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!

Idaho Comps, Cranks & Clean-Ups

As we settle into our home here in Idaho the climbing season has come full circle. A year ago we were just getting into the swing of our fall and winter climbing spots like Dierkes Lake, The Channel and The Caves. This year we made it a goal to immerse ourselves in Idaho’s tight knit community by attending and supporting the local competitions, festivals and clean-up days. On our list were the Pocatello Pump, The Idaho Mountain Festival, and the Dierkes Clean and Crank

Hitek signage. Pokey Pump this-a-way.

Hitek signage. Pokey Pump this-a-way.

Lots and lots of pre-placed top-ropes all with a point value associated with them. The first day we were given 3 hours to complete as many as we could. The leaders of each category after day 1 advanced to the lead climbing competition the next day.

Lots and lots of pre-placed top-ropes all with a point value associated with them. The first day we were given 3 hours to complete as many as we could. The leaders of each category after day 1 advanced to the lead climbing competition the next day.

Jesse and Robyn just prior to the award ceremony  in idyllic Ross Park.

Jesse and Robyn just prior to the award ceremony in idyllic Ross Park.

Southeast Idaho Climbers Coalition getting people registered for the Access Fund.

Southeast Idaho Climbers Coalition getting people registered for the Access Fund.

The swag table! If your number is called you run up and grab a prize of your choice. Everyone was called at least once!

The swag table! If your number is called you run up and grab a prize of your choice. Everyone was called at least once!

Handcrafted Pocatello Pump mugs went out to the winners of each category. They are way cool!

Handcrafted Pocatello Pump mugs went out to the winners of each category. They are way cool!

Jesse's son bringing home the bling in one of the most memorable moments of the weekend!

Jesse’s son bringing home the bling in one of the most memorable moments of the weekend!

Much unlike the organized sports of my youth, when climbing we were our own coaches, cheerleaders and medics. Aside from ordering a new pair of climbing shoes every now and again we were self-contained – the crags and boulders of the woods were our proving grounds.

Recently, as Robyn and I began to assemble our new group of core climbers I realized that despite our autonomous beginnings, we were and always have been a part of a greater whole; a thriving albeit somewhat underground community of enthusiastic climbers. Without the volunteers, trail builders, pioneers, access advocates, festivals and support of conscientious climbing companies the climbs we have enjoyed would not have been accessible to us. What a thought! Immediately we felt compelled to participate, support the festivals, the kids, and the companies that are the future of climbing.

A big thanks to even MORE volunteer efforts to bring us the Clean and Crank for the 3rd year and many more to come.

A big thanks to even MORE volunteer efforts to bring us the Clean and Crank for the 3rd year and many more to come.

A map and legend for the 180 boulder problems to choose from during the comp!

A map and legend for the 180 boulder problems to choose from during the Dierkes Clean and Crank.

Ian and Conrad stoked on the day.

Ian and Conrad stoked on the day.

Gathering before the horn blew for the start of the afternoon bouldering comp.

Gathering before the horn blew for the start of the afternoon bouldering comp.

Trash, trash, and more trash! You wouldn't have guessed we could haul this much outta the surroundings of Dierkes Lake in just a few hours! One of our contributions was a traffic pylon left on a ledge mid route at The Prow.

Trash, trash, and more trash! You wouldn’t have guessed we could haul this much outta the surroundings of Dierkes Lake in just a few hours! One of our contributions was a traffic pylon left on a ledge mid route at The Prow.

It's always dangerous to get these two together..

It’s always dangerous to get these two together..

Hanging at the swag giveaway after the Clean and Crank. Again, everyone walked away with cool prizes!

Hanging at the swag giveaway after the Clean and Crank. Again, everyone walked away with cool prizes!

Conrad keeping a lookout over his pile of free chalk. I think there are 6 bags in that shirt.

Conrad keeping a lookout over his pile of free chalk. I think there are 6 bags in that shirt.

This family hit the jackpot!

This family hit the jackpot!

The Results: Lots of competitors and and lots of fun for all levels.

The Results: Lots of competitors and and lots of fun for all levels.

Morning clinics at the Idaho Mountain Festival. A chilly morning but Castle Rocks were GLOWING!

Morning clinics at the Idaho Mountain Festival. A chilly morning but Castle Rocks were GLOWING!

Rob Pizem teaching his entertaining anchor clinic.

Rob Pizem teaching his entertaining anchor clinic.

A beautiful morning in the mountains of Idaho.

A beautiful morning in the mountains of Idaho.

Morning boulder clinic with the Asana crew.

Morning boulder clinic with the Asana crew.

