Monday, April 18, 2016

New Blog


In case you end up here and are looking for more posts, find us here at! We are planning a month-long water sampling/whitewater kayaking trip for May!


Sunday, February 21, 2016

Lochsa Kayaking

Checking the water levels as I exited my third and last exam of the week, I was jittery with anticipation, 5,000 CFS. Two weeks of exams in my final college semester had me caged and pacing as I studied indoors all day, but now... freedom! I bounced on my walk home from campus, getting home and throwing all my gear into my drybag between snatched bites of lunch. Boats loaded on top of the car, ramen and people inside, we were finally off to the Lochsa River for a few days of kayaking. We pulled up the The Ghetto, a patch of soggy, river-front land that the kayakers and rafters gather on every weekend that the river is running. Tired from a six hour drive post-work/school, we raised the teepee and crashed hard. Awake with the sun I fired up the jetboil for a morning cup of mate to watch the low wisps of clouds writhe upward through the dripping forests, so thrilled to be alive and outdoors. There's some vital part of my core, my existence, that only revels in being surrounded by stately forests, sleeping with the soft patter of rain on the teepee, being a little cold and wet and hungry because it reminds me that I'm alive. I was brimming with happiness as we put on the river directly from camp (along with a lone cat-boater/minor alcoholic we picked up along the way). The sun glinted off the riffles of that swift green river and turned each raindrop into a glittering prism falling through the sky. We hit rapid after rapid, dancing around roaring holes and smashing through huge waves. Piles of whitewater tossed us down each section as we braced from side to side with our paddles, there are very few consistent adrenaline rushes like whitewater kayaking. After the eleven-mile run, we hiked our boats up from the river with huge grins, chattering teeth (I guess it IS February still), and stiff muscles. After hitchiking back to camp that night we trekked through the snow to a nearby hot springs for a lengthly soak under alternating rain, stars, and snow. Sleeping hard again that night, warm socks on our feet, we again woke early to a low line of snow across the nearest hills, antsy to throw ourselves at the Lochsa River once more.

Again no photos. Lo siento.


Awake at 5 am, tucked away in the mountains surrounding Cooke City, I packed up my sleeping bag and skied the three miles out to the car. Twelve hours later I was aboard a flight... destination? Panama. Backcountry ski days at -12 degrees flipped to humid mid 80's overnight and with the sun barely cresting the horizon our tiny plane dropped low over Bocas Del Toro island: tiny surfers dotted the peeling waves and the jungle was bathed in golden sunlight. The airlines lost my only bag (see ya later DLSR camera), but we didn't have to wait for baggage to arrive at least... Skating to the hostel, we downed a quick smoothie breakfast and hastily layered on zinc sunscreen before grabbing our boards and running barefoot through the streets to the ocean's edge. Ramshackle huts in every color of the rainbow crowd the waterfront, suspended on crooked stilts. We ducked into a peeling turquoise one offering boat taxis and handed over two dollars each to hop into one of the thick fiberglass hulls. The driver idled to a stop at a reef break a kilometer out in the bay and we hucked both our boards and bodies out into the water as he took off. We surfed the glowing turquoise waves for three hours before whistling at the next boat taxi to motor us back to the town. We had to cram three people, surfboards and associated gear into two bunkbeds, the hostel overflowing with travelers from around the globe. There were melodic and guttural languages spilling out from every room, the open air kitchen full of a world's worth of cuisine, dogs running in off the streets and being chased out again, and sunburned people relaxing in hammocks. We surfed the temperate, waist-to-head high lefts the first four days straight, only stopping for food, naps, and sunscreen. Sea urchins were stepped on, coral was kicked, the sun burned us, and jellyfish wrapped their tentacles around us, but every day we fervently threw ourselves at the ocean, blind to everything but the fluid high of surfing. When the swell finally died down we borrowed leaky sea kayaks, walking down the streets with them balanced on our heads, and surfed the three foot breaks the once-firing lefts had become. Flying fish skipped across the ocean for hundreds of feet, pelicans skimmed the glassy surfaces of waves, and we capsized the huge yellow double kayak more than we stayed upright. A week in, we channeled our inner tourist and booked a boat tour for my buddy's birthday. Dolphins crested alongside the boat, sloths hung out on the tiny islands that explode with life, dotting the bays, and we followed the currents with snorkels for hours, captivated by the vibrant sponges and corals, and the vibrant, flashy fish. We ambled down the crooked wooden docks to grass thatched huts, peering through the cracks to watch the fish flow with the currents. Then we went deepboarding behind the boat, copying the twisting and flipping of the fish under the water, skimming inches above the coral bottom. At night we would rally all the friends we could, german, swiss, dutch, argentinian, and go dancing out at the bars. There's decks that span out over the ocean, packed with people grooving under the stars, with holes cut in the center for swimming in the sea. We would surf all day, nap for a few hours, go out and dance, and then sleep hard for a few hours before doing at all again. Toward the end of the trip my buddy ran into an old friend and we took him up on joining him on his 60' sailboat for a few days for more snorkleing, backflips off the deck, lounging in beanbags on deck, diving for conch and goring them open. We traded cans of juice for fish from the bored out canoe of a native woman and grilled them up. We waited until nightfall and went swimming in the bioluminescent plankton, glowing trails dotting our every movement until the ocean's depths mirrored the stars above. My last day in Bocas the swell finally kicked in again. We hopped on a boat taxi out to caraneros, a beautiful left point break. Shoulder high waves peeled again and again as we glided down the smooth turquiose faces one after the next for hours. The sun glinted off our wide grins as we fell deeper in love with surfing with every passing moment.

