Monday, October 22, 2012

What's Happening in Claire's World

So, in addition to Claire's awesome birthday weekend with the family, it's been a busy couple of months for the star of our blog! While Zach's parents were visiting, Claire figured out how to climb the stairs...with a parental spotter (and since then, is also a champ at going down the stairs on her tummy, with close supervision!). She is also pulling up to stand..and will pull up on pretty much everything she can find...including drawers, the toilet and the dishwasher door. In the past week or so, she's started "cruising" - pulling up to stand & then side-stepping while holding on to something (couch, ottoman, chair, etc). She isn't too interested in practicing this whole "walking" thing, but we keep trying! No matter what, it's become very apparent that she is MOBILE! Thank goodness for babyproofing!

Claire also has her 5th tooth, which made it's appearance at the beginning of September. She's now working on her 6th tooth - I can see a pale line (you know, for the .0003 second timeframe that she'll let me look in her mouth!), so it looks like it's going to be cutting through her gum very soon. Exciting times, I tell you!

Another game Claire has been learning is identifying some of her body parts. She can point out her ear, her foot/toes, and her head...we're also working on "nose", but she's being stubborn with that one! When either Zach or I ask her where her nose is, instead of grabbing her own nose, she grabs our noses! It's pretty cute, so we'll let it slide! At least she knows where the nose is located on the body!

Finally, Claire is also learning some Baby Sign Language! This was not planned at all - we've been kind of half-heartedly attempting to teach her a couple of signs for the past 2 months or so, but I never thought it would actually work. Well, she's proving me wrong! She's learned how to say "More" (when she wants more food - click on the link to see a video demonstrating how to do the sign). Her version is different than the video - she holds her left hand as if she's clapping (palm facing in), and holds her right hand with her palm facing away from her body & her thumb inward..then she taps the tip of her thumb against the palm of her left hand. Even though it's different than the norm, she knows what it means & (usually) uses it correctly. Her next sign that she learned is "All Done" (for when she's finished eating, or when I want to signal to her that we're done playing with something). Finally, she's learned "Milk", for when she wants to nurse (or when she's ready for bed). Since she seems to be picking these up fairly quickly now, I'd like to keep teaching her a few more - Mommy, Daddy, Eat, Happy...we'll see how this goes, but it's pretty cool to see her communicate without being able to vocalize!

That's about it for Claire updates - it's been a busy & exciting couple of months! Stay tuned for future updates & enjoy a few pictures!

Claire October 2012 Update Pictures!

Claire on a Scooter Video
Claire Climbs on the Sofa Video
Claire Climbs Stairs Video
Claire Likes Veggies With Her Yogurt Video
Claire Rage Against the Cage Video
Claire Dances to Adele Video
Claire and Dad on the Blue Turf Video
Claire Plays BabySmash Video
Claire Escapes the Bumbo Video

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Claire's 1st Birthday & a visit from Grandma & Grandpa Vickery!

It's really hard to believe that it's been more than a year since this little munchkin came into our lives!

She has a little bit more hair, and a lot more personality, but the past year has been amazing...we love her more every day!

We were lucky to have Zach's Mom & Dad come to visit us for the week of Claire's birthday! They arrived on Wednesday, Sept 12th, and we immediately took them out to one of our favorite restaurants for lunch, since they'd just spent a (very) long morning flying & navigating airports. We took them to Flatbread Community Oven, which was very yummy, as usual - Zach, Claire & I are regulars there! Jan & Ron got checked into their hotel & we kept it low-key for dinner - we got tacos from the little taco truck near our house. Easy, delicious & no clean-up!
Thursday was spent doing some shopping at our Outlet Mall and enjoying some Claire/Grandparent time!
Friday, September 14th was Claire's birthday, so we had a little party at our house, with Grandma & Grandpa Vickery, as well as Zach's Uncle Gary & Aunt Bonnie. We had burgers, roasted potatoes & salad...and for dessert, we had an amazing cake that my friend made for Claire...Claire had her very own cupcake, and LOVED IT...she demolished the poor cupcake - it didn't stand a chance! She probably managed to get 3/4 of the cupcake into her mouth, which was pretty impressive...of course she also ended up with bright pink frosting everywhere, but that's the point, right?!
Claire also got lots of birthday presents - everyone was so generous & she loved everything she got! I think she was kind of overwhelmed by all the wrapping paper & presents, but definitely enjoyed herself! We sang Happy Birthday to her a couple of times (before her cake & before opening presents), and both times she looked around at everyone with a huge grin on her face! It was a wonderful night, and we're so glad that Claire (and Zach & I!) got to spend it with such great people!
On Sunday, we went to brunch with Bonnie & Gary and then went for a walk on the Greenbelt (walking paths along the Boise River). On Monday, Zach unfortunately had to work, so the rest of us went to the World Center for Birds of Prey, which is just a few miles from our house. It was a very interesting & entertaining visit - we went on a guided tour of the birds, all of which were beautiful (and huge!). It was very cool to see so many rare birds up close. I think we all enjoyed the visit & I'd definitely recommend it to anyone visiting Boise.
On Tuesday, Ron & Jan came with Claire & I to our weekly Little Gym class. Claire really loves these classes - she gets to crawl all over stuff, climb, play with friends, listen to songs, tumble & just has a great time! Zach was working a half day, so we met him for lunch & then spent some time at the house so Claire could have a nap & play with Grandma & Grandpa. We met Bonnie & Gary for dinner & then called it a night so that Claire could get to bed & Jan & Ron could get some sleep, since they were flying out early the next morning.
All in all, we had a great visit with Ron & Jan, and all three of us really enjoyed our time with the Florida Grandparents...We're so glad they were able to come up for Claire's birthday! What a wonderful time! Claire loved playing with her Grandma & Grandpa Vickery, and can't wait to do it again!!
Happy Birthday, Claire! And thanks again, Grandma & Grandpa V, for coming to visit!! We love you!

Claire's First Birthday Pictures!
Grandma's Pictures From Boise Part 1!
Grandma's Pictures From Boise Part 2!

