Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Christmas 2011

Once again we traveled to Vancouver for Christmas.  This time we were traveling with Claire, which gave us some concern ahead of time but turned out to be a non-issue.  Claire was a great traveler, either sleeping or being quiet on all four legs of our journey!  Someone in the Bellingham airport even called her the perfect baby! Megan picked us up late Wednesday evening after we arrived in Bellingham.  Other than Claire crying in the border lineup, our trip to Vancouver went very smoothly.

In Vancouver, we went to the Festival of Lights at VanDusen Gardens for the first time.  It features 1.4 million lights on display in a garden.  It was much bigger and brighter than the display at the Idaho Botanical Garden but way more crowded.  I think I like the Idaho experience better - less crowded, more spaced out, and it has LED trees!  Dave works at the garden and was very helpful in arranging our visit - thank you Dave!

Our visit to Vancouver was dampened by a stomach flu bug that was being passed around.  Dave, Greg, Liz, Megan, and Emily were all affected but somehow all three of us managed to escape.  Despite at least one person being sick for much of the visit, we did a little bit of shopping, attended the Christmas Eve service at Kerrisdale Presbyterian Church, and were there for the Christmas brunch and Christmas dinner at the Shepherd house. We had lots of good times with family and had a great time giving and receiving presents!  Of course Claire had a big haul, consisting of books, toys, clothes (thank you Dave for the Santa suit!), and other items.  Everyone was excited to meet Claire and we were very happy that she behaved well during her first trip away from home.

Our return trip was also uneventful (thank you Claire!) and was highlighted by a quick stop at Trader Joe's in Bellingham where we got a few things to cram into our already stuffed suitcases and some food to eat in the Bellingham airport.  We got home late in the evening on Tuesday and I had to look forward to two days of work.

We hope everyone had a great Christmas!

Christmas 2011 Pictures!
Christmas 2011 Video
Present Opening Video

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Claire - December 2011 Update

Here are a few pictures of Claire from the past month or so.  The last few are taken from the nighttime Christmas light display "Winter Garden aGlow" at the Idaho Botanical Garden which we attended with Bonnie.  We offer our apologizes for the low quality cell phone pictures.  While the poor quality pictures may not reveal it, the lights were great and Claire was mesmerized the whole time!  Also included are a couple of pictures from downtown Boise.  Enjoy!

Claire December 2011 Pictures!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Christmas Decorations

Usually we don't do much in the way of decoration, but this year we decided to up the ante a bit.  Besides the usual tree and train, we put lights on the house, car, and my desk at work.  I got the idea for putting lights on the car from Ian and it has proven very popular here!

Christmas 2011 Decorations Pictures!
Train Video

Monday, December 12, 2011

Bull Mountain Snowshoe

Dan invited me on a snowshoe trip to Bull Mountain just over the Utah border.  This peak is noted for being a county highpoint and for having substantial topological prominence.  Dan had failed on this peak the weekend prior (due to bad weather and navigational errors) and was ready for revenge.  We met at 5am and were soon heading to south central Idaho to bag the peak.  After a stop in Burley crossed the Utah line and we were at the trailhead ready to go just before 9am.  The weather was pretty good for us - mild temperatures (in the 30s), high clouds, and minimal wind.

We were able to make good progress up the ATV trail and thence to a smaller trail up Lake Fork.  This trail started out good but was soon obscured by blowdowns in several places.  Dan did an amazing job bypassing the obstructions and managing to find the trail fragments, making what would have been an arduous struggle through snowy forest into a reasonable endeavor.  Eventually we worked our way high enough that we could see a clear path to the ridge leading to the summit.  It was a steep grunt up to the ridge top, but from there it was a straightforward ascent to the very flat summit of Bull Mountain.

The summit views were great and took in some ranges I had not seen in a long time.  Due to fog, we couldn't see the Great Salt Lake immediately to our south.  The summit register was filled with familiar names from the county highpointing community and made for great reading.  Other than the flatness of the summit, everything about this peak was great.  Our descent was much quicker than our ascent and we were easily back on the interstate heading home before dark.

On the way home, we stopped at Wendy's in Burley.  This choice was questionable due to the really slow service.  The highlight of the Wendy's visit was the person in front of us who had to wait 5-10 minutes to get his order taken.  After ordering a frosty, the cashier said "That's it?!  If I had known you were only ordering a frosty, I would have taken your order much sooner!".  Fortunately we didn't have to wait as long as he did for our orders but I left with a great memory of bad restaurant service.

In short, this was a very fun and rewarding snowshoe ascent under very pleasant conditions.

Bull Mountain Snowshoe Pictures!
GPS Track
Dan's Trip Report

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Peak 5140' Hike

A few weeks ago, I embarked on a short hike in the Boise foothills above Robie Creek.  The destination was Peak 5140', a little known peak in a mostly ignored area.  After driving up Robie Creek and over Crooked Summit I parked at a suitable spot and began hiking up up the west slopes of the peak.  The going was easy at first but got brushier as a I got higher.  After slogging for a bit, I eventually reached the summit which was simply a mass of brush with no views.  Disappointing, but not unexpected!

After a short time visiting the high areas in the brush, I decided I'd see if I could find a good route over to nearby Daggett Point.  I quickly found a good trail and made nice progress, however soon I was surfing through heavy brush again slowly descending toward Daggett Creek.  Since I had limited time, I chose to turn around and save Daggett Point for another day.

On the way out I decided to explore a third peak, Zephyr Ridge Point.  A little bit of hiking from Crooked Summit revealed it has a house on top and is part of the Wilderness Ranch subdivision.  At that point I lost interest and returned to the vehicle.  Only one peak, but it was nice to see a nearby area that is seldom hiked.

Peak 5140' Pictures
Trip statistics: 3h, 4 miles, 1600' elevation gain