This warms your heart a bit doesn't it? Sharing the stoke with the next generation.

This warms your heart a bit doesn’t it? Sharing the stoke with the next generation.

Paul Robinson hucking some morning moves, although he was much more interested in what the afternoon would bring.

Paul Robinson hucking some morning moves, although he was much more interested in what the afternoon would bring.

Pads and problems everywhere! Big thanks to the Asana crew, they were mega psyched and super nice.

Pads and problems everywhere! Big thanks to the Asana crew, they were mega psyched and super nice.

Beau Stuart hucking for (and sticking) a rad move for a cool variation.

Beau Stuart hucking for (and sticking) a rad move for a cool variation.

This is why you do yoga folks.

This is why you do yoga folks.

It was cold and a bit crumbly but man it was pretty fun too.

It was cold and a bit crumbly but man it was pretty fun too.

Paul Robinson working War Path (v14).

Paul Robinson working War Path (v14). He would later claim the fourth ascent. This is the hardest problem in Idaho.

Beau in the middle of something stanky. Or something about Africa.. Or.. Well it was sick that's all.

Beau in the middle of something stanky. Or something about Africa.. Or.. Well it was sick that’s all.

This year has set the bar and we plan to continue to make an effort to participate in these events every year. Through it all we have been inspired to volunteer more, we have been filled with pride after clean-up days and we have broken through to a new level of psych in a whole new climbing arena: bouldering.

Thanks to all the volunteers and organizers, spotters, belayers, and new friends we made along the way.  Because of you we now have our own little project to attend to. This afternoon all the replacement gear for The Caves was ordered, an initiative that Robyn and I started along with Tom Smartt back in August. By November this climbing area will be completely overhauled sporting a new trail, landings, belay stances and gear. We couldn’t be more excited for the next few weekends as we make this dream a reality and we couldn’t have done it without the motivation and backing we received from this great community of climbers.

FINished

It seems hard to believe, but our season at The Fins has come to an end. Fall has arrived with an abruptness that has turned us back to lowland basalt and our winter climbing routine. This season at The Fins was quite productive but certainly left us wanting a bit more; but I guess that’s a good thing. Around here the climbing style, rock, and character changes with the seasons. We endlessly hope to squeeze in one more weekend before heat, wind, or snow pushes us back the other direction.

Robyn and I both sent our hardest routes ever this summer at The Fins and the progress we experienced was addicting, but if we want to progress next year we need to get stronger. After a taste of bouldering at the Idaho Mountain Festival last weekend, new goals and motivations are starting to creep in. Maybe we need another bouldering pad… Back at Dierkes, our dead vertical limestone skills will need to morph back to heel-hooks and hand-jams and in the mountains the snow and cold nights are reminding us that winter is about to take hold.

Chillin among the Balsam Root on a beautiful day in early June.

Chillin among the Balsamroot on a beautiful day in early June.

Ben sending his hardest of the season. Clips from the Bong (5.12b/c) time for SUBS!

Ben sending his hardest of the season. Clips from the Bong (5.12b/c) – time for SUBS!

The Lower Camp. This is an obvious fork in the road just after you enter the mouth of the canyon. A nice flat and grassy camp with room for several vehicles. Not a great choice in the heat of the summer but a great shoulder season camp.

The Lower Camp. This is an obvious fork in the road just after you enter the mouth of the canyon. A nice flat and grassy camp with room for several vehicles. Not a great choice in the heat of the summer but a perfect shoulder season camp.

Robyn working Clips From the Bong (5.12b/c).

Robyn working Clips From the Bong (5.12b/c).

Warming down on the Warm-Up Wall. Everyone should climb the 5.7 on the left hand side.

Warming down on the Warm-Up Wall. Everyone should climb the 5.7 on the left hand side.

The fun starts early on Pure Rock Fury (5.13a). This climb has a lot of moves for the height, a full value 13a with several crux sequences.

The fun starts early on Pure Rock Fury (5.13a). This climb has a lot of moves for its length, a full value 13a with several crux sequences.

The dreaded mono-undercling on Pure Rock Fury (5.13a). I was able to sneak two fingers in (shallow) without tape. I liked this even though it was harder because I feared a foot slip with a single sinker mono. In the end you really should tape your finger and then you have no choice but to plug in and hope your foot doesn't pop.

The dreaded mono-undercling on Pure Rock Fury (5.13a). I was able to sneak two fingers in (shallow) without tape. I liked this even though it was harder because I feared a foot slip with a single sinker mono. In the end you really should tape your finger and then you have no choice but to plug in and hope your foot doesn’t pop.

