northerly sprint...Part 1...Jackson, Wyoming...

My wife, Christine, was born on April 7th.  Celebrating her birthday on that day was never a problem for her before she got wrapped up with a pro skier.  That date happens to fall squarely in the middle of the prime-time for ski pros to be in Alaska getting after the big lines.  She has come to learn to deal with the harsh reality of being husbandless on her birthday over the years.  However, this year was especially difficult because it was the big 30 years old milestone.  I made a promise to her to take her on a really great trip in the summer to try to make up for my absence, and she would not have to lift a finger to plan it.  I had an idea that I thought she would love.  She is an avid ripping mountain biker, and a nature lover.  So I put together a plan, and set the wheels of our Jeep into motion with eager anticipation of what kind of adventures we would encounter on the journey.  This is the story of our first destination, which was the single track trails of Jackson, Wyoming.  Jackson proved to be a fabulous start to a whole northerly sprint that was to include not only Jackson, but Yellowstone National Park, and Bozeman, Montana. 

^We did not waste anytime.  We arrived in Jackson, and immediately hit up "The Hub".  It is a local bike shop that provided us a guide book to the trails of the Jackson area.  After consulting the book, we choose to start out at the Cache Creek Trailhead to take a run at the Ferrin's Loop in the Snow King Area.

^We took a slightly wrong turn at one point that delivered us to a slightly more difficult uphill climb, but we were up for the challenge.  We labored through the technical sections, but were still able to basically run the loop we had planned.  Ferrin's trail tops out in a saddle near the top of Snow King.  

^The trail started out in a shady canyon bottom, and climbed the hillside.  It started out a little more technical and rocky due to our slight left mistake.  Good trips are full of mistakes and wrong calls, but that is what makes them interesting.  Anytime I ride in a new place I consult a guide book, and that still doesn't guarantee that I will get it right every time.  However, our minor mistake did not take us off the Ferrin's Loop, and we kept great time.    

^Nearing the top section of the trail the Tetons started to show themselves to us through the trees.  At that point of trip Christine had not had a chance to see them.  We were both super stoked to get a glimpse of them through the trees.

^Christine is nearing the saddle that concluded the loop for us.  You can link up more in the trail network to run longer loops or any variety of options.  It was a perfect first ride for our trip, and it broke us in just right. 

^It broke me in a little more then I would have liked, but a little blood is good for me.  Taking a little pain helps keep me in check.  Where I come from the blood means your pushing yourself in the right way.

^We rushed back to check in with our reservation at the Jackson Hole Campground.  It was a good spot with a lot of shade, and a nice little creek running through the property.  Shower and bathroom facilities made it a great spot for us as well.

^On day two we made our way to the Game Creek Trailhead.  We did a really great out and back on some super buffed out single track up to Game Creek Divide and back.  Another shady ride through forested terrain and the aspen groves were a real treat.  It started out on a gravel road for a while, and then switched to single track rather quickly.  It was the perfect speed for my wife and I on the day after a pretty arduous ride the evening before.

^The beaver ponds were a cool sight.  We were fortunate enough to catch a whole beaver family out and working on their nest and dam.  It was really cool to watch them do their work.  They were munching on leaves, and dragging large sticks all throughout the scenic pond.  We sat and watched them for a while, and it was a really cool natural experience.

^As we ascended higher in elevation the views started to pop out.  The vast valleys were full of wild flowers and sunshine.  It was a perfect situation of dips and turns on a gradual up that was in and out of the shade and sun.  A couple different times the trail would emerge from the forested terrain and make a turn to suddenly open up to a vast valley and fantastic views. 

^I am a sucker for wildflowers.  

^Near the top of Game Creek Divide and Christine was finishing strong.  I loved these bright red flowers that were mixing in amongst the pinks, purples, whites, and vast greens of the terrain up high.  It was really a beautiful and somewhat mellow ride that had a lot of really good flow to it.  We turned around at Game Creek Divide, and rolled out in a slalom style downhill that turned back and forth through out the woods with supreme buffed out surfaces and great rhythm.  Christine loved this trail, and I really enjoyed it as well.  It was not super technical, but it had smooth rolling rhythm that I had a blast on. 

^We had to night cap the ride with some good food and good tunes at the Mangy Moose in the Teton Village near our campsite.  Teton Village is the home of Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, and I really wanted Christine to see the place that has been a huge part of my pro skiing career.  It was the site of my first film trip with Tough Guy Productions many years ago, and it will always have a near and dear place in my heart.  I have also had many great nights in the Mangy Moose.  I was stoked to be able to share the place with her a little bit.  A duo named Screen Door Porch were playing some fantastic mellow acoustic tunes, and it suited us just right.  I bought a CD for Christine.  

^Our last day in the Jackson area we stopped by Denny Ink. to visit my good friend, Eric Henderson.  Eric taught me how to ride the huge mountains.  He is a super bad ass telemark skier, and pioneer of our sport.  Eric was a fabulous guide for many years with Jackson Hole and Valdez Heli Ski Guides.  Some of my first endeavors into the huge mountains of Jackson and Alaska were under Eric's careful guidance.  I have learned so much from him, and I will be forever grateful for the influence he has had on my career.  The picture of the tastiness above is from the Shades Cafe in Jackson.  Eric suggested it to us on our last morning in town before we made our way north to Yellowstone.  This dish of "eggs tomavo" was unbelievably delicious.  So much so that I had to snap a photo of it.  After seeing my old friend, and filling our bellies, we jumped back into our Jeep and throttled north.  In my next post I will share the journey that had us passing through Teton National Park on up to our next destination at Yellowstone National Park for some wild thermal phenomenons, and wild life encounters.  The epic continued, and we were already so happy.  The best news was we were just barely into our stellar northerly sprint.

Fresh ride...

I am getting out, and getting after it these days.  My healing season is over, and it is time to whip myself back into shape.  That means a lot more mountain biking.  That also means a lot more time at my favorite shop in Utah, 2nd Tracks Sports.  My good friend, Ben Johnson, and his wife Katie are the owners of this super cool new and used gear shop at 2927 East 3300 South in Salt Lake City.  They usually have the best deals on gear and repair work in town.  I have a tendency to beat the crap out of my recreational tools.  Ben and his staff keep me up to date, and in working order.  He has full-time bike mechanics, and everything else I need to keep going for it.  

^In this photo, Ben is outside the shop showing this young family how to get themselves rolling this summer.  

^Ben also hooked me up with this fresh new ride for my big adventure coming up with my wife, Christine, next week.  Christine and I are headed north to ride single track trails from Jackson Hole on up to Bozeman, Montana.  We are stoked, and thanks to Ben, Katie, and all the folks over at 2nd Tracks Sports, I am now up to speed to be able to keep up with my ripping wife.  Stoked.  Go check them out!