24-hour crushing push...

It is a very busy time of year for me, and I struggle to keep a place for getting out under the big blue sky to keep my priorities in perspective. Slow is smooth, smooth is efficient, and efficient is fast.  Making time to get out into the great wide open spaces keeps the balance that makes all aspects of my world thrive.  It all feeds itself.  In a busy schedule sometimes you need to be creative to make the time.  My pro ski career and vast adventures also require that I am in top physical condition, which doesn't happen without putting in the time.  That means finding that time to put in as well.   My latest push included some gritty creativity.  I had a lot of work to do in the morning on this particular day.  However, I had scheduled a rendezvous with Willard Bay in the northern Wasatch at three o'clock in the afternoon so I had to get everything done on time.  I was all over the show in south Salt Lake City, but managed to wrap everything up down there in time to sprint north to make it to Willard by three o'clock.  Once I arrived, my good friends, Ben Geiger and Rob Harris were right behind me, and it had begun.  We were about to make a 24-hour push that would leave me torn up from head to toe.    
^After making it to Willard right on time, we were in business.  Ben Geiger is in the water, and ready for his first roll in the wake of his big retro beauty, Brown Sugar.  The large old boat sits deep in the water and throws up a rather nice wave at roughly eight miles per hour.  It is a slow deep wake that rises up out of the lake to give just enough push to surf the wave.  

^Ben is making a little cutback in this photo.  Wakesurfing is a surprisingly incredible workout in balance and smooth dynamics.  Ben makes it look easy, but I can assure you it harder then it appears.  It also works me out in a big way.  Check out this video I shot from my iPhone of just how easy he makes it look.  Looks like a lot of fun too, doesn't it.  It is.

^We put the wraps on the surfing session near sunset.  After a drink on Ben's front porch I was back home in bed with my wife by eleven o'clock at night.  I flopped all around trying to force myself to sleep because I had an early rise the next morning to complete the 24-hour circuit.  The same crew had a seven-thirty rendezvous at Rob's house near North Fork Park.  We were going to finish off our weary bodies with a mountain bike rip through the park.  

^While slightly behind schedule, and a lot more sore from the surfing then I thought I would be, I made it up to North Fork.  The good thing about the northern Wasatch is that there is no one else around so it doesn't matter what time you start.  We met up at Rob's house and finished our coffee in the morning with Rob and his lovely wife and family.  He has a gorgeous home nestled in the woods overlooking the park.  We parked at his house, and rode out into the great wide open of North Fork Park.  

^We all did get some sleep in between, but it certainly did not feel that way.  The climbs were steep, and we were putting the last of ourselves into it.  We had a pretty grand ride ahead, and we were determined to finish strong.  

^The shady loops at elevation helped keep the temperatures down.  That was a blessing.  We were all digging deep to find the strength to push through.  Our final loop is a rigorous trail that our friend, Paul Wright, had built in the park a few years back.  It is a smooth and steep ascent that flows up the hillside very well.  Each one of us were laboring through the steep climb, but none of us were willing to get off the saddle and have to report to Paul that we had to jump out of our pedals on his trail.    

^We sent this photo to Paul to thank him for the great trail, and probably prove to ourselves the milestone we had put ourselves through as well.  The downhill was the icing on the cake.  We rallied back down through the park.  The downhill had great flow and smooth transitions throughout the finish.  Which was nice because I did not have much left in me to be able to rattle through anything loose and rocky.  I was starting to loose my legs.  The forested terrain offered smooth buffed out ground to wrap up the ride.  I have to train hard to make it through all the wild adventures I encounter, and this 24-hour push was no exception.  The natural spaces are inspirational, and the laboring efforts are the training I need to keep on top of my game.  It was quite the adventure of it's own when I put the whole event all together.  It makes it all more fun when the training becomes an adventure all of it's own.  A cold beer at Rob's house at about three o'clock completed the 24-hour crush session in proper fashion.  I'd like to thank Rob's wife for sacrificing her last three beers in the fridge for us.  They were a delicious way to put my body to rest because it was officially toast.  Rest and stretching were all that would be on my training schedule for the next couple days.  With the timing of the session though I did not really miss a beat in all of my other work.  Also the nature of the push replicates my wild winter life at times rather well.  Sometimes I have to push through long periods of time with little sleep or rest.  I often find myself traveling through the night and pushing a sunrise shoot or rushing around for some sort of nature induced session of trying to get it done while the conditions are lining up.  I love every minute of it, and ripping out an epic  like this with Ben and Rob is all part of it.  I've got to be able to perform, even when I've got nothing left.    