Lock off the mono undercling and reach for some nothings. It isn't quite over after this, but you are through the worst of it. Pure Rock Fury (5.13a).

Lock off the mono undercling and reach for some nothings. It isn’t quite over after this, but you are through the worst of it. Pure Rock Fury (5.13a).

Kim on Martini a classic (5.12a) on the lower section of the Discovery Wall.

Kim on Martini a classic (5.12a) on the lower section of the Discovery Wall.

Starting into the lower boulder crux of Bushido (5.13b). Crimp like hell on a small polished crimp and uncork to a right hand mono before a nice pocket to clip from.

Starting into the lower boulder crux of Bushido (5.13b). Crimp like hell on a small polished crimp and uncork to a right hand mono before a nice pocket to clip from.

Ben on Mothership (5.12c). By all accounts, this route utilizes a MANDATORY pinky mono. Can't say for myself, but this route looks rad. Shared anchor with Bushido which comes in from the double pods on the left.

Ben on Mothership (5.12c). By all accounts, this route utilizes a MANDATORY pinky mono. Can’t say for myself, but this route looks rad. Shared anchor with Bushido which comes in from the double pods on the left.

Mid summer storm approaching.

Mid summer storm approaching.

A thin boulder problem meets you early on. If you are burly this is the crux, if you are techy the long deadpoint is the crux, if you are a boulderer you might loose your cool as you traverse into Mothership for the shared finish. Bushido is a must climb at the grade.

A thin boulder problem meets you early on. If you are burly this is the crux, if you are techy the long deadpoint is the crux, you could also lose your cool as you traverse into Mothership for the shared finish. Bushido is a must climb at the grade.

Traversing out from the double pod on Bushido (5.13b), Mothership in the foreground.

Traversing out from the double pod on Bushido (5.13b), Mothership in the foreground.

Balsam Root and other wild flowers blanket The Fins' Eastern aspects well into July.

Balsamroot and other wild flowers blanket The Fins’ Eastern aspects well into July.

Robyn sending her hardest route of the season, and of her life! Clips From the Bong (5.12b/c) at the Upper Headwall. Off to Arco to celebrate!

Robyn sending her hardest route of the season, and of her life! Clips From the Bong (5.12b/c) at the Upper Headwall. Off to Arco to celebrate!

Late June and the Balsam root is starting to fade.

Late June and the Balsamroot is starting to fade.

Beautiful Upper Headwall. Amazing routes, 5 min from camp.

Beautiful Upper Headwall. Amazing routes, 5 min from camp.

Ben on the tricky crux upper half of Clips from the Bong (5.12b/c)

Ben on the tricky crux upper-half of Clips from the Bong (5.12b/c)

All summer, if anyone in our group sends their hardest redpoint, flash or onsight of the year we head to Arco for dinner! Celebrating Ben's send of Clips from the Bong at the Sub Shop in Arco. They seriously have huge awesome subs, and a rotating "Special Beer".

All summer, if anyone in our group sends their hardest redpoint, flash or onsight of the year we head to Arco for dinner! Celebrating Ben’s send of Clips from the Bong at the Sub Shop in Arco. They have seriously huge awesome subs, and a rotating “Special Beer”.

The "Special Beer". We cleaned them out.

The “Special Beer”. We cleaned them out.

Summer Solstice, Full Moon, Ben's Bday weekend! From the Fins you can see the Grand Teton on a clear morning!

Summer Solstice, Full Moon, Ben’s Bday weekend! From the Fins you can see the Grand Teton on a clear morning!

Mid-Canyon camp. Also the way (4WD) to get back to the  second row of fins behind the current climbing area. This camp is good early and late season for small groups. We walked up to the upper head wall on the road from here once.. Not recommended - it took 2.5 hours in the heat!

Mid-Canyon camp. Also the way (4WD) to get back to the second row of fins behind the current climbing area. This camp is good early and late season for small groups. We walked up to the upper head wall on the road from here once.. Not recommended – it took 2.5 hours in the heat!

Pat teaching us all why he sends so hard.

Pat teaching us all why he sends so hard.

Camping at the Upper Head Wall is great even if thats all you go for. Shade trees protect you from early sun and passing thunderstorms and the view is hard to beat.

Camping at the Upper Head Wall is great even if thats all you go for. Shade trees protect you from early sun and passing thunderstorms and the view is hard to beat.

Jonathan Siegrist and many others from near and far put in more great routes this season. More to do, and even more to aspire to, The Fins looks to keep on giving next year. Thanks to everyone with which we shared belays, rides, and stories by the fire. See you next season!

Our Year in Hailey.