Happy Birthday Claire Video
Claire Eats a Cupcake Video
Claire Likes Her Play Kitchen Video
Claire With Bells at Little Gym Video
Claire Does a Roll Video
Back Whoop De Doos Video
Claire Climbs Video
Claire Plays Drums and Climbs Stairs Video
Push n Scoot Video
Claire Gets a Kitchen Video
Stacking With Daddy and Claire Video

Sunday, September 16, 2012

September Camping Trip

On the weekend of September7-9, we met our friends Joey and Sam (with children Cecilia and Mallory) of Olympia and Tracy and Dan of Portland for a two night camping trip.  We planned on staying at Maryhill State Park but upon arrival there were no sites available.  Luckily our backup site, Brooks Memorial State Park, was only 20 miles away and had plenty of open sites.  We finally arrived just after 2PM and managed to find a single site that would fit three tents and three cars!

We had a great time camping - introducing Claire to everyone, meeting Mallory for the first time, watching the kids interact, catching up on everything, and just being outside!  As always, we had many great meals and enjoyed the various park amenities.  The park was mostly quiet (and surprisingly empty) although there was a bit of highway road noise audible from our site.  Thanks to the dry summer, camp fires were banned which was disappointing.

We left around noon on Sunday and made a pit stop in La Grande where Claire played in a park for a bit.  We arrived home at about 8PM very proud of Claire for completing her second camping trip!

September Camping Trip Pictures!
Claire in a Rocking Chair Video
Claire and Cecilia Play With Dirt Video
Scenes From Camping Video
Cecilia Loves Claire Video
Claire Likes Ladder Golf Video 
Katie With Mallory and Claire Video
Claire on a Slide Video
Claire on a Swing Video

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Baby's First Camping Trip!

***Disclaimer: I've added some pictures into the text of this blog post, but there are lots more pictures (and videos!) at the bottom of the post!***

On the morning of Sunday, August 12th, we loaded Claire into the (already-overloaded!) car & headed out for a camping trip of epic proportions! Not only was it one of our longest camping trips to date, it was also Claire's first time camping - that's a recipe for success, right?! Well, it ended up being a fun trip, and Claire was a champion camper & road-tripper for the most part. Yay!

Sunday was a loooong day of driving - we left Boise at 7am local time & didn't get to our Bed & Breakfast (Inn at the Lake) in Newport, WA until 7pm Washington made for a 13 hour day, but there was one highlight to the day! Since it was our 8th anniversary on August 12th, we stopped in Spokane, WA for an early dinner, at The Flying Goat & had some absolutely delicious food! We started with their Focaccia, which had fresh tomatoes, fresh basil, garlic & goat cheese...

This was SO good & a great start to our meal. For our main course, we decided to share a pizza, and did a half-and-half, since we couldn't choose just one pizza - everything sounded yummy & it was hard enough to choose two! We ended up with 1/2 "Waikiki":
Waikiki - Zoe's sweet coppa and artisan ham, caramelized pineapple, roasted jalapeno, house cheese blend and plum tomato sauce
...and 1/2 "D Street"
 D Street - Yellow Coconut Curry, chicken, potato, jalapeno, carrot, house cheese blend, cilantro, sriracha and lime juice
 Yep, you read that right - we had Yellow Coconut Curry on a pizza! And, as unsure we were about it, it was absolutely fantastic! The Waikiki (basically a fancy Ham & Pineapple with jalapenos added) was also delicious, but we both agreed that the D Street was our favorite - the flavours worked really well together, the heat of the sriracha (which is a Thai Chili Garlic hot sauce) was a great kick at the end, and the cheese (which I was worried about, in combination with the other flavours) wasn't out-of-place, it just added a little something & played well with of the other toppings. We'll definitely be going back if we're in Spokane again, and will recommend it to anyone we know who is going there! Oh, and Zach loved their beer selection...and Claire liked looking out their window..and eating bits of pizza crust!
Ok, now that my food reviewer duties are complete, let's move on, shall we? After dinner, we stopped at Audubon Park in Spokane, so that Claire could crawl around & play a little before the hour-long drive to the B&B. She had fun on the swings, and crawling in the grass - they even had a little water park, but she wanted no part of that!

The B&B that Zach found for us to stay in was absolutely gorgeous! Here's the view from the dock, towards the back of the house.
 It was right on a lake, and the back of the house (that faced the lake) was pretty much all windows! Claire spent lots of time crawling around & stretching her legs after being in the carseat, and slept pretty well that night. Zach was even able to fit in a little kayak on one of the B&B's hard-shell was a little too short for his long legs, but at least he was able to get out on the lake & paddle around in the morning!
The breakfast, prepared by the owners, was delicious - a Southwestern quiche with tomatoes, bacon & chives; fruit & yogurt parfait; fresh orange juice; a small piece of coffee cake and the star of the show - freshly baked biscuits with homemade huckleberry butter! I'm pretty sure we both would have eaten huckleberry butter with nothing but a spoon, if we could have - it was outstanding.

After breakfast on Monday morning, we were on the road again. We crossed the border & made our way to Nelson, BC, where we stopped for lunch (A&W, which we ate at a sketchy park that was populated mainly by homeless people...lunch was eaten quickly, needless to say!). The views on the trip up were beautiful:
We made it to the campground at McDonald Creek by 4pm & started the camping extravaganza!

It was a wonderful week of camping - we got to spend lots of quality time with my immediate family, as well as my Auntie Margaret & my Mom's sisters, Cathy & Barb, and 2 of Barb's kids, my cousins Graham & Allison. It was so nice for us to get the chance to introduce Claire to the extended family! We wish we could have spent more time with Auntie Cathy, since she wasn't able to get there until Friday & we had to leave on Sunday so Zach could get back to work, but at least she & Claire got to have some quality time.
During the week, we celebrated Mom's 65th birthday, as well as Margaret's birthday - unfortunately we had to leave before Allison's birthday on Monday, but we were thinking of her! The rest of the week was spent splashing in the lake (Claire wasn't a fan of the cold water!), hanging out in the sun (or shade!) and eating lots of good food. Here's a shot of the lake early one morning:

Claire also got to experience sand for the first time, and seemed to be pretty intrigued with it - she kept grabbing handfuls & letting it fall through her fingers. She did (of course) try eating some, but figured out pretty quickly that it was gross.
Zach also got to use his inflatable kayak & paddle the lake - my cousin Graham gave it a try, too.

