Lone Peak Love Letter: My Favorite Christmas Tree Laccolith!

The first copy of my book! It’s so much bigger and heavier than I imagined! A proper coffee-table book!

Last September, the day the manuscript for my book was due to the publisher, I left my desk and hiked up my backyard peak, running over every memorized word on my way up the mountain. By 11,166 feet, I decided it was done and hit “send” on the summit. Almost a year later, when I got my hands on the very first physical copy, it felt right to hike it up Lone Peak.