The Wood River Valley is home to some of the quaintest, coziest towns in Idaho. The people are animated, outdoorsy and friendly. Music, beer, bike, ski, wagon and sheep festivals are always coming and going, and the folks just love their thematic holidays. I’d say, the Big Wood area has been the perfect fit for us this past year. We’ve had some incredible adventures, exploring the jagged mountain ranges, climbing really unique rock, hiking and running cool trails, skiing, camping, spending more time with great family and friends, and learning: I just can’t get over those desert blooms – succulents, fireweed, cacti, sage and more.

Here are a few snapshots that make us smile, bring up the best stories, and leave us craving more wild adventures (and delicious food) with the people that mean the most to us: friends, family and each other.

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Hiking in the Sawtooth Mountains. Such an incredible place.

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Bouldering in Dr. Seuss land.

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Cheers to you, Grandma.

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Those Sawtooths sure are pretty!

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Rafting Idaho: Curry’s Dirty Thirty!

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Rob’s hardest send to date: Clips from the Bong, 12b/c.

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Galena Lodge! Looking forward to spending more time there this winter!

Going for a stroll down main street in Hailey, ID.

Going for a stroll down main street in Hailey, ID.

Sweet potato and onion salad. This dish was experimental and it happens to be one of my new favorites!

Sweet potato and onion salad. This dish was experimental and it happens to be one of my new favorites!

Team clips on the summit halfway through a looooong 18 hour day!

Team Clips!

Crumbly peanut butter and chocolate chip bar. So good.

Crumbly peanut butter and chocolate chip bar. So good.

We will be back. Tensleep has LOTS of good climbing and a great easy camping scene. Hope to see the same people and canyons this time next year!

This year, we got to climb an incredible amount with our great friend, Benny!

The prize. Double-wide IPA from Boulevard Brewing Company.

The prize. Double-wide IPA from Boulevard Brewing Company.

Pumpkin Mac and Cheese with side salad!

Pumpkin Mac and Cheese with side salad!

Shorty power.

Shorty power.

The day after our first substantial snowfall.. and Snowcap arrives on the shelves. Damn they are good!

The day after our first substantial snowfall.. and Snowcap arrives on the shelves. Damn they are good!

A cool book with lots recipes. Our class followed one for Raw Whole Goat Milk Ricotta.

A cool book with lots recipes. Our class followed one for Raw Whole Goat Milk Ricotta.

Went home and made pizza of our own! Potato, pepper, onions and egg plant with a curry sauce base.

Went home and made pizza! Potato, pepper, onions and egg plant with a curry sauce base.

HUNDREDS of them.

HUNDREDS of them.

:: Our cute mini pumpkins! Happy October!

Our cute mini pumpkins! Happy October!

:: Another fine dinner salad!

Another fine dinner salad!

:: a great way to start any new dinner project :: coffee!

A great way to start any new dinner project :: coffee!

Our mini porch is perfect for morning coffee and early sun. Its been down in the low 40's here already overnight.

Our mini porch is perfect for morning coffee and early sun. Its been down in the low 40′s here already overnight.

Robyn took all these pictures. She was just so damn excited.

Our first day in our apartment! Robyn was just so damn excited.

The first magnet we put on the fridge. Guess who!?

The first magnet we put on the fridge. Guess who!?

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Fall is here!

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handsome E.

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Hailey’s Farmer’s Market.

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Homemade nachos. yum.

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Sunflowers at the Farmer’s Market. These cuties are my favorite!

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Oh yeahhh!

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More flowers at the market.

A great shot from Rob of the stream leaving our camp overlooking the Jawbone.

A great shot from Rob of the stream leaving our camp overlooking the Jawbone.

Cheers, and many more to come.

Cheers, and many more to come.

Tulips from the front yard.

Tulips from the front yard.

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Homemade Artisan Bread.

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Great memories at the Powerhouse.

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PS comes to visit!

Podium. Ethan, Terry, Simon and Blase.

Podium. Ethan, Terry, Simon and Blase.

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Pretty and delicious: apple mosaic tart with caramel.

Jerrod and Robyn on their way to the summit of The Mushroom, a nice accessible run off Galena Summit. I couldn't believe how warm it was. T-shirts in mid- January?

Jerrod and Robyn on their way to the summit of The Mushroom, a nice, accessible run off Galena Summit.

Not that we needed more confirmation that Burmese Mountain Dogs are cool as hell!

Not that we needed more confirmation that Burmese Mountain Dogs are cool as hell!

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Sippin’ on tasty coffee at Zaney’s.

The sun was pouring in the large windows as we melted into the chairs.

The sun was pouring in the large windows as we melted into the chairs.