Since the weather was so gorgeous, some of the crew decided to go for a hike one day - Zach, Megan, Greg, Graham & Allison hiked up to the peak of Saddle Mountain - the pictures are absolutely breathtaking, and it looked like quite a stunning hike, both on the way up, and at the peak. Maybe next time Zach can take Claire in our backpack carrier!
For the Arts & Crafts portion of Camp, my Mom came up with the great idea of making Claire a rattle out of an empty can & some rocks - the top was sealed with duct tape...we (of course) used an empty beer can (because we're klassy like that), and Claire LOVED it! It kept her entertained for minutes, which in Baby-World is basically MONTHS!
Then Allison, Emily & Matthew made Claire an amazing beer can mobile, with sticks, embroidery floss & (you guessed it!) beer cans (we had a few empties hanging around). It was beautifully trashy, and again, Claire was fascinated with it - I was disappointed that we didn't have space to bring it home with us! Thanks again for all your hard work, guys!
We were sad to have to leave everyone on Sunday, Aug 19th, but we had to drive to Pullman, WA, so that Zach could work at his corporate office on Monday. Zach worked all day while Claire & I entertained ourselves - we spent some time hanging out at Sunnyside Park so that Claire could get some exercise & fresh air in preparation for our final leg of the journey home. We picked Zach up at work, grabbed some dinner & hit the road.

Our trip home was long, and made a little longer by some road construction delays, but Claire was (once again!) a road-trip champ & slept pretty much the whole way home. We got home at 2am & passed out!

Now we're getting ready for our next (and final) camping trip of 2012 - we'll be spending a couple of nights in Oregon, with our friends from Olympia, WA. We don't get to see them very often, and they have a 3 year old & a 4 month old, so it will be fun to see the kids interact!

Sorry for the LOOOOONG & rambling post - clearly I have a problem being concise!
Enjoy the pictures & videos!

Summer Camping Trip Pictures!
Claire Crawls Around Audubon Park Video
Claire In A Swing Video
Claire Climbs a Step Video
Claire Beer Can Rattle Video

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Mushroom Peak, Gladiator Peak, Peak 10185' Climb

Dan was in Hailey for work so we decided to join forces on a Saturday hike.  After discussing various destinations, we chose three peaks in the Boulders: Mushroom Peak, Gladiator Peak, and Peak 10185'.  Not only did this hike offer three peaks, it also gave the opportunity for Dan to find crampons that were lost on a snowshoe trip in the area this past Spring (sadly they were not found).

We approached by following roads heading toward the mouth of Westernhome Gulch, parking when we couldn't drive further.  In hindsight, following the road up Gladiator Gulch to an actual trailhead would have been a better move.  From our parking spot, we followed the old road (now a trail) to the mouth of Westernhome Gulch.  From here it was very easy cross-country travel up the gulch and eventually to the summit ridge.  We visited Mushroom Peak first and this was a steep but obstacle-free ascent up the ridge.  Mushroom Peak has great views of the surrounding peaks and even glimpses of the Sawtooth Valley.  It also contains a summit register left by Rick Baugher in 2002.

After leaving the summit, we headed over to Gladiator Peak, the highest of the three peaks.  The ridge from Mushroom Peak was pretty gentle but did contain some low class 3 terrain just below the summit.  This peak, which saw other summit visitors earlier in the day, also contains a summit register left by Rick Baugher.

Dan was not feeling very well so on the summit of Gladiator Peak, we decided that I would attempt Peak 10185' and Dan would wait in the basin below.  I tried to be fast but the ridge over to Peak 10185' contains some class 3 terrain and route-finding issues that slowed me down.  The summit block itself is somewhat steep and rotten, however I was able to find a rib to climb to the right of a scree ramp heading down the southeast face.  This rib leads directly to the summit, which has no register but instead possesses an iron rod and a small cairn.

After a brief time on the summit, I headed back down the rib and scree slopes to meet Dan in the upper reaches of Gladiator Creek's basin.  From here we followed the trail down the creek and back to the car.  It was a great day but sadly we finished too late to stop in to the Hill City Saloon as we initially hoped to do.  Maybe next time?

Mushroom Peak, Gladiator Peak, Peak 10185' Climb Pictures!
GPS Track
Dan's Trip Report

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

North Idaho Hiking July 2012

I had a business trip in Pullman so I decided to bolt on some hiking given that the weather forecast was perfect.  I left Boise early Wednesday morning and upon reaching Banks, I parked at the junction with the Banks-Lowman Road and climbed Peak 3668'.  This peak sits about 850' above the highway and made for a brisk morning climb.  The footing is generally good and the route is very direct, only requiring about 0.4 miles to reach the summit.  The summit is pretty flat but it does have decent views of the surrounding area.

Once back on the road, I left the highway in Cottonwood and drove to the summit of Cottonwood Butte, one of Idaho's 50 most prominent peaks.  Upon reaching the top I was surprised to see a giant concrete abandoned building on the top and lots of other ruins.  Later I would learn this summit was the site of the Cottonwood Air Force Station radar site in the 1950s and 1960s.  The ruins were interesting and suggested a hatred of windows by the designers.  The actual summit is a short distance from the ruins and features the foundation of a fire lookout, benchmark, and lots of radio towers.  The summit has partial views of the surrounding area; climbing through the dark stairwell to the top of the abandoned radar building would likely yield much better results.  I think this peak has more debris on the summit than any other I've visited anywhere.