Northerly sprint... part three... Bozeman and a buddy...

Christine and I headed out of the north entrance of Yellowstone National Park through to quant little town called Gardiner, Montana.  My old friend, Spencer Porter, was meeting us at the local grocery store.  We spotted him from the road.  He was tooling around behind his truck in his trailered drift boat.  We were to float down a section of the Yellowstone River for the afternoon.  We were stoked to see him, and to get to experience a bit of his backyard.  In Montana, the backyard is vast. 

^Porter slings a fly rod on the Yellowstone River.  Nice day, nice cast, good company all the way around.  Porter is the best fisherman I have ever seen.  I was stoked for Christine to get to see a great fly fisherman doing his thing while inside of his element.  I can try to explain it, but it does no justice to getting to see someone who is great at it in person.      

^A nest, and our local buddy.

^Christine took a go at it.  I think she's a natural.

^An awesome day on the river, and we were tired out.  Porter's dog, Jaya, expressed my sentiments exactly.  Some grub on the town with Porter, and we called it in pretty early.  It was a great day.

^The next morning, Porter had a group to guide down the river, and we had a trail near Big Sky Resort to find.  We wanted to check out the area, and then find a good trail to ride in the afternoon.  The fellas down at Gallatin Alpine Sports were a huge help.  They gladly sold me some guide maps, and gave me a really great run down of everything the area had to offer.  I was so stoked by their welcoming nature and fantastic advice.  That is customer service, old school style, like when people used to help each other out.  It is not dead, at least not at G.A.S.  In the photo above, Christine is laboring up the North Ridge Road trail.  

^The wildflowers were in full bloom in the damp terrain.  The trail climbed a ridge, and then dropped down steeply into the canyon.  The down was loaded with steep switchbacks and breakouts into vast meadows littered with wildflowers.


^See... vast, scenic, steep, beautiful, and breath taking.

^The damp canyon bottom was a rocky and rolling ride along the trickling creek.  We crossed over it a few different times, which offered good chances to take a break to enjoy the calm waters of the cold creek.

^Then jump back on and rip.  

^Christine is crossing the creek one last time near the out of the trail.  We rolled out to the trailhead, and quickly packed up our gear to rush back to Bozeman.  We were meeting Porter for dinner, and also packing up the rig to hit the road at three o'clock in the morning that night.  Dinner was a good send off along with the public shooting in downtown Bozeman during our after dinner drinks.  It was surely the talk of the small city for a while I am sure.  The streets were buzzing on our walk back to Porter's place.  After the excitement of a regular wild west scene settled down we said good night and good-bye to Porter.  We caught a few hours sleep, and then hit the road dark and early.  

^I pulled a road warrior shift and we made it back to Utah in great time.  Christine did a lot of this on the way, but I was happy to see it.  I took her out on a pretty ambitious journey, and she handled it like a soldier.  I am really proud of her for ripping like a dude, and spending a whole week camping and couch surfing.  She definitely got a taste of what it is like to be an adventurer on the move.  My life is a crazy one.  I am pleased to have found a women who can not only keep up, but truly love the experiences.  Amazing things happen when you put yourself out there in wild places and opportunities.  We had an epic trip in some of the most beautiful natural terrain on the planet.  We are building a life together that embraces the best of what each of us has to offer.  I was stoked to take Christine on the kind of adventure that I have built my life around.  I think she enjoyed herself, and experienced some things she might never have imagined she ever would have.  I am so blessed in so many ways.

Northerly sprint... part two... Yellowstone in two...

