the TV and watched Casino Royale which was airing on the Syfy Channel.

Thanksgiving is always a great time to reflect and focus on what we have. We're thankful for having each other in our lives, our awesome family, our good health, and our stable jobs in these rocky times. We are truly blessed!!


Sunday, November 22, 2009

Squaw Butte Hike

I passed up the opportunity to climb The Box in the Pioneers due to weather concerns and lack of interest in a big climb. Since the weather looked good in the Owyhees, I chose Squaw Butte (not to be confused with another Squaw Butte), a reasonably short hike just an hour from home.

After one wrong turn, I made it to the trailhead at about 10:15am. Soon I was on my way up the peak... however I didn't check the map closely enough and started climbing the wrong ridge. Fortunately in this area it is very open and mistakes are easily corrected! The weather down low was very nice...sunny and with just enough breeze to keep me from feeling warm in my winter gear. Up on the summit it was quite windy and colder... I should've brought the balaclava! Needless to say, I didn't spend much time up there despite the great views of the surrounding area. I took a more direct route on the descent, making for a nice loop hike featuring both ridge walks and canyon terrain.

In summary, this was a perfect short Fall hike... I was home by 3:30pm and in time to watch prime time college football!

Squaw Butte Pictures!

Trip statistics: 9 miles, 2700' elevation gain, 3.75 hours

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Sinker Butte Hike

For some needed exercise, I opted for a quick Sunday hike to Sinker Butte just south of Boise. It is a pleasant desert hike that starts at the Swan Falls Dam, and climbs out of the Snake River Canyon onto a small prominence on the expansive Snake River Plain. The hike is located within the Morley Nelson Snake River Birds of Prey National Conservation Area (what a mouthful!) and as expected, raptors are plentiful in the area. This is a very short but enjoyable hike for the late Fall!

Sinker Butte Hike Pictures!

Trip statistics: 5 miles, 1250' elevation gain, 2 hours

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Texas Vacation

My parents planned a trip to Texas to visit the family there. Katie and I decided to join the trip since we don't get over there very often. We coordinated our flights so that we both arrived in Dallas at the same time on Saturday the 7th. This worked better than expected as we arrived at our designated meeting spot within a minute of each other!

While in town, we visited with all of our Texas family, some of whom I had not seen in 15+ years (and of course Katie had never met). Everyone was present for the family dinner at Spring Creek Barbeque to both catch up and enjoy the wonderful food! We also made time to tour the new $1.3 billion Cowboys Stadium which is certainly an impressive facility. We also enjoyed several fine meals at area restaurants such as Beto's, Chuy's, and BJ's.

While in Texas, we also visited my Mom's friend Kathy, who was formerly a teacher in the Clay County School District alongside Mom. Kathy had made the decision to retire in Texas to be close to her daughter so our trip provided an opportunity for them to catch up and for us to see her new house.

Sadly, the trip was not as long as it could have been due to limited vacation days. But it was great to see everyone and spend some time in the beautiful Fall weather in Texas!

Texas Pictures!
Mom's Texas Pictures!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Cervidae Peak Hike

Since I hadn't climbed a peak since August, it was high time to get back into the mountains. Being out of shape, I opted for Cervidae Peak, a short hike just outside of Boise which is popular with locals when the bigger peaks are snowbound. I had climbed the peak two previous times, in 2001 and 2008, each time by a different route. This time I chose yet another route since this peak offers countless variations with its open terrain. Also, this was the first time I climbed the peak when it was not under snow.

The hike was uneventful but the route I chose was quite steep, perhaps a little too steep given that I chose to wear trail running shoes. After some morning clouds, the day turned gorgeous with reasonably warm temperatures for November.

Cervidae Peak Pictures!

Trip statistics: 2.5 miles, 1.75 hours, 1800' elevation gain