Food, lately.

I strive to be a minimalist in every area except the kitchen. I find cooking and baking therapeutic. I love grocery shopping and sampling new foods (except for the dairy products that make my tummy hurt), and I have a slight obsession with cool kitchen gadgets and gizmos – yet somehow we’ve managed to keep our kitchen simple – without too many trinkets and funny-shaped appliances.

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some of our favorite staple ingredients.

On the meal front lately, I’ve attempted to make notes of our non-recipe favorites while continuing to explore other meal options without bending on our food budget. One meal that makes the list: a tasty breakfast mix of muesli, raisins, nuts, and almond milk. This meal was a pleasant surprise and makes oatmeal seem plain. Mix ingredients together and simmer on the stove for about 10 minutes – add a banana or brown sugar afterward and boom – instant satisfaction (sorry, no photo to add).

I also experimented with a nut loaf recipe and like the breakfast dish, it too, turned out delicious. A mixture of lentils, onions, celery, cheese, almonds and egg made for a hearty dinner at the Davis household.

nut loaf amid green salad.

Do you have any favorite meals as of late? Or new recipes you’d like to share?

Settling In

Now that it is the middle of January, we’ve finally been able to adjust to our new schedules a bit more, build a routine around E’s obscure work hours, and begin to enjoy Golden; our new town. Recently, we’ve been tackling some major projects (i.e., we bought a new car, we’re still crafting a post from our trip to Mexico, I’ve been job hunting-aggressively, and we’ve been bouldering [a lot] at our mega-mega climbing gym: Earth Treks).

fresh coffee and snow this morning. yum.

Thankfully, I’ve been able to help take-on our big to-do’s without entering or learning a new job. Currently, my work schedule offers a lot of flexibility and working from home has been terrific. I can have several cups of coffee, read too many books and articles on food and new recipes, chat with friends, surf the internet, go for a run and still get all of my work done. It’s been awesome. I am going to miss this working from home thing, especially when working is no longer from the comfort of my cozy kitchen chair and favorite coffee mug.

Overall, I’d say, things are shaping up nicely. Next big ticket items on the to-do list: land a sweet job, explore the area with new and old friends, and enjoy the pow and rock in Colorado!

A New Year

I am not a big believer in New Year’s resolutions, at least not the get-down-on-yourself variety that suggest there are numerous issues that need fixing. For me, a new year calls for positivity, adventure and experimenting with new things. Instead of merely talking about exploring the area, sampling new recipes, spices and foods, enrolling in another Spanish class, or getting involved more with our local community, I plan to follow through. Colorado is a large state with neat places to see and people to greet. I have a good feeling about this mountainous state and the adventures that await.

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here we go!

So, 2014, here’s to you – breaking out of routines, trying new things and pushing past comfort zones.

Our New Home in Golden

We’ve arrived! And man does it feel good… Before we get any further we have to thank Paula and Jeff for putting us up in Fort Collins while we scrambled around the greater Front Range area looking for places to live. They were INCREDIBLY accommodating and just plain fun to hang out with too!

After leaving Hailey just over a week ago we are all settled into our new home here in Golden, CO. Our new home address is:

1140 9th St Unit B
Golden CO, 80401

Of course winter arrives the DAY we decided to start packing the cars!

Of course winter arrives the DAY we decided to start packing the cars!

Echo Canyon was beautiful with a dusting of new snow! Made for crazy driving, as my windshield wipers were epically slow and lacked wiper fluid.. but we made it.

Echo Canyon was beautiful with a dusting of new snow! Made for crazy driving, as my windshield wipers were epically slow and lacked wiper fluid.. but we made it.

Downtown. Loaded with cool shops including a cool mountaineering and gear shop!

Downtown. Loaded with cool shops including a mountaineering and gear shop!

Robyn and I went for a walk this morning and found this nice coffee shop overlooking main street and the surrounding mesas.

Robyn and I went for a walk this morning and found this nice coffee shop overlooking main street and the surrounding mesas.

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The newest brewery to open in Golden.

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Yup. The Atomic Burger has a Front Range Cousin. Send treats!

Excited to go chat with these guys about my family history of mountaineering in the area.

Excited to go chat with these guys about my family history of mountaineering in the area.

Golden City Brewing Company. Headed back to check this place out tonight!

Golden City Brewing Company. Headed back to check this place out tonight!

When this brewery opened they joked about being the second largest brewery in town (to Coors). Now there are 3 other micros to choose from.

When this brewery opened they joked about being the second largest brewery in town (to Coors). Now there are 3 other micros to choose from.