After a 1 hour drive over Trail Creek Summit we popped out into the sun. The Lost River Range and Mt Borah in the distance.

Vincent taking in the view. The Lost River Range and Mt Borah in the distance.

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love-hate relationship. Tubin’ in Idaho.

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Ethan makin’ quick work of Pure Rock Fury, 13a/b.

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Awesome hike, wonderful people, lovin’ Idaho!

Sippin on a growler of Last Chair Stout from Sawtooth Brewing Company. Chillin in front of our place in Hailey. The steps to the left lead to our little hideout above the garage.

Sippin’ on a growler of Last Chair Stout from Sawtooth Brewing Company. Chillin’ in front of our place in Hailey. The steps to the left lead to our little hideout above the garage.

This past year has certainly been an extraordinary one. We’ve treasured every part of it and are so grateful to have shared bits of it with most of you. Thank you, all. Cheers!

Autumn at Tubbs’.

Tubbs Berry Farm was the perfect place to spend the first day of Autumn. We frolicked through prickly vines, danced over tiny and boulder-sized pumpkins, and begged the feisty, little goats to nibble on animal treats from our hands.

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tasty goat treats. yum yum.

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Ethan happy about his choice of pumpkin.

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Michele and JP lovin’ the patch!

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Psyched about our pumpkins!

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cute little buggers.

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a nice variety. two of these beauties will be carved out and filled to the top with Wagon Tipper Ale!

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Robyn-sized pumpkin!

The hazy afternoon was a perfect welcome to fall. The only treats missing: a hay ride and a delicately-made vanilla latte with a tiny dash of nutmeg.

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They love their tasty treats!

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Ethan trying to find that ‘perfect’ pumpkin.

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Tubbs’ patch.

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Only $4!

Wagon Tipper Ale

Every carboy or bottle of homebrew has a story. It’s written by the passionate, dedicated individuals of the craft. Those individuals are in tune with the delicate intricacies of the brewing process, the taste, smell and color of their beer, and the complexity. They love the challenge of brewing their own beer and they crave the sweet, bubbling sounds of fermentation. Here in Hailey, we love brew days. We enjoy the entire process and preparation of them; the cleaning, boiling, sparging, more cleaning and sampling. Brew days are exciting and we always look forward to them.

This past week, we brewed our very first frosty pumpkin beverage, dubbing it: Wagon Tipper Ale. Unlike HellFer Stout, a nice recipe from Northern Brewer guided us through the brewing process. We slightly modified the recipe by adding Libby’s Canned Pumpkin Puree (both regular and pumpkin pie flavored) and a dash of Vermont’s finest maple syrup. Aside from the extra additions, we followed it pretty diligently.

Brew Day: Equations, temperatures, notes and love.

Brew Day: Equations, temperatures, notes and love.

E hard at work, checking temperatures and makin' final calculations before brewing begins.

E hard at work checking temperatures and makin’ final calculations before brewing begins.

The harvest gods kept an eye on us throughout the evening. We missed temperatures by a few degrees and nailed them, too. We chatted a bunch, brainstorming new beer ideas and future adventures, and we sampled our other homebrews: Vision Quest and HellFer Stout. All the while and so cocoon-like, pumpkin and hops took over the garage, filling it with the incredibly sweet and intoxicating smells of fall…

A zesty combo: maple syrup and cluster hops.

A zesty combo: maple syrup and cluster hops.

Just over four minutes before we add Hopunion and Land of Joseph to the boil.

Just over four minutes before we add Hopunion and Land of Joseph to the boil.

Rob is psyched! Clarifying the beer, one small pot at a time.

Rob is psyched! Clarifying the beer, one small pot at a time.

Brew night and homemade pizza = awesome!

Brew night and homemade pizza = awesome!

Now, we have this seasonal beverage bubbling away. We check up on it daily. Just shy of Halloween, this tasty treat will soon be ready to carbonate and serve. We plan to host a Harvest Party (costumes preferred), tap this fine beverage from pumpkins, and enjoy the great company of friends. You’re all invited. Details to come soon.

The Grand Teton: 5.8 Sport Clippin’

Team “Clips” successfully summited the Grand Teton in one LOOONG 18 hour push car-to-car. I wanna lie and tell you it was a piece of cake, and I wanna lie and tell you I didn’t have a splitting headache once over 12,000ft, but I can’t. I can tell you though, that we had an incredible weekend full of crazy twists and turns, family drama, new friends, new personal altitude bests, killer pizza, and far to many vest and leather shoe combos than were comfortable for a late night pizza joint. We made plans and changed plans and then changed them again. Went to bed at 11:30PM and were up again at 2:30AM. We hiked the first 4 hours in complete darkness and emerged into a stunning granite walled canyon littered with boulders dotted with flowers and sliced in two by an icy stream. We got lost. We took wrong turns and then corrected. We made adjustments, looked out for each other and thrived on team motivation and mutual naivety.