I got to work just after 1PM and worked a half day.  Once done with work, I headed to Bald Mountain, a drive-up peak which is also the highpoint of Latah County.  The drive was longer than expected and when I reached the summit there were a group of people there who had rented the fire lookout!  They said it is an incredible way to spend a night and even talked highly of spending a night up there during a lightning storm!  They were also kind enough to let me walk around the top of the lookout and take a few pictures of the expansive, rolling terrain.  After chatting a bit more, I began the drive back to Moscow where I was staying, arriving about 9PM after a long day!

Thursday was a regular day at work and after departing work I changed clothes then headed for Moscow Mountain.  I wasn't sure how close to the summit I could get in the Civic but the road is drivable up to about 4300' which was closer than I thought.  An intrepid 2WD driver could probably get further but the road gets pretty steep and sandy after where I parked.  I made good time uphill and quickly found my way to East Moscow Mountain, which is clearly used for camping and has good views toward the south and Moscow.  After taking a few pictures, I headed over to the main summit of Moscow Mountain.  Due to mis-reading my map and a total lack of signage, I missed the turn to the summit and wasted some time heading too far west.  After I corrected my mistake, I cruised up the road toward the summit.  Eventually I crossed a gate which marked as private property but was also posted indicating foot traffic was permitted.  I continued past an interesting collection of buildings after which the road deteriorated to something closer to overgrown singletrack.  This continues all the way to the summit, an unremarkable collection of rocks sticking out amongst the surrounding brush.  After taking a few pictures and noticing how low the sun was getting, I scampered back to the vehicle.  This time I rolled into Moscow about 9:15 - another long day!

Friday involved no hiking - after leaving work at 6PM I simply embarked on the long drive home.  I did get stopped by a WSP trooper just south of Pullman - he must've felt sorry for me driving back to Boise because he didn't give me a ticket!  I got home at 2AM Saturday morning totally exhausted!

North Idaho July 2012 Pictures!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Canada Day & Fourth of July

We were lucky enough to be able to go up to Vancouver for the week of Canada Day (July 1st for all of our American readers!) and Fourth of July (hopefully that one is self-explanatory!). Zach's work has an office in Burnaby (a suburb of Vancouver), and they graciously allowed him to work out of the Burnaby office for the week. He got Canada Day off (since the office was closed), in exchange for working on July 4th. It was a pretty great deal (you know, apart from the whole fact that he had to work at all), since he didn't have to burn up vacation time, but still got to enjoy evenings & weekends with the rest of the gang.
We left Boise on Friday, June 29th, at around 9pm - in hopes that Claire would sleep for the majority of the trip! Luckily, she conked out pretty quickly, and only really woke up when we stopped for gas. She went back to sleep as soon as we got on the road again, so really, she was a great little traveler. Of course, Zach & I only got about an hour or 2 of sleep each overnight, so we were definitely feeling it the next morning, when we arrived in Vancouver around 7am local time! There are certainly pros & cons to either travelling during the day (risking a screaming baby for the 11 hour drive) or travelling during the night (risking zombie-parents the following day!)
We had a great visit with the Vancouver contingent! It was so great to spend lots of time with my Mom, brothers, and my sister & her family. Claire had a wonderful time playing with her cousins, and they even got to go swimming in a (very warm & awesome!) pool - Claire loved it so much that she wasn't even complaining after 2 hours straight in the water! Needless to say, her fingers & toes were little tiny prunes! Claire, Emily & Matthew (and Mommy & Auntie Megan) also played at the park with some of Emily & Matthew's friends & their moms (Megan's friends). It was nice to hang out with some other moms.
For Canada Day, we had a barbeque with my family & my Auntie Margaret - lots of turkey burgers & hot dogs with great potato salad & green salad. Yum! For Fourth of July, it was pretty low-key - Zach worked all day, and Claire & I went to dinner with a friend of mine. Zach did get to enjoy a pizza dinner (from one of his favorite Vancouver pizza places!) with my mom. Claire wore her holiday-specific tshirts for each day, and there are some pictures below (as well as videos & other miscellaneous pictures).
While on this trip, Grandma Shepherd showed Claire how to sit up on her own from a lying-down position. She can do it herself, but sometimes just doesn't feel like it (it's so much easier to just whine until someone sits you up, right?!)...we're working on it! She also plays "Pattycake" sometimes (again, only when she feels like it!) and is giving high-fives & learning to wave hello or goodbye! It was a busy week!
We were also able to get our last piece of living room furniture (an entertainment stand) from IKEA while on this trip - IKEA Canada had a sale going on, and we capitalized on the deal! Once it gets put together, it will join the new bookcases, end tables & sofa table to complete the living room furniture update - we'll be sure to post pictures once everything is in place!
Now that we're home, we're settling back into our routine & Claire seems to be recovering in the sleeping department! Zach is off to his work's headquarters in Pullman, WA for the end of the week (leaving Wednesday, coming back Friday), so Claire & I will be keeping busy while he's gone!
Enjoy the pictures & videos!
Katie, Zach & Claire

Vancouver 2012 Pictures!
Claire With Emily Video
Claire Giggling Video
Emily Reading to Claire Video
Claire Likes Books Video
Claire With Cassie Video
Claire Likes Blocks Video
Lunch at the Shepherds Video

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Claire Summer Update

Here are some recent videos and pictures of Claire to celebrate the arrival of summer!

Claire Summer Pictures!
Claire Likes Junk Mail Video
Claire Crawls Video
Claire Eats Dinner Video
Claire High Five Video

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Antares Peak and Pincer Peak Hike

Dan suggested a Monday hike of some peaks above Garfield Canyon.  Both peakbagging and taking a day off work sounded amazing to me, so I was in.  The trip also offered the possibility of one to three peaks based upon how strong we felt.

We left Dan's house at 6:15am and began the long drive to Garfield Canyon.  About 3 hours later, we arrived and even attempted to drive past the normal parking spot at 6900'.  However the road past this point was overgrown and we were forced to park shortly thereafter around 7000'.  From here we hiked up the old mining road which was surprisingly washed out and overgrown.  While not good for vehicles, the hiking along the road was good and we made great progress up the canyon.  Soon we passed the mining ruins, which consisted of a crumbling mill, some decaying cabins, and lots of collapsed adits.  We continued to follow the road above the mine but eventually we just headed cross-country toward the summit ridge of Antares Peak.  This was a little steep in places but very straightforward.