Still not exactly sure what the laws are here. But people walk around smoking bowls like cigarettes.

Still not exactly sure what the laws are here, but people walk around smoking bowls like cigarettes.

Front of our new place! Nice little sunny yard and a fire pit. The whole thing was a barn on a historic estate back in the day. As a house now it offers a slender layout with high ceilings.

Front of our new place! Nice little sunny yard and a fire pit. The whole thing was a barn on a historic estate back in the day. As a house now it offers a slender layout with high ceilings.

The kitchen as seen from the living room. The stairs lead up to the bedrooms, bathroom and a small laundry room.

The kitchen as seen from the living room. The stairs lead up to the bedrooms, bathroom and a small laundry room.

Robyn and Trixie owning IKEA. New queen mattress, frame and area rug.

Robyn and Trixie owning IKEA. New queen mattress, frame and area rug.

Assembly. Aside from shattering some things… I think I did an alright job, hasn't collapsed yet!

Assembly. Aside from shattering some things… I think I did an alright job, hasn’t collapsed yet!

Although we have -15 F, crazy winds and a random window collapse to deal with our plants made it to Colorado in relatively good health. Lucky for them there is a nice big sunny window for them to rest under in our new room.

Although we had temps at -15 F, crazy winds and a random window collapse to deal with our plants made it to Colorado in relatively good health. Lucky for them there is a nice big sunny window to rest under in our new room.

The first of what will become a pile of CO climbing guides. Shelf Road is 2 hours south and offers great winter climbing. Looks fun!

The first of what will become a pile of CO climbing guides. Shelf Road is 2 hours south and offers great winter climbing. Looks fun!

Our room. All moved in!

Our room. All moved in!

The closest of the four micros. The Mountain Toad is only 2 blocks (past the murals) to our house. Seems to be packed every night and they offer some great beers. IPA's were nice a bit piney and resiny as they warmed.

The closest of the four micros. The Mountain Toad is only 2 blocks (past the murals) to our house. Seems to be packed every night and they offer some great beers. IPA’s were nice, a bit piney and resiny as they warmed.

Looking at a map it’s fairly easy to see why Golden felt so much more like home than Boulder or any of the other surrounding towns initially did. Golden is nestled into the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, and insulated from the greater Denver area by large mesas. Unbelievably, you can be in Denver in just 20 minutes and even ride the light rail into town (Blazers play here in Feb!). Walking around town in Golden though, you would never know how close Denver was.

After some hectic days of unpacking, moving, cleaning and organizing we are finally settled. Our pharmacies are switched, mail forwarded, climbing gym memberships secured and local microbreweries (4 of them!) located. No time to get too cozy though… We leave for SLC and then Mexico in just two days!

On Our Way

Well it was 30F everyday only a week ago. That is long gone, the highs are 10F and the lows are -10F. Not the ideal time to move when the heater in your 1978 VW Bus is not functioning.. An approaching storm tonight should make things interesting, but we are ready to roll. In Rupert tonight, visiting family and thawing our feet by the fire. Tomorrow we hope to get as far as Rawlins, WY and possibly Laramie, WY. Sunday night we are going to pop in and stay with our buddy Sam in Fort Collins. After that, it’s full on house hunting mode!

One of our favorite people ever. Sam spent a winter living as an intern with me at the Valdez Avalanche Center. He now lives in Fort Collins, CO.

One of our favorite people ever. Sam spent a winter working as an intern with me at the Valdez Avalanche Center. He now lives in Fort Collins, CO.

How stoked are we to be bordering Kansas. The answer is super stoked! Welcome to the heartland.

How stoked are we to be bordering Kansas. The answer is super stoked! Welcome to the heartland.

I was pretty stoked on our creative plant shelf.

I was pretty proud of our creative plant shelf.

Parting shot. It was a great year in Idaho. On to the next adventure.

 

Project Dierkes

Shoshone Falls in the winter. When climbing at The Prow, you are towering above the falls and the reservoir below.

Shoshone Falls in the winter. When climbing at The Prow, you are towering above the falls and the reservoir below.

Pat in the crux of Sanitary Landfill (5.10b) at The Alcove.

Pat in the crux of Sanitary Landfill (5.10b) at The Alcove.