Yeah. We've been to the top of that.

Yeah. We’ve been to the top of that.

 

Prepping for a rain storm. Bertha with the soft top!

Prepping for a rain storm. Bertha with the soft top!

Before climbing the Grand we decided to sample some single pitch cragging near camp to get our feet back under us after the drive. Despite the first couple routes being polished like glass (think worst of AF) the rest of the routes here were quite fun! Upper Blacktail Butte - WY.

Before climbing the Grand we decided to sample some single pitch cragging near camp to get our feet back under us after the drive. Despite the first couple routes being polished like glass (think worst of AF) the rest of the routes here were quite fun! Upper Blacktail Butte – WY.

Gearing up for our car-to-car attempt at the Grand. Basically JP and I have always wanted to lay our gear out Camp 4 style..

Gearing up for our car-to-car attempt at the Grand. Basically JP and I have always wanted to lay our gear out Camp 4 style..

Camp creations w/ Michele - Halmark 9 EST.

Camp creations w/ Michele – Halmark 9 EST.

Kevin breaking the mold with his Canoe carrying abilities on his Mustang!

Kevin breaking the mold with his Canoe carrying abilities on his Mustang!

 

3:30 AM along the trail. Unfortunately I may never see this stretch of trail in the daylight.. gives you an idea of how long a day it was..

3:30 AM along the trail. Unfortunately I may never see this stretch of trail in the daylight.. gives you an idea of how long a day it was..

Entering the boulderfields sometime just before sunrise.

Entering the boulderfields sometime just before sunrise.

Day break in the meadows. Aside from the upper saddle this may have been the most beautiful stretch of the trek.

Day break in the meadows. Aside from the upper saddle this may have been the most beautiful stretch of the trek.

Missing the switchbacks leading out of the meadows.. Oh well! Made for a nice "this is us getting lost" photo. The lower saddle is in the upper right of the photo.

Missing the switchbacks leading out of the meadows.. Oh well! Made for a nice “this is us getting lost” photo. The lower saddle is in the upper right of the photo.

Steady climbing. up.. up.. UP!

Steady climbing. up.. up.. UP!

These here are Dragon-breath-hairy-tongues. Or something along those lines.

These here are Dragon-breath-hairy-tongues. Or something along those lines.

Some beautiful wildflowers along the trail.

Some beautiful wildflowers along the trail.

PIKA. Michele was about to tackle one and bring it home in her pack.

PIKA. Michele was about to tackle one and bring it home in her pack.

Rockstars.

Rockstars.

Approaching the Petzoldt Caves

Approaching the Petzoldt Caves

Robyn starting up the long scramble to the upper saddle. Although scale is next to impossible here, there is a mountain hut an inch to the right of Robyn's helmet in this picture... and we are JUST getting started.

Robyn starting up the long scramble to the upper saddle. Although scale is next to impossible here, there is a mountain hut an inch to the right of Robyn’s helmet in this picture… and we are JUST getting started.

Team white strips.

Team white strips.

I climb rocks y'all. Big ones.

I climb rocks y’all. Big ones.

A bit of off rout excitement. JP short ropes Robyn up an unexpected pitch of exposed 5.8 climbing.

A bit of off-route excitement. JP short ropes Robyn up an unexpected pitch of exposed 5.8 climbing.

Idaho in the background, just getting started off the lower saddle.

Idaho in the background, just getting started off the lower saddle.

Robyn on the steep and loose section between the lower and upper saddles. Lots of falling rock! This was by far the most challenging section of the hike. Brutal!

Robyn on the steep and loose section between the lower and upper saddles. Lots of falling rock! This was by far the most challenging section of the hike. Brutal!

JP in "Mountaineers Pose"

JP in “Mountaineers Pose”

JP and Michele at the Upper Saddle. At this point there was no holding Michele back from summit fever.

JP and Michele at the Upper Saddle. At this point there was no holding Michele back from summit fever.

Robyn climbing out the top of the Owen-Chimney.

Robyn climbing out the top of the Owen-Chimney.

Reaching the Upper Saddle --> Let's go for it!

Reaching the Upper Saddle –> Let’s go for it!

Killin it! What a moment! This day started at 2 A.M.!

Killin it! What a moment! This day started at 2 A.M.!