Since the lost bag never resurfaced with my DLSR camera, no photos for awhile...

Friday, January 1, 2016

Woody Creek Cabin

Some friends booked the Woody Creek Cabin in the Beartooth-Absaroka Wilderness over New Years, and invited me to join. After boating the Lochsa the day before, I set out driving through the park, swerving around bison, and started skinning in. The cabin is nestled 2.5 miles up in an Wilderness Area, and as we approached the buzz of the sleds faded, replaced with the soft silence of snowy woods. The brewmaster of Snake River Brewing loaded up packs full of his finest (yeah Pakitos!), so all nine of us stayed fully hydrated. The next three days were spent exploring the drainage, from all the way up to the football field,

to six laps on the ridge below the submarine. We slept under glittering stars in Montana, and skinned across the border to shred pow during the day. 

Friday, December 18, 2015

Beaver Creek Cabin

Skis? Check.
Boots? Check.
Widespread, cracking, woomfing, propagating snow instability? Check.

With our semester's finals over and nothing but pow in our future, a group of friends and I loaded the essentials (whiskey, M&Ms, and ski gear) into a car and took off for three days of skiing in the Southern Madison Range. We had rented out a tiny forest service cabin tucked deep in the Gallatin National Forest, away from all responsibility except to ski. We skinned in the 3.5 miles, the one sled present loaded down with an entire keg of Bozeman Brewing's finest ale, and dropped our packs at the cabin. The next several hours were spent perfecting our adventure-skinning techniques, fighting off the grasp of shrubbery while trying to maneuver our skis over deadfall. The touring-to-skiing ratio was heavily skewed toward touring, but provided both an excellent workout and an exercise in tree trimming. The next day dawned early with huge hunks of bacon in tow (Red, the dog contingent, slavered away to no avail). We tiptoed across creeks over snow bridges, fought off the forest once more, but did end up atop a pristine snowfield that we promptly decimated with ski tracks. That night, after several rowdy rounds of drinking games, culminated in a naked backflip under the stars, several barefoot laps around the cabin, and a quick and shirtless lesson in tele skiing. The final day found us touring up a ridge toward a distant peak, but when the snow suddenly whoomfed, settling into a scary silence while cracks shot out and up the steeper slope ahead of us. Needless to say, we hightailed it out and lapped the nearby meadow for hours on end, sculpting kickers, creating perfect figure eight turns, and smiling in the sun.

Saturday, November 28, 2015


The desert holds an alien mystique no matter how deep you delve in it's fissures. It's a desolate and inhospitable landscape, but also one teeming with hidden life. Life held in the twisting claws of juniper, blossoming in the rivulets that run from spring to algae-laden pothole, and in the spirits of the few hardy people who return year after year. The few that arrive like clockwork each fall and spring come to dance up the sandstone pillars, glide down bike trails along the canyon rims, and explore the twisting labyrinths of the slot canyons. By the end of each trip their skin is stained the same deep orange as the desert, their pockets are full of sand, and their grins glint from freckled faces. 

We spent our Thanksgiving break climbing down in Indian Creek... Creeksgiving! Driving overnight after classes, we shotgunned PBRs with the sunrise in the parking lot and headed to the crag to climb some splitters. Jamming fingers in corner crack systems, thrashing up offwidths, thin hands soaring up inside a cave... we climbed it all. Life in the desert is so unique, so simple, such a vital part of me. The warmth that bathes your face as the sun rises above the far hills. The grit showering down into your eyes and crunching between your teeth on climbs. The hot flames and thin, fragrant smoke from a burning juniper. The brilliant purples, oranges, blues as the desert chameleons into night. The smooth, striped walls of a slot canyon twisting out of sight. An impossibly blue sky overhead. The swath of brilliant stars and swollen moon that submerges the landscape in moonlight. It's the stuff of Desert Solitaire, of adventure, the final untamable landscape. And Abbey is right, you have to leap out of your car, rip off your shoes, and run out into it all. You have to pull cactus spines from your skin, have to nap in the dirt, have to get away from society and up cliffs or down canyons or along trails. I had never been to the desert up until three years ago, I had no idea what I was missing. But now, from spending a collective month biking along sheer cliff rims, hiking in canyons with Anasazi ruins perched high above, jumping into icy potholes, and climbing the golden cliffs, the desert has worked its way into my life it a permanent fashion. I've become part of the annual desert pilgrimage, the mass migration to seek sunlight and adventure and a freeing of the soul. 

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Preseason Training

Skian With Rhys - Episode Uno

We dropped the first of (hopefully) many "sweet" edits today... Preseason workout tactics including proper nutrition, beacon practice, and weightlifting. Check it out!

Skian WIth Rhys - Episode Uno from Kirra Kirra on Vimeo.