It’s kinda like Project American Fork… but not as cool. After an intro into the Dierkes climbing scene last fall, I wanted to set a goal to challenge myself at our winter crag and decided to try to climb every route in the Alcove from Warm n’ Fuzzy (5.10b) on the left to Shotgun Wedding (5.10c) at the far right, a total of 33 routes many of which check in at solid 5.12. We soon realized that we would need to go to other sectors as well, usually to warm-up, before heading to The Alcove for the afternoon. Not one to like to do the same climb over and over while other new lines await exploring we started hopping around from crag to crag, sampling the various sectors. Before too long we had climbed quite a few, and began to enjoy checking into the hidden and harder-to-get-to crags.

Jeremy making short work of Overtime (5.11c/d) at The North Shore. This one is height dependent for sure. If you are under 5'9'' it's likely more in the 5.12 range.

Jeremy making short work of Overtime (5.11c/d) at The North Shore. This one is height dependent for sure. If you are under 5’9” it’s likely more in the 5.12 range.

As the thaw began last spring we found ourselves again headed to Dierkes for the weekends. Anxious to get back into shape after a cold January and early February we spent several days getting mileage in. We climbed anything and everything: short, tall, mixed, sport, trad, slab and choss. As the routes went down we hatched a new plan. Why stop at the Alcove? A new goal was born to climb every route. Dierkes has (from my rough count) 119 routes spread across 11 sectors. Add in the ~200 boulder problems and there are over 300 fun climbs here; short and tall, V0 to V-Hard.

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Robyn tied in for some pitches at the Hidden Crag.

Robyn tied in for some pitches at the Hidden Crag.

The lower roof crux of Soloflex 5.12c in The Alcove.

The lower roof crux of Soloflex 5.12c in The Alcove.

The season at Dierkes this year was a bit sporadic for us, and we never quite got there as many times as we wanted to. Nonetheless we still managed to tick several more routes before a hamstring injury and a move to Colorado for the winter cut us short. All said we climbed 114 of the 119 routes in the last year. Not bad! The only routes that remain are three moderate gear lines at the Tall Wall, a bouldery 5.13a called Circus Trick at the North Shore and a 5.12c I have yet to try called Evil D in the Alcove. As for bouldering, we haven’t kept track quite as closely, but there are certainly some harder problems to turn our attention to once the roped climbs dry up. With Robyn’s family in Rupert, it’s only a matter of time until we return to get our chance to close out the crag.

Dierkes, although most well known for the Alcove, actually has several sectors with a nice variety of angles and rock. The routes at The Prow are blocky, long and adventurous. The Alcove is thuggy and featured on steep three-dimensional rock. The Skunk Crag has some amazing hueco features while the Hidden Cliff has possibly the best quality rock.  Here are some highlights from the year:

Biggest Challenge: Soloflex (5.12c), The Alcove. Soloflex presented quite a challenge last fall and I barely squeaked it out before a cold snap. With an overhang crux down low and then a powerful sequence involving an undercling and desperate ring lock up high, this route, of all the routes at Dierkes took me the most work. Oh, and don’t fall after pulling the crux, that would be absolutely terrifying.

Most Bolts: 51 (5.10b), The Prow. A great route, but borrow your friends draws.  And his friends draws..

Scariest: Orangutan (5.10a, Gear), The North Shore. This is likely because I am a sissy when it comes to gear lines, but you only get a behind-the-head and blind placed small cam before pulling a slippery crux only 10 feet off the deck. And then there is no anchor.. Soooo yeah.

Dirtiest: Where God Changed His Oil (5.11b), The Alcove. Here are the notes from my guidebook on that day. “F*#&ing crazy. Dirt and choss.”

Most Potential: Thighmaster (5.11d), The Alcove. Although this route is still super dirty, there are some awesome moves and cool pockets. Just prepare to be really pumped since all the holds you grab are covered in sand.

Classics at the Grade: Bonnie Bionic (5.13a), Pink Slip (5.12c), Ziplock (5.11b), Hexology (5.10a Gear), Dude (5.9), Over the Falls #1 (5.8).

Poopiest: Bonnie Bionic (5.13a), The Alcove. You crawl into what could only have be the nest of a pterodactyl. I never want to meet the bird that created that pile. Fun route though..

Under-rated: Gorilla Man (5.11d), Tall Cliffs. This climb is awesome!! I had hardly ever heard of people climbing at the Tall Cliffs at all, so it was a huge surprise that Gorilla Man would be as excellent as it is. Super sequential slapping up a huge protruding noodle. Great challenge.

Ben clipping it up on the beautiful Air-ete (5.10a) at the North Shore.

Ben clipping it up on the beautiful Air-ete (5.10a) at the North Shore.

Getting pumped on Black Thing (5.11c) at The Alcove.