Michele, JP and Rob. Summit of the Grand Teton.

Michele, JP and Rob. Summit of the Grand Teton.

Another snow squall approaching from the north.

Another snow squall approaching from the north.

Happy feet on the summit.

Happy feet on the summit.

Michele and JP reveling in the victory of the summit. Halfway there!

Michele and JP reveling in the victory of the summit. Halfway there!

Idaho to the left, Wyoming to the right. Summit of the Grand Teton 13,775ft.

Idaho to the left, Wyoming to the right. Summit of the Grand Teton 13,775ft.

Team clips on the summit halfway through a looooong 18 hour day!

Team clips on the summit halfway through a looooong 18 hour day!

The wind there for a bit on our way down from the summit was INTENSE. Snow squalls came through thumping graupel off our coats as the cold wind sliced through our thin layers. This group was getting ready for the main rappel, rope flaked and ready to toss. With a yell into the wind, "ROPE!" the party tossed their coil high into the air only to have it lifted by the updraft and thrown behind them back onto the mountain!

The wind there for a bit on our way down from the summit was INTENSE. Snow squalls came through thumping graupel off our coats as the cold wind sliced through our thin layers. This group was getting ready for the main rappel, rope flaked and ready to toss. With a yell into the wind, “ROPE!” the party tossed their coil high into the air only to have it lifted by the updraft and thrown behind them back onto the mountain!

JP after me lucky charms.

JP after me lucky charms.

Rob on the main rappel off the Grand.

Rob on the main rappel off the Grand.

F*****ing CRUSHING pizza at Pinky Gees after an epic hike.

F*****ing CRUSHING pizza at Pinky Gees after an epic hike.

130811_GrandTeton_77

Coolin’ off

Chillin on the river on a lazy Sunday.

Chillin on the river on a lazy Sunday.

Incident command over and out.

Incident command over and out.

This dog would run 100 yards up stream, dive off a bank and float down the river to us only to repeat, over and over! So cool!

This dog would run 100 yards up stream, dive off a bank and float down the river to us only to repeat, over and over! So cool!

Not to often in the mountain west that you get to float in a relatively warm river. JP and I took advantage.

Not to often in the mountain west that you get to float in a relatively warm river. JP and I took advantage.

Sawtooth Mountains: Alpine, Sawtooth and McGown Lakes

Panorama looking back toward Stanley, Idaho.

Panorama looking back toward Stanley, Idaho.

Robyn and Mom resting before the switchbacks.

Robyn and Mom resting before the switchbacks.

Mom and dad watching from a nice rock in the sun while Robyn and I pull in Brook Trout from Sawtooth Lake.

Mom and dad watching from a nice rock in the sun while Robyn and I pull in Brook Trout from Sawtooth Lake.

Perfect sunny evening.

Perfect sunny evening.

Lower McGown Lake

Lower McGown Lake

Maxin' relaxin'

Maxin’ relaxin’

Pops fishing McGown Lake. This little spot proved to be the best fishing of the trip.

Pops fishing McGown Lake. This little spot proved to be the best fishing of the trip.

One of my favorite pictures and views. Pops and I enjoying the 2,000 ft vertical relieve around Sawtooth Lake.

One of my favorite pictures and views. Pops and I enjoying the 2,000 ft vertical relieve around Sawtooth Lake.

A pretty rainbow. Tasty too.

A pretty rainbow. Tasty too.

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vibrant Gentiun.

Landing a beautiful Cutthroat Trout

Landing a beautiful Cutthroat Trout

Fireweed on the way to McGown Lakes

Fireweed on the way to McGown Lakes

Little trees growing from a floating snag.

Little trees growing from a floating snag.

WEEEE!!!!

WEEEE!!!!

Catching little Brook Trout from our camp lake.

Catching little Brook Trout from our camp lake.

Morning and evening proved to be the best fishing and by the end we had a technique down to land one about every three casts. Fun stuff.

Morning and evening proved to be the best fishing and by the end, we had a technique down to land one about every three casts. Fun stuff.

Mom, Mom, MOM, mamma, mom, maaaaaaamma. MOM!

Mom, Mom, MOM, mamma, mom, maaaaaaamma. MOM!

Sawtooth Lake with Mt Regan (~10,000ft) as a backdrop.

Sawtooth Lake with Mt Regan (~10,000ft) as a backdrop.

Checking out Sawtooth Lake on our first night as the sun goes down.

Checking out Sawtooth Lake on our first night as the sun goes down.

Hiking around the lake on a nice evening.

Hiking around the lake on a nice evening.

