Monday, April 4, 2016

Moby Tribute

Thanks Moby for bringing so much joy and laughter and unconditional love into our family!   So much personality and character - the gentle and regal giant...miss you buddy!

Dad picked me up at the Denver airport and our long adventure began!  I was a little wrinkly at first until I started to grow into my skin.
We bonded pretty quickly and became best buds
He taught me manners and made me wait for my food - ohh, it was so hard as everyone knows I loved loved LOVED my food!!

Dad confined me to the bedroom until I proved I could handle the run of the house on my own...although this sad face might have helped speed that process up!
I grew quickly and my play drive was insatiable!  
I made lots of friends in Denver - even this little baby squirrel!
 I started to get super coordinated and could show off when there might have been a treat in it for me!
 I remember the Denver Spring Blizzard of '06!!
There was tons of snow to play in...It was so deep I had to have dad help me find a grassy spot to dookie!
 Keeping Pops company on one of many climbing trips - this one in Enchanted Tower, NM!
An adventure in Tensleep!  my paws got a little tender from all that I know why the parentals whined about their skin when climbing!
Soon after my first year of keeping track of dad, a new family member joined the pack!  I would grow to accept and love her in leaps and bounds!  I was always so excited when she got home!!
Helping mom study and get through residency in Denver:
Where you going?  and why are you going without me??
Hanging with my first puppy crush in Golden!
showing off for my puppy crush....
I was best pup at Mom/Pop's big day...check out my bow tie!
We moved to Montana where I had to get over being an only dog and learned to tolerate my little bro Otis
Truth be told, that when no one was watching, I actually enjoyed that little dude!
 I was not a huge fan of the Montana winters, but we got out and explored when it was not too cold!
I am a lion hunter!  
 Showed my bro how to not be scared in Targhee
Showing the little dude how to explore...and yes I am the king of this castle!
We went to Yellowstone where I growled ferociously at some Bison - ohh, they were lucky that I could not get out!
 We went on some great road trips and I got see the Tetons and saw and smelled all sorts of good stuff!
After Montana, we moved to my 3rd state:  Oregon!!

I proved that Ridgies do like water when we road tripped up to Whistler.
 Bend is my jam!!
My new stomping grounds in Bend!
Did I tell you how much I love Bend?!?!  Just like my pops, I started to get some of that white hair as I got more distinguished!
Mom and Dad taking care of me after the removal of some tumors.
I got super spoiled over my last few months but I earned every bit of it!!  and no, that beer was not for me...just a funny photo opp in a tough time while I recovered and got strong again.  I managed to continue to give lots of love to my family for another 5 months of awesomeness!!

Friday, February 12, 2016

Mt Hood Cooper Spur Day 2

After a great initial day of exploring, I was anxious to get up and get another good lap in before heading home.  We followed the prior day's tracks up the mountain and were gobsmacked by how incredibly clear and warm it was.

As we ascended, we realized the snow conditions were better.  The icy spots were softer and we were picking our way up the spur.  We collectively decided to keep moving up until the snow conditions turned into consistent ice.  We ended up transitioning just below the spot and were treated to amazing views and awesome turns.  There were a couple of other people on the spur but we mostly had the area to ourselves and were spoiled to have the area completely to ourselves as we descended.  Pure unadulterated bliss!

Pictures speak volumes so here we go:

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Mt Hood Cooper Spur - Day 0 / Day 1

Oliver was kind enough to extend an invite up to the Tilly Jane Guard station for a hut trip up at Mt Hood.  I jumped on the invite and was psyched to check out a new area and have a new adventure.  

The loose plan was to take snowmobiles up on an access road so we could avoid the 2.5 mile, 1900 ft grind of an approach.  Taking the sleds would allow us to pack heavy and eliminate the steep approach to the hut.  We would get there with fresh legs for the following two days of split-boarding.  

We made inquiries and it sounded like sleds were allowed on the road to Cloud Cap (could not stray off the road) and that there was adequate snow coverage.  We unloaded the sleds and started making our way up.  It turned out to be much tricker than what we had originally thought.  Once the road went into the more open areas, it was really difficult to discern where the road was.  Fortunately O had his GPS with him and we were able to stay on the road by checking every few hundred feet that we were still on it.  
The road was not maintained during the winter and what compounded the obviousness of the road was that snow had piled up on the sidehills rendering the road invisible.  After several more stops to confirm we did not stray off the road, we started to encounter the next crux.  This proved to be the stopper crux section as the terrain got steeper and the snow on the sidehills proved too much for our comfort zone and skill level on the sleds.  
After a quick re-assesment we decided to forge ahead and see if things got better...a stuck sled later, and some pucker sidehilling on the sled made us reevaluate once again.  We decided it would be prudent to turn around and head back as the terrain was only getting steeper and more challenging.
Long story short...we wrested sleds for a couple of hours, rode them back to the cars where we loaded them back up and succumbed to the harsh reality of still having to slog up the long approach.  

The worst part was that we had packed heavy (turns out beer is heavy to carry, even heavier after sled wrestling).  I had not really packed appropriately for the approach skin as I had only brought along an expedition duffle and my day touring bag.  This was going to be an interesting skin up.  I figured out how to carry the duffle on my bag and carry the day bag on my chest.  I could now fully sympathize with someone who might have had a few too many big macs over the years as I could no longer see my feet with my day bag hanging off like a portly belly.

We questioned our sanity several times as we made our way up the was slow going...70 pounds of crap hanging off you will slow you down a bit..go figure!?

After some groveling and pain, we eventually arrived at the guard station where we elated at the prospect of shedding weight and drinking the hard earned (and heavy) beers.  All was well with the world as we settled in, enjoyed the fire, cracked beers, and discussed the next day's adventures.

Day 1 included heading up the ridgeline up towards Cooper Spur where we were treated to phenomenal views.  We analyzed the snow situation on the way up and tried figuring out what our descent would be.  As we got above treeline, the snow changed to more of a scoured snow pack with ice sections.  In the interest of enjoying our turns, we turned around below the Cooper Spur and made our way back down to the hut for Lap 1.  
We basked in the nice temps and amazing views while above treeline.  You could see Adams, Helens, Rainier with views for miles and miles...nope, the views did not suck!

As we got back into treeline, the snow got better and the turns more enjoyable.  We picked our way through the trees down a gulley and eventually ended up back where we had started.

We were back at the hut in no time where we ate some lunch and lolly-gagged for a couple hrs before the big O and I went out for a sunset lap.  Rainier was basking in alpenglow and we enjoyed a few minutes of serenity until we transitioned back into ride mode and once again were picking our way through trees and gullies back to the hut.  A solid effort for day 2 was still ahead of us and we were curious as to what mother nature had in store for us.  It sort of felt like we got away with one relative to weather on day 1 (and the approach day for that matter).  Would we hit the lucky trifecta of good weather?