Thursday, February 25, 2010

In Memory of Grandpa Dow

Last week I learned that my grandfather had passed away at his home in Tennessee at the age of 86. Always of sound mind, his body gradually failed him as he battled Parkinson's Disease. I'm sad that I will no longer see my Grandpa but his passing does remind me of all of the great memories he left me with.

I have a bounty of fond memories from summer vacations spent at my grandparents' house in Tennessee. Grandpa taught me how to fish which became a highlight of summer. Of course, he would proceed to gut whatever I caught (usually bream or catfish) as I recoiled in horror! I used to love to watch my Grandpa operate his ham radio station (call sign: K4VR) and to play with his radios, learning how they worked and listening to all kinds of interesting transmissions on the HF bands. Those experiences motivated me to eventually become a licensed ham at age 17 (call sign: KF4LAJ). Grandpa was also a famous backseat driver and I fondly remember learning to drive around Winchester while getting rather aggressive suggestions about what I could or should be doing! I would be remiss to not mention his love of seafood (OK, food in general) and his passion for cleaning his plate at every single meal. Every time I clean my plate (which actually seems like most of the time these days!) I can't help but think that he would be proud!

Besides my personal memories, I would also like to share some of many great pictures of Grandpa from my collection. Grandpa, we love you and miss you!

Pictures of Grandpa Dow!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Chimney Peak Snowshoe

Dan invited me on a snowshoeing trip to Chimney Peak in the Soldier Mountains. John also joined in and we left from Boise just after 6:30am. After driving through snow flurries outside of Mountain Home, we popped out into daylight on the Camas Prairie just before 8am. By 8:20am we were on our way.

Dan knew the route since he had been on the peak before. John is in great shape and was willing to lead most of the way and did a great job - I nominate him for an award for excellence in trail breaking! We made good progress and were on the summit just after noon. It was a tad bit windy and cold on the summit so we didn't stay on top too long.

The area is a mecca for snowmobilers but surprisingly we only saw two the whole day - both right near the summit. When we returned to the trailhead there were probably a dozen trailers in the parking lot. On the way back we encountered the Kite Soldiers Snow Kite event (hosted by Snowkite Soliders) which was pretty neat to check out.

Trip statistics: 9 miles, 2100' elevation gain, 5.75 hours

Chimney Peak Pictures!

John's Trip Report
Dan's Trip Report

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Happy Birthday

Thursday was my 31st birthday. For various reasons, I opted to take the day off from work. I couldn't come up with an appealing snowshoe trip idea, so I opted to sleep in. Upon waking up, I chose to go up to Bogus Basin Ski Area for some cross-country skiing. It was my first time cross-country skiing and I was able to get a 1-on-1 hour-long lesson for the amazing price of $5. Actually the entire package of ticket, rental, and lesson was only $25 which seemed really cheap to me. The lesson went well and I was pretty quickly able to navigate the beginner and intermediate courses. I had a great time and would like to go back soon!

After spending roughly 3 hours on the snow, I returned home for dinner. Katie and I went to The Front Door for pizza and beer. The pizza was actually really good... we got a pizza that was half double-cut pepperoni (extra thick, in other words) and half pesto & veggie. I'm not sure which half was better - they were both amazing! They also had great beer - I had the Sierra Nevada Bigfoot, Rogue Chocolate Stout, and the Sockeye? ESB. My main peeve was they had the "beer snob" thing going on where they serve you beer in snifters. Totally unnecessary!

In summary, I had a great birthday - I'm sure I will remember my first day cross-country skiing as well as I remember my first day downhill skiing on Super Bowl Sunday in 2001!

To top it all off, on Friday I had a nice birthday dinner with Gary & Bonnie at Red Robin. Upon getting home, I had some tiramisu from the Boise Co-op that Katie picked up. All amazing food but I think I'll have to burn some calories this weekend!

Thank you everyone for the birthday wishes and gifts!

View from the Nordic lodge at Bogus Basin

Gorgeous sunset on Bogus Basin Rd in the foothills above Boise