Cookin dinner. Although it froze the first night we generally had warm mornings and cool nights. Hardly a cloud in the sky, and the rain the day before cleared the smoke from recent fires.

Cookin’ dinner. Although it froze the first night, we generally had warm mornings and cool nights. Hardly a cloud in the sky, and the rain the day before cleared the smoke from recent fires.

Another incredible view of the Jawbone. That there is why they are called the Sawtooth Mountains. Beautiful.

Another incredible view of the Jawbone. That there is why they are called the Sawtooth Mountains. Beautiful.

Mom and Rob.

Mom and Rob.

A great shot from Rob of the stream leaving our camp overlooking the Jawbone.

A great shot from Rob of the stream leaving our camp overlooking the Jawbone.

Our camp for two nights was nestled along a small lake shore between Alpine and Sawtooth Lakes at about 8,300ft.

Our camp for two nights was nestled along a small lake shore between Alpine and Sawtooth Lakes at about 8,300ft.

The small lake right next to camp. We spot cast for lots of little Brook Trout here in the mornings and evenings.

The small lake right next to camp. We spot casted for lots of little Brook Trout here in the mornings and evenings.

Mom and Pop on the last hard bit from Alpine Lake to Sawtooth Lake.

Mom and Pop on the last hard bit from Alpine Lake to Sawtooth Lake.

Reaching a great overlook before the switchbacks to Alpine Lake. I started referring to this ridge as the "Jawbone" and it sat right behind our camp providing an amazing depth to our daily views.

Reaching a great overlook before the switchbacks to Alpine Lake. I started referring to this ridge as the “Jawbone” and it sat right behind our camp providing an amazing depth to our daily views.

Gorging on Red Huckleberries Currants along the trail.

Gorging on Red Huckleberry and Currants along the trail.

The first HOLY SHIT moment of the hike. First of many. I could have spent all day right here.

The first HOLY SHIT moment of the hike. First of many. I could have spent all day right here.

Roots sprouting from an underwater branch in crystal clear Iron Creek along the trail.

Roots sprouting from an underwater branch in crystal clear Iron Creek.

These photos reveal how most of Idaho and the Sawtooth Mountains feel: raw, wild, and comforting. Most of the time, our surroundings looked like a playground for even the tiniest of creatures. Giant rock slabs and granite boulders, jagged peaks, grassy patches and vibrant wildflowers, and dusty trails – all simple, but priceless details – details worth treasuring.

Those quiet moments of breathless awe reaching our creekside campsite, the feeling of being completely encapsulated by jagged mountain peaks, alpine meadows and lakes, and adorable pikas scrambling about. The excitement of sleeping in each morning and the consequent appreciation of nap time. Fresh mountain air, coffee in the warm sunshine, and breakfast on our rocky porch. Afternoons spent lounging, fishing and daydreaming…

SPORT ACTION!

SPORT ACTION!

Too perfect to not nap. A nice lazy afternoon along the lakes.

Too perfect not to nap. A nice lazy afternoon along the lakes.

This was the back porch. Beer and whiskey happen here.

This was the back porch. Beer and whiskey happen here.

Apart from clinging to these special memories, I think we allowed ourselves to savor every single moment, where laughing occurred often and we slept well every night.

Panorama of Sawtooth Lake

Panorama of Sawtooth Lake

We hiked a lot – sometimes to see another lake or to look around the next corner. Sometimes we just listened to the little baby birds sing and trout jump from the water. And sometimes, we marveled at how small we felt in the vastness of the terrain.

Iron Creek Trailhead, ready for a great three days!

Iron Creek Trailhead, ready for a great three days!

The weekend spent with MK and PS was magical. We devoured good food, made and shared incredible memories, and enjoyed every bit of raw, wild, and comforting Idaho.

Is it October, yet?

It’s August 8th. Guess what? I can’t stop thinking about fall and all of the good things that come with it. The beautiful skies and crisp temperatures, the leaves changing in color – bright yellows, reds, lime greens, browns – and of course, some of the tastiest beverages out there: pumpkin spice ales, pumpkin stouts, and deliciously creamy-hoppy-pumpkin pales. You name it, I get excited.

I get so giddy and absolutely treasure the season and these tasty beverages. I think E is in agreement with me: we need to brew a batch soon. I can almost taste the terrific flavors now…  Oohhhh, man.

So, until we can craft our own recipe and clever beer name, here are two of my favorite seasonals:

epumpkin

Elysian Brewery’s Great Pumpkin Beer

NightOwl12ozLabel3

Elysian Brewery’s Night Owl Pumpkin Ale

What are your thoughts? Do you like pumpkin beers? Do you have a favorite? Any recipe suggestions for us?