Thursday, March 16, 2017

A Very White Winter in Nelson, British Columbia

If you happened to see our latest planny plan, you may know that we planned to spend most of the winter snowboarding in Nelson, British Columbia. It was our first return to Canada since our wedding in 2005.

Canada welcomed us with open arms

Our plans happened to coincide with a record-breaking snowfall for British Columbia and much of the west (lucky us!). In Nelson, schools were closed for the first time in 29 years. When we weren't backcountry snowboarding, we were digging out the truck, and the all important hot tub, buried under feet of snow. I'm not complaining.

One of many dumps, after which we had to figure out where to put all the snow

Well-shoveled path to the hot tub

We found a really special backcountry stash 11 miles from our house. It was a lovely treed area that enabled us to snowboard during high avalanche-danger and no-visibility days, which was almost everyday. Too many times, I was secretly hoping for a day off because my legs were screaming. Now, spring is here too early, and I wish I had never secretly thought those things...

Here are some pictures of the beautiful area:










An added bonus to our epic winter was the unusual amount of live music, especially in such a small town. One of our all time favorite bands (The Rural Alberta Advantage) stopped in Nelson between their big-city shows. It turned out to be one of the best concerts we've ever seen. The venue was small, and the band was really into it. Almost everyone there was a die-hard fan.

Other memorable parts of the winter included the time when I happened upon a pine marten (!!!) slowly climbing up a tree, all while keeping an eye on me. These little animals are insanely cute (cuter than a teddy bear?). I'm so glad I happened to have a camera handy. So was Scott, who was further down the hill, listening to me describe the encounter over our walkie-talkies.


One thing about Nelson and the surrounding area, is that it isn't exactly a sunny place in the winter. It definitely reminded us of the dreary Northwest winters we suffered through for 10+ years. When the sun came out, we took pictures (see above) and one day, Scott got particularly inspired:

Rockin' the moss-tache

Finally hippie-cool enough to live in Nelson!

"Believe me. My stylist does the moss amazing work. No toupee. Totally natural."

The snowy winter came to an abrupt end throughout the west. The rain is pouring on the mountains, so we are sadly packing our bags. Some of our favorite mountain biking destinations in Utah are reporting 70 - 80° F with sun. It's time for some vitamin D.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Planny Plan Part IV


We think we might have a planny plan!

While recently visiting my parents in Michigan, we spent countless hours trying to track down a winter rental, in a mountain town, for a season of backcountry snowboarding. As restless nomads, it's hard for us to commit to one place.  We finally settled on Nelson, British Columbia, Canada as the object of our affection. We found a rental online, sent them some money, and crossed our fingers that the photos didn't lie.

Welcome to British Columbia! Our last visit to Canada was in 2005 for our wedding.



Beautiful British Columbia

Turns out, the rental suite couldn't be a better match. We are so pleased. We live below the owners and have a wonderful little suite with everything we need. I had no idea I could be so in love with our own, WARM, DRY space. Now I can say... Living in El Tigre during the winter SUCKS!

Life is just too easy now


Another long story about what we will do after the winter...

We told many friends and family that we had plans to spend the 2017 summer/fall driving to/from Alaska. This past December, as we drove away from the Baja coastline, both of us were harboring silent regrets about wanting more (of Baja). Luckily, Scott spoke up. We realized that there were many things at play that required a change of plans. For one, since we had plans to spend the cold (potentially cloudy) winter snowboarding, we weren't sure we would be eager for a subsequent trip to Alaska. Most importantly, we both feel like we are at the cusp of becoming better surfers and good kite-surfers. At our age, this sort of competency and passion can disappear so quickly. As such, we've decided to return to Baja in 2017 to chase waves and wind and sun yet again. Alaska will be there when we are ready.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Chiricahua National Monument and a Little Surprise

As 2016 was coming to a close, we made our way from the deserts of Baja to the deserts of Arizona and New Mexico. Winter started to slap us in the face with temps near freezing. We hastily spent many days getting El Tigre ready for the upcoming winter months, while parked in Tuscon, Arizona.

Our eventual goal was to arrive in Denver where our friends, Melissa and Dave, had our winter toys stored in their basement. On the way, we hit Chiricahua National Monument.


This national monument protects the amazing rock formations that formed over the past 27 million years (!!!) due to erosion. Erosion is pretty cool.







Heather getting ready for a failed attempt of a head stand



We were amused with all of the "named" rock formations. Try to guess what these formations are named - some of them are more obvious than others (answers follow the set of pics):






Answers: Old Maid, Camel, Punch and Judy, Duck on a Rock

On to Denver we went, where we spent a couple of nights with Melissa and Dave. We ate yummy food, played cards, and enjoyed their cute pets.

Scott and Oscar enjoying their beds

My buddy Melissa making us some delicious dinner!


Cody finally got his bed back

YUMMY dinner! Thanks Melissa and Dave


Prior to arriving to Denver, I checked flights to Detroit and found an amazing deal. Soooo, we flew back to Michigan on Christmas day to surprise my (Heather's) family in Ann Arbor. I am a horrible liar so it took a lot out of me to pull this surprise off.

The surprise worked! We arrived just in time for dinner (although this picture was taken before dessert)!

Winter is tough for us in Michigan because we can't spend as much time outdoors as we are accustomed to.

Aunt Heather and Braxson jumping away the winter blues

Uncle Scott and Braxson playing football during a frigid Michigan winter

My sister introduced us to the art of selfies with a "photo booth" app. We promised we wouldn't share the pics of anyone.

This is how we entertain ourselves in Michigan during the winter

After quality time with friends and family, we headed back to Denver. Next blog post - The Planny Plan Part IV!

Monday, January 2, 2017

Kid Time in Baja

We reluctantly chose to leave our happy place in Baja, and head north back to the USA. Our happy place wasn't delivering (waves, that is) so we decided to head north, do some chores, and start the snowboarding season.

On our way north, we stopped in the Cataviña desert. We've passed this unique area many times, oohing and ahhing at the boulder fields and cacti, but never stopped long enough to really experience it. This time, we spent the night among the cacti and boulders, and in the morning got right to business exploring the area.

Camping in the Cataviña desert, Baja

Within a 0.5 mile area, we explored for more than an hour without retracing our steps. It was very easy to get disoriented. The rock formations, with caves and crevices, kept us climbing and descending the entire time. Our only mistake was not wearing gloves to deal with the abrasive rock.




The elusive Scott-bird, hatching out of his rock egg



Our favorite cactus of Baja, especially prevalent in the Cataviña desert, is the Boojum tree (or Cirio). It's like an upside-down carrot that can grow (slowly) up to 70 feet tall.

A blooming Boojum Tree (straight out of a Dr. Seuss book)





We decided to devote an entire blog post to this place, because we've passed by it so many times without taking the time to explore. If you happen to pass through the area during the winter (when it isn't so hot), take an hour or two to explore. You'll feel like a kid again.