After grinding up the last 600', we were on the summit of Antares Peak which has fantastic views of the entire Pioneer range and partial views of the Lost River Range.  Other than some gusty wind, summit conditions were perfect.  Surprisingly, we were only the second party since 1994 to sign the register!  We were both feeling a little tired at this point so we decided we would climb the next peak (Peak 10650' aka Pincer Peak) and not climb Scorpion Mountain which was much further away.

The ridge from Antares Peak to Pincer Peak was fun and included a class 3 section near the saddle.  After fighting fatigue on the traverse, we soon reached Pincer Peak, which naturally features similar views to its neighbor.  After recharging for a little bit, we dropped off the summit and down to the south arm of Garfield Canyon, which was surprisingly devoid of mining detritus.  After hiking through the brush, we eventually found the road and retraced our steps back to the vehicle.

This was a very enjoyable hike in a beautiful and seldom visited area.  The ample mining debris provokes thoughts about the anonymous miners that used to live in this area over 100 years ago.  I'm sure we'll be back one day to visit Scorpion Mountain!

Antares Peak / Pincer Peak Pictures!
GPS Track
Dan's Trip Report

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Jerome County Highpoint Visit

Last Saturday, I happened to be passing through the Magic Valley so I opted to visit the Jerome County Highpoint, a very obscure spot north of I-84.  While in the area, I decided I would visit a couple of other nearby summits as well.

I approached from the north, heading east from Shoshone and through Dietrich on ID-24.  At the signed Sid Junction, I turned south for Sid Butte.  This is a mostly good road which leads all the way to the top of this unremarkable butte.  A car can probably make it all the way but high clearance could be helpful near the end.  After walking around the summit for a bit, I returned back to the highway and continued east toward the Kimama rail siding.  From Kimama I mostly followed Ken Jones' directions to the Jerome County Highpoint, although I deviated and took the 600 W Rd south instead because it is paved.  These directions are still great and took me right to the highpoint!

The highpoint is marked by a cairn and has no register.  It's an interesting spot on the edge of an ancient volcanic crater with expansive views of the Snake River Plain.  I walked around the area quite a bit, taking photos and enjoying the nice weather.  Despite seeing a rattlesnake on the approach road (about a mile from the highpoint), I didn't see any while on foot.  Yay for that, since this area is notorious for them in the warmer months.  My final stop was Kimama Butte, which is very close to the Jerome County Highpoint.  This is your typical butte with a benchmark and several radio towers on top.  Good views of the area but lots of RF exposure!

In short, while these are unimpressive summits with little hiking involved, I enjoyed the nice day exploring a seldom-visited part of the state!

Jerome County Highpoint Pictures!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Peak 5108' Kayak/Hike

It has been two years since I "kayak hiked" anything, so I decided to use Memorial Day to revisit this enjoyable approach to hiking.  I selected obscure Peak 5108' near the tail of Arrowrock Reservoir.  After sleeping in and then driving the windy, bumpy road along the reservoir, I reached the first available launch point just after noon.  After pumping up the kayak and lugging it to the shore, I was on the water just after 12:30.  Because this is near the tail of the reservoir, the kayak portion of the hike was very short (no more than 5 minutes each way).

Once across, I put on my shoes, stashed the kayak, and began the very steep hike up to the peak.  The hike up was very direct and unrelenting, crossing open slopes dotted with numerous wildflowers.  After about 90 minutes of what seemed like stair climbing, I reached the flat, brushy summit and walked around a bit looking for the high point in the brush.  Despite the summit's lameness, there was no prior sign of summit visitation, which is unusual for a peak so close to Boise!

The peak has a great view of Arrowrock Reservoir and decent views of the surrounding area.  After spending some time relaxing and refueling, I retraced my steps back to the shoreline and then across the reservoir.  Another fun, short kayak hike!

Peak 5108' Kayak/Hike Pictures
Trip statistics:  0.3 miles kayaked (10 min), 2.25 miles hiked, 1900' gain, 2.5h

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Idahosummits Spring 2012 Climb

For the first time in two years, I attended an group climb.  I missed the previous three due to being out of town, too busy at work, and being a brand new father.  This time, everything fell in place for a great outing.  The destination was Peak 10027 in the Sawtooths.  In order to take care of some things around the house Friday evening, I opted to drive up Saturday morning.  I met John and Bob at 3:30am and we were soon on our way.  The vehicle conversation was great and before we knew it we were at the Decker Flat camping area along the Salmon River.  Here we met 13 happy campers getting ready for a fun day in the mountains!

After spending a little while in the 19° temperatures meeting people, we soon headed out to the Cabin Creek Trailhead near Alturas Lake.  Due to snow drifts, we parked about 100 yards shy of the trailhead. We were soon on our way led by John, who had climbed this route before.  Our large group (15 people on the trail, plus one more staying at the trailhead) made good time heading up the trail, then cross country to frozen Lake 8920+.  From here we split up to ascend the peak in different ways, but most of us took the "easy" route to a saddle and then up to the summit ridge.  We had a direct ascent to the summit, soon taking in the incredible views of the southern Sawtooths in shockingly warm and clear May weather!  The views were amazing and we spent quite a bit of time enjoying each other's company (there were a total of 15 of us on the summit!) and the spectacular Sawtooth scenery.

Five of us (myself, Matt, Andrew, Jacob, and Nathan) opted to traverse to nearby McDonald Peak, so we left the rest of the group and headed over.  The others headed straight for the trailhead while we made the traverse and soon enjoyed a similar summit experience from the slightly higher terrain of McDonald Peak.  This took a little longer than expected and we finished with a long (but very pleasant) hike back to the trailhead.  It is worth mentioning that aside from the perfect weather, the snow conditions were also perfect and I never needed snowshoes or crampons at any point during the day - even the soft afternoon snow supported our boots very well!