Getting pumped on Black Thing (5.11c) at The Alcove.

A few of the classic 5.10's at the Hidden Crag.

A few of the classic 5.10’s at the Hidden Crag.

Check out this cool video our friend Ian put together from a couple climbs we did this last weekend!

Dierkes Lake Mission from Ian Cavanaugh on Vimeo.

Dierkes Lake will always hold a special spot in our climbing history. After being diagnosed with Type-1 Diabetes two years ago, it was a month later at Dierkes during a Christmas visit to Rupert that I first had enough strength to touch rock again. Dierkes was the crag that I climbed my first 5.13, and the crag that Robyn took home 1st at the Clean and Crank! While Dierkes isn’t known as the prettiest crag, we were always surprised by it’s subtle beauty. If you haven’t seen the sun go down from the Tall Cliffs, do yourself a favor and get out there. In the end we didn’t quite get to all the routes, but I sure am glad we have an excuse to return.

Life Plan Version 4.3.7 Engage!

Sometimes real life has more twists and turns than seems logical or even possible at all. So when I received a call Friday morning from the Colorado Avalanche Information Center (CAIC) offering me a full time avalanche forecasting job based from their Boulder, Colorado office the first word out my mouth was “What?!..” followed by a stunned silence as I contemplated whether I was hallucinating or not.

The Flatirons.

The Flatirons.

“We don’t even need a beer to decide this one do we!?” Robyn asked as I told her the news. We sat on either end of the phone unbelievably excited letting out the occasional maniacal laugh. A week ago we made the decision to move to Crested Butte. The Crested Butte Avalanche Center (CBAC) offered me a part time position as a forecaster and I was already in talks with other local businesses as we tried to piece together how we could make it work financially.

Downtown Boulder, CO

Downtown Boulder, CO

“Well you’re going to take it aren’t you?!” Simon exclaimed as I told him the big news. He laughed out loud when I told him, well aware of the crazy hiring season I had already endured. Of course I was going to take it. We would be crazy not to! I have long looked up to the professionalism of the CAIC and while we were excited to give Crested Butte a go, the full time forecasting experience, opportunities for Robyn and oh yeah.. the world class climbing, were just a bit too much of a pull.

Pearl Street - Downtown Boulder, CO

Pearl Street – Downtown Boulder, CO

As we drove another load of household items to Rupert, I got a phone call from Blase, who relocated to Carbondale to work as a forecaster for the CAIC this season. “WHAT! I was reading an email from Ethan (Greene) about hiring a new forecaster in the Boulder Office, saw your name and couldn’t even finish! That’s so awesome!!” Blase is a good friend and neighbor from just a couple houses down in Hailey, and now we will be forecasting together this winter! Bonus!

More of downtown

More of downtown

And so it’s a done deal, Robyn and I are moving to Boulder! Life plan version 4.3.7 engage!

 

I hope they have this stuff in Colorado

When we have a big decision to make, we always consult the bastard. A pitcher of this guy helped us move to Valdez. The bastard has spoken.

When we have a big decision to make, we always consult the bastard. A pitcher of this guy helped us move to Valdez. The bastard has spoken!

It’s been an amazing year here in Hailey, Idaho highlighted by several trips to reconnect with family and friends. We climbed, hiked and camped. We brewed, learned and explored. We found an awesome house, and met amazing people. In a way it was no surprise really. Idaho attracts and retains great people. It’s with mixed emotions that we set out on a new adventure, but we have never looked back on one of these moments with regret. After spending the last 5 years focused on avalanche forecasting I have finally been given an opportunity to make my passion a paid profession. In a complex web of events, I recently accepted a job as an Avalanche Forecaster at the Crested Butte Avalanche Center in Crested Butte, Colorado! To round out the work for the season, I will also be spot guiding and teaching for Crested Butte Mountain Guides.

We have never been to Crested Butte, but by all accounts it appears we will be living in a postcard. The place looks beautiful, and perched at 8,800 ft in the center of the Rockies, it offers four distinct seasons and plenty of new places to explore.

A view of town.

A view of town.

Powder day. Looks like I will be picking up a bit of guiding work with the Crested Butte Mountain Guides this winter.

Historic downtown. Originally a coal mining community.

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Going to be doing this a LOT more this winter.

Here is a cool video from a local film crew out testing their new camera. They simply drove around the area for the day and captured some amazing scenes in and around Crested Butte.

One Day in Crested Butte | MSP Cinetruck from MSP Films on Vimeo.