The run northward had kicked off really well in Jackson, and the next move was to Yellowstone National Park.  The drive is a non-stop scenic view show that seldom disappoints.  I had travelled this road a few years back on a solo epic of my own, and was blown away.  It was no less spectacular this time around.  Plus, now I was able to share it with my wife, Christine.  We were getting good luck all the way north so far, and it seemed the blessings would continue.

^North of Jackson, and on the way to Yellowstone, is Grand Teton National Park.  It has a unique history, and this view of Christine and I overlooking Jackson Lake with the Tetons towering over it is all-time.  Pretty spectacular.  

^After the scenic drive north through Grand Teton National Park, we soon entered the destination at Yellowstone National Park.  We quickly set  up our campsite, and got back on the road because we were only going to have barely two days in the park.  We began on the west side near our camping spot at Grant Village.  We worked our way up the western side of the park.  Our first stop was the all to famous, Old Faithful.  When I came through years ago I did not stop there so neither Christine nor I had ever seen it.  We decided it had to be in and thankfully we rolled up, took a seat, and within five minutes of our arrival it was erupting.  

^Oooohhh, aaaahhhh.  Click... and see ya.  We were gone, and on to the next.  The whole experience was crammed into about a twenty minute show.  Then we were off to another Yellowstone attraction.  It was kind of funny to us how we were just working our way up the road north like a Disney style attraction from one crazy natural feature to the next.  We downloaded an app for our iPhones that also guided us through the park, but it was sub-par at best.  Despite any disappointing technology, or corny amusement park jokes, we saw some amazing sights that truly blew our minds.  It really is like no other place that I know of.  I will let the pictures do most of the talking.

^What the?

^Really, really hot, but pretty damn cool.


 ^"Seriously... are we here right now.  Is this for real?  You better take my picture."

^It is all real, and it is all so crazy.  You really are in the belly of a volcano.  It is a surreal experience. Colors so vibrant that you want to touch them, but water so hot it would scorch your ass if you tried.  Sometimes, I'd try to envision the early explorers coming upon this place and just freaking out at what they were seeing.  We called it a day as the sun was going down so that we could operate around our camp with at least a little light.  We had to make dinner and get to bed early, because the next day we were cruising up the east side toward a rendezvous with our good friend Spencer Porter in Gardner, Montana, at the north entrance to the park. 

^As we were sharing a breakfast burrito, and speeding up the east side of the park, we ran into all sorts of wildlife.  This stoic fella was feeding in the meadow near the road.  He was unphased by our pulled over picture extravaganza.  He gave us this look, and then proceed to eat his breakfast.  It seems we are all on somewhat of the same schedule despite our vastly different existences.  So, Christine and I got back on the road, and did the same with our own steamy monster burrito breakfast.  

^This big guy is doing some breakfast grubbing of his own.

^Dealing with the morning commute.

^He is in no hurry.  He makes the rules around here.

^ As we neared the northern entrance we passed through this wild hoodoo section.  It was pretty eerie in there.  It was a really neat spot, and the app did inform us that it had historical significance to almost every culture that ever passed through it.  I can see and feel why.  

^Of course, at Mammoth Hot Springs, near the northern entrance to the park, was a fitting good-bye for us.  As we passed through the small outpost spot there were deer just laying out in the sun in the town square type area.  It was pretty entertaining to see them milling amongst the humans without a care in the world.  They know where they are.  There was a park ranger on point watching over them to make sure no silly human felt too invited by the deer's calm welcoming attitudes to make a bad human decision.  I smiled as I drove by and put the cap on the Yellowstone leg of our trip.  We were looking forward to our next adventure that was to accompany our rendezvous with Porter.  Yes, we all call him by his last name.  I had not seen him in some time.  Both Christine and I were super excited to get there.  He was going to be taking us down the Yellowstone River in his drift boat in the afternoon.  We'd also be bunking at this crash pad in a more proper home with a real bathroom that night.  All that alone was exciting enough, but we also had our sights set on riding near Big Sky resort, and partying a bit with our good friend in Bozeman, Montana.