By the time we arrived at the vehicle, most everyone else had already left.  After saying goodbye to Nathan, Andrew, Matt, and Russ, we dropped Jacob off at the campground before the three of us headed back to Boise.  In short this was an awesome trip with great people, great weather, and great snow conditions - basically a perfect trip!

Idahosummits Spring 2012 Climb Pictures!
GPS Track

Dan's Trip Report
John's Trip Report
Oleg's Pictures
Jacob's Pictures
Geo's Pictures
Idahosummits Forum Thread

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Peak 6526' and Peak 6336' Hike

To properly enjoy the great Spring weather we've been having, I went hiking in the Boise Mountains near Arrowrock Reservoir.  The destination was Peak 6526' and Peak 6336', two little-known and seldom hiked peaks to the east of Mt Heinen.

I started from the Cottonwood Creek Trailhead off of FS-377.  I headed straight up the trail, following Cottonwood Creek through surprisingly un-scenic terrain (thanks to past fires and the abundance of willows and chaparral).  The trail starts off with a nice tread, complete with bridges across the rushing creek.  After a mile or two, the trail deteriorates and you're on your own for crossing the creek.  With the creek running high, I was forced to take off my boots at one point in order to cross.  A couple of other washed out sections had to be carefully bypassed.  I followed the trail up to elevation 5350', where I found a nice log to use for crossing.  From here, I headed straight up to Peak 6526'.  While direct, this route was marred by occasional thick brush and blowdowns.  Soon I was on the summit, which looked very pristine except for the nicely cut stump right on the summit.  At least the stump made for good sittin'!  This peak offered good views of Thorn Creek Butte, a rarity in the lower Boise Mountains.

From this summit I followed the ridge over to Peak 6336'.  This ridge is easy to follow but also features sections of annoying brush and deadfall.  Soon I was atop Peak 6336' which featured similar views to its neighbor but with better visibility to Arrowrock Reservoir.  After a brief summit break I decided to follow the ridge directly down to the trailhead rather than go back to Cottonwood Creek.  Worried about possible brush battles, I headed down anyway.  Initially the the brush was an issue but as I approached Point 5774' I found a very nice trail.  This trail was at least as good as the actual Cottonwood Creek Trail and leads directly to the trailhead!

In short, this was a mostly enjoyable hike that feels very remote despite only being about an hour from Boise.  The direct trail to Peak 6336' is highly recommended - the key is to take the (unmarked, but obvious) trail to the right of the official trailhead which proceeds straight ahead and uphill.  The official trail (which I used to ascend) instead heads left to meet up with Cottonwood Creek.

Peak 6526' and Peak 6336' Hike Pictures!
Trip statistics: 11 miles, 3650' gain, 5.25 hours

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Claire May Day Update

Claire has had a busy April growing, eating more food, and enjoying the nicer weather.  Here are some picture and video evidence of this.  Enjoy!

Claire May Day Pictures!
Claire Eating Banana Video Part 1
Claire Eating Banana Video Part 2
Claire Jumparoo Video

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Bender Peak and Flat BM Hike

Last weekend I decided to go hiking in the Danskin Mountains outside of Boise.  This has become a bit of a Spring ritual as the area is only enjoyable before the opening of ORV season on April 10.  I decided to climb Bender Peak (a.k.a. Peak 4966') and Flat BM, two very minor summits which I'm sure rarely see visits from hikers.  This hike was very near to last Spring's Hutton Peak and Fiddler BM Hike and was a very similar outdoor experience.

I decided to hike from the Bender Creek ORV trailhead.  This was mostly for parking convenience as other places further along Blacks Creek Road would make for a shorter hike.  I started up the trail and soon encountered another hiker, a shocking sight on an ATV trail.  I continued to follow the ATV trail for awhile, passing some big washouts before reaching the spot where Bender Creek meets Flat Creek.  Here I crossed the creek which was a little annoying due to high water and lots of willows.  From this area I hiked straight up to the ridge leading to Bender Peak, which unsurprisingly had a motorcycle trail on it.  This trail led straight to the top of Bender Peak, which has good views of the surrounding country.  The views are very familiar to me by now but they never get old!  After staying for a bit, I simply followed the motorcycle trail along the ridge over to Flat BM.  Flat BM was most notable for not actually having a benchmark - at least, I couldn't find one anywhere, nor anywhere one likely would have been.  The peak really needs another name but there isn't much remarkable about it to suggest anything better...

After taking in the very similar views, I headed back down, retracing most of my route but taking a few shortcuts.  Interestingly, when I got back to the trailhead there was a USFS ranger parked waiting for two motorcyclists to return to their trucks.  Hopefully the "poachers" got their ticket in the end!

Bender Peak/Flat BM Hike Pictures!
GPS Track

Monday, April 9, 2012

What has Claire been up to?

Hi to all our lovely readers! We hope all 2 of you had a great Easter weekend..ours was pretty quiet - we had a very nice Easter brunch with Gary & Bonnie at the Original Pancake House and Claire played with some Easter eggs that Zach & I had coloured (or "colored" for all our American readers) the night before. Really, she just tried to eat the eggs & faceplanted into my Easter basket! You can check out the video footage of this ridiculousness below!

In other Claire news, this past week has been full of excitement! First off, she had her 6 month checkup & shots, and she is currently weighing in at 16lbs 9oz (60th percentile for weight) and 27" long (90th percentile for height!!) Her height isn't too surprising considering all of her tall family members on both sides! Clearly she doesn't take after me in that regard! She had to get 2 shots & take a liquid Rotavirus vaccine, and she did very well - only cried for about 10 seconds after the shots.