The transition to Crested Butte will happen in a flash. The general hiring for forecasters this year was greatly slowed by the government shutdown and the ripple effect through the community has been that of a stutter-start. So in an accelerated fashion I was offered the position last Thursday, and in just two weeks I will be living in the bus and attending training sessions and fundraisers for my new positions in Crested Butte! If you are anywhere between here, Salt Lake City and Crested Butte and want to catch me, I will be moving through shortly after Thanksgiving. My mom and Robyn will follow the same route in mid December, and by the time they get there I will have hopefully nailed down a place for us to stay the winter.

The prospect of working in the mountains again is seriously energizing and I can’t wait to dig in. After teaching an avalanche awareness class with Blase and JP last winter I knew I couldn’t ignore it. The satisfaction, passion and pride I felt as an instructor was worth more than the modest pay at the end of the day. Worth even more than that were the smiles and handshakes of people, thankful for a great class even months after it had ended. While leaving Idaho won’t be easy, it will always be home. And as for now, opportunity is knocking and adventure calls, and we’re listening.

Castle Rocks, Idaho.

After work every Thursday, we fall in to a methodical routine of sorting, organizing and packing weekend gear into our trusty rig, Trixie. We’re committed to weekend getaways and are so familiar with the process, it’s become habitual. Ideally, we’d pack up Vincent and take him on these fine weekend adventures, but the old guy has been experiencing some minor hiccups – just to be safe, we opt for lower clearance and tent camping.
Castle Rock - Idaho

Castle Rock – Idaho

A recent visit from Art, the eccentric mechanic out of Hailey, inspired us to get Vincent back out on the road, for a longer trip than his usual-around-the-town stroll. Art’s confidence persuaded us that Vincent could make the three-hour haul to one of Idaho’s beautiful State Parks: Castle Rocks. Instead of loading Trixie to the gills, we wiped the dust out and neatly packed our old pal for his first outing since our week-long trip to St. George last March.
We stopped in Rupert for the night to visit my family. Chicken fajitas and craft brews satiated our growling bellies. No Blazer game to hoop and holler at; however, watching BSU lose to BYU was a great treat, too.
The weather, although a bit windy early on Sunday was absolutely perfect.

The weather, although a bit windy early on Sunday was absolutely perfect.

Coffee in hand, we moseyed south to meet up with our good friends, JP and Michele, and their new addition, Galena-pup. These two are fiery-outdoorsy-folk. Their passion for recreational activities is contagious.
Michele and Robyn sharing a cozy belay ledge.

Michele and Robyn sharing a cozy belay ledge.

The warm sunshine and perfect temperatures kept us cozy all weekend. We scrambled up some amazing rock features on perfect granite. Not having spent much time at Castle, we were pleasantly surprised by the involved multi-pitch lines and long single-pitch routes. A notable favorite and not-to-be-missed if you are visiting the area: Shock and Awe, a candidate for the best 5.10 sport line I have ever climbed. This route started off with big, hueco-like features followed by a 20-foot section of crimps and balance moves, ending on perfect jugs to the anchors. I can see now how it got it’s name..

JP and Michele headed up the west side of Castle Rock on a perfect fall afternoon.

JP and Michele headed up the west side of Castle Rock on a perfect fall afternoon.

HS D2 R3 on the west side of Castle.

HS D2 R3 on the west side of Castle.

Michele, near the top of the south side of Castle Rock just as the sun was setting.

Michele, near the top of the south side of Castle Rock just as the sun was setting.

JP heading up a classic 5.7 multi-pitch to start the day on Sunday.

JP heading up a classic 5.7 multi-pitch to start the day on Sunday.

Ethan getting ready to head for the summit and back before nightfall on Castle Rock.

Ethan getting ready to head for the summit and back before nightfall on Castle Rock.

The landscape is encapsulating, too. Juniper, sage, cacti, delicate wildflowers and large-wrinkly-granite domes overstimulate the senses. What else can I say about the weekend, except that it was beyond. Campfire stories, thousands of stars and a chilly night’s sleep only made it sweeter.

Spiced Chai Apple-Pear Jam

Picked right from their trees, I had a bucket load of the cutest little pears and apples in my kitchen, patiently waiting for me to cook something tasty and creative.

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Hot from the pot – Aren’t they cute?

With our cozy abode to myself, I peeled, simmered and mushed up a pot of spiced chai apple-pear jam. The aroma that came from the large pot was incredible. I could taste every spoonful of cinnamon and nutmeg.

I will admit though, the best part about the process was eagerly waiting for the lids to pop, confirming the seal. This quiet little pop made me giggle every time. Ha!