This past Thursday, Claire & I went to The Little Gym to take an introductory class with other 4-10 month old babies...she seemed to really enjoy it, and we both got to meet some new babies & moms. The class focuses on developmental skills, using music, gymnastic mats & equipment, and fun things like scarves, balls & bubbles...Claire was fascinated by the bubbles! She really only started to fuss in the last 5 minutes or so, probably due to a little overstimulation! Before we knew it, 45 minutes had flown by & class was over. Their season lasts for another 8 weeks, so we've signed up for the remaining classes & we'll see how it goes! Should be pretty fun!

In other news, as of Friday night, Claire has started to cut her two bottom teeth! She doesn't seem too bothered by them most of the time, but occasionally is a little clingy/fussy & tends to have a tough time in the wee hours of the morning, getting back to sleep...which is lovely for Mom & Dad, too!

That's about all we have to are some pictures & video...enjoy!

Claire Easter Pictures!

Claire Jumparoo Video
Claire Playmat Video Part 1
Claire Playmat Video Part 2
Claire Eats Avocado
Claire Wants a Beer Video
Claire Easter Video
Sippy Cup Video

Friday, March 30, 2012

Claire's First Food!

On Wednesday, March 28, Claire tried some solid food for the first time! We were having sweet potatoes for dinner, so I just stuck some of them into the food processor & whizzed it up (yes, that's a technical cooking term) with a little water. She ate maybe a teaspoonful altogether, but was pretty wary of them & mainly just looked weirded out by the whole experience! Here's some video footage of the hilarity.

Video of Claire trying out some Sweet Potatoes

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Katie & Claire's Vancouver Adventures!

As Zach mentioned in his last post, Claire & I spent March 10th through March 22nd up in Vancouver, while he toiled away in Pullman. We had a great visit with the family, and it was really awesome to be able to spend more than a few days there, since our standard visits are usually pretty whirlwind-ish! We really missed Zach, though!

This time, we had the chance to visit with lots of friends & family. Of course, Claire got lots of Grandma Shepherd time, as well as lots of time spent with my sister & brother, Claire's Auntie Megan & Uncle Dave. We also hung out with my youngest brother, Greg, but he was busy with work & other obligations, so didn't see as much of him as possible. Claire really loved spending time with her cousins, Emily & Matthew, who were wonderful with her & seemed to really enjoy playing with her (except when she cried...then she stopped being cool for a few minutes!). On the family front, we also visited with my aunts & uncles, as well as my brother-in-law & his family. We also headed out to Chilliwack with Grandma Shepherd to see my mom's cousin, Gail, who I hadn't seen for a number of years. Dave is staying with Gail while he is substitute teaching in Chilliwack. While we were there, Claire got to meet her first cat - she only grabbed it's tail once - the rest of the time she just kept an eye on it (as it did the same!)
It was SO nice to see everyone!

Claire got to visit with a number of my friends on this trip, too - she was a popular baby! First, we caught up with my friend Kelly & her 7 month old, Lucas, who is Claire's future husband. They behaved themselves for the most part - Claire tried to pull off Lucas' sock & Lucas tried to grab Claire's face...sounds like the beginning of a beautiful relationship, right?!
Claire & I also got to hang out with my best friend, Linsie, a couple of times and even met Linsie's ADORABLE 1o month old niece, Delyla. I'm sure Claire was jealous of Delyla's abilities to speed-crawl and stand up, but what Claire was MOST impressed with was Delyla's deluxe that point, Claire had been away from her own beloved Jumperoo for a couple of weeks, so when I put her into the deluxe Jumperoo, she jumped like a maniac for 15 minutes or more - she was so into it that she jumped both of her socks off!
Another day, my Mom & I took Claire to North Vancouver to have tea with my friend Jenn & her mom (and their huge dog, Holly, who was quite taken with Claire!).
Finally, Mom, Claire & I went to our family friends, the Penafiels. Claire had a great time with Julie (who is a couple of years younger than me), and got to sit in a high chair for the first time - so many firsts!
Again, it was wonderful to have the time to be able to catch up with so many friends!

When we weren't visiting with family & friends, we just enjoyed spending time around Vancouver. We went for walks, played with cousins, and Claire even got to hang out with her D0g-Aunties, Cassie & Sydney!

We capped the fantastic trip off with a fun road trip back to Pullman, thanks to the stellar driving & passengering skills of my brother Dave & sister Meg. They are both SAINTS for putting up with Claire (and me!) for so long...Claire did pretty well for most of the trip, but had a screaming meltdown for the last 45 minutes of the trip. Thank you, Meg & Dave, for not kicking us out on the side of the highway! We had a great time with you!

We had an excellent trip, and just wish that Zach could have been there with us. Next time, he will be!

Here are some pictures (ok, A LOT of pictures...), as well as a few videos for your enjoyment...yes, every single picture & video features Claire...what? Is that surprising?! :-)

Claire Marcb 2012 Pictures! 
Claire Rolls Over Video
Claire in Car Seat Part 1 Video
Claire in Car Seat Part 2 Video
Claire and Emily Video
Claire Raspberry Video
Emily, Matthew, and Claire Video
Claire Bouncy Seat Video
Claire Raspberry Video Part 1
Claire Raspberry Video Part 2
Claire Reaching for a Spoon Video

Sunday, March 25, 2012

New Job and Pullman Trip

On March 5th I started a new job as a software engineer at Schweitzer Engineering Labs (SEL), based out of their Boise office.  For various reasons, it was time for a job change.  However starting this new job required that I spend three weeks in Pullman, Washington, for training.  We were able to stay in a three bedroom corporate apartment just across the street from the SEL campus.  We drove down from Boise on the 4th and this was mostly uneventful except for Claire crying during the last hour.  The plan was that the three of us would stay in Pullman for my first week and then Katie and Claire would spend the next two weeks with the Shepherd family in Vancouver (maybe Katie will blog about that?).

My first week at work was dominated by new employee orientation.  We spent some time getting to know Pullman during the week before the three of us left for Vancouver on the evening of Friday the 9th.  Claire cried during the first couple of hours of this trip but went to sleep for the rest of the ride.  We arrived in Vancouver around 1:30am and were tired!  I spent Saturday in Vancouver before heading back to Pullman on Sunday the 11th.

My next two weeks in Pullman were pretty predictable - working, getting trained, and checking out the area as best I could.  It was sad being away from my family for so long but I did get better sleep than usual!  The weather in Pullman was kind of crummy while I was there (lots of cold, rain, and snow) but there was a decent weekend that allowed me to hike nearby Kamiak Butte, drive up nearby Steptoe Butte, and snowshoe Mt Spokane and Mt Kit Carson outside of Spokane.  It's an interesting area for sure but I definitely like Boise a lot more!

On Thursday the 22nd Katie and Claire returned to Pullman after being driven down by Katie's siblings Megan and Dave.  They had a fun road trip together and we had a nice dinner at the South Fork Public House before going to bed.  Megan and Dave left Pullman on Friday morning and the three of us left right after I finished work on Friday evening.  Claire behaved pretty well on this final drive and we arrived in Boise around 12:45am on Saturday morning.  Instead of relaxing Saturday, I spent the day at the Boise Code Camp.  But at least Sunday was a relaxing day highlighted by brunch at Bob's Sunrise Cafe with Gary and Bonnie!

Pullman Pictures!
Kamiak Butte/Steptoe Butte Hike Pictures!
Mt Spokane/Mt Kit Carson Snowshoe Pictures!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Claire Early March Update

Here are a few recent pictures and videos of Claire!

Claire Early March Pictures!
Claire Getting Poked Video
Claire Jumperoo Video

Monday, February 27, 2012

Another Birthday...

My birthday this year was on a Saturday, which meant I didn't need to take off from work.  I slept in and with the weather looking iffy I decided I would plan my day in an impromptu fashion.  With the late wake-up, I ended up deciding to hike some peaks outside of Mountain Home.  I left the house around 11am and headed over.  My first peak attempt failed due to access issues so I moved on to Peak 4008', a barely noticeable top along US-20.  This was a very straightforward hike across sage and grassland.  The "peak" has pretty unremarkable views but it surely is a seldom visited area.  After completing this hike, I decided to head home rather than hike a second peak and risk delaying dinner.

Dinner was at The Twisted Timber, a local place known for good beer and more recently, pretty good pizza!  The three of us had a great meal and we even got Claire home early enough for her usual bedtime.  Getting old is no fun but at least I had fun doing it?

Birthday Hike Pictures!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Claire Four Month Update

Another month has passed and it's time to share some more pictures of Claire.  Enjoy!

Claire Four Month Update Pictures!

Monday, January 16, 2012

McAfee Peak Snowshoe

With the winter weather still good, Dan and I went on another winter outing.  This time we selected McAfee Peak in the Independence Mountains of Northern Nevada.  The drive down was a little long and extended by our choice to use Maggie Summit and NV-226 to reach the peak.  After leaving Boise at 5am, it was after 9am before we were hiking.  We were amazed at how little snow there was at the 7800' trailhead!

The route to the peak follows a 4x4 road for awhile before crossing a mix of open and forested terrain to reach the summit ridge.  The forested terrain was bouldery with a thin layer of snow which made things a little treacherous.  It was the annoying "too much snow for boots, too little for snowshoeing" problem - I preferred snowshoes despite hearing them scraping rock much of the time.  Eventually we got above the rocks and into deeper snow near the summit ridge.  Once higher, the wind picked up and it started to get a little chilly.  The summit ridge was even windier but with intermittent patches of bare rock and soft snow.  We eventually got annoyed crossing rock and ditched the snowshoes, instead just hiking the last few hundred vertical feet to the summit.

The peak has great 360° views of a huge part of northern Nevada.  Oh, and lots of brown terrain!  Other than the steady wind at the summit, it was a perfect winter day.  We relaxed for a bit (out of the wind), refueled, signed the register, and identified the nearby peaks.  The descent was much easier and proceeded without issue.  We were back to the vehicle in just over 6 hours having climbed a 10000' peak in January.  Not bad!

On the way out we drove from Jack Creek Summit directly to NV-225 which got us home in 3 hours.  This route was much faster but one that is rarely possible in mid-January!

McAfee Peak Pictures!
GPS Track
Dan's Trip Report

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Williams Peak Winter Hike

With the winter snowpack in Idaho being pathetic, Dan and I decided to ascend a big peak that is normally inaccessible in mid-winter.  We chose Williams Peak in the Lost River Range, a peak with good vehicle access and a low-angle canyon approach.  We left Boise just after 5am and were hiking just after 9am.

The ascent was very straightforward and the route up the canyon was much less difficult than we remembered from our last visit (climbing Mount Church and Donaldson Peak) in 2003.  The canyon is a little bit brushy and rocky but almost always offers a decent route choice.  The snow was not very deep in most places and we didn't even put on snowshoes until we reached 9000'.  From there the snowshoes were really only helpful until we reached the summit ridge at 10000'.  The final push to the summit was windier but on easy talus which was mostly blown clean of snow.  Temperatures were likely in the low 30s and aside from the wind, it was quite pleasant!

The summit views were a little disappointing due to the clouds shrouding all of the nearby big peaks.  However we were thankful that visibility was never a problem on our ascent.  We retraced our route on descent and made it back to the vehicle before 4pm.  On the way through Arco we stopped at the Deli Sandwich Shop which was pretty decent.  Another dining option discovered! 

Williams Peak Winter Hike Pictures!
GPS Track
Dan's Trip Report

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Claire New Years Update

Our New Years was pretty uneventful.  On Friday the 30th we applied for Claire's passport which is needed if we ever take her to Canada.  Kind of silly but it did make for a funny photo!  On New Years Eve I hiked with 18 (20?) others to Cervidae Peak just outside of Boise.  The weather was very mild (for December), the moon and stars were out, and there was no snow so it was quite enjoyable!  The past two years I skipped due to snowstorms and subzero temperatures so it was definitely a nice change.

The rest of the weekend was dominated by relaxation, football watching, and decoration-taking-downing.  Also, some more pictures of Claire are below!

Claire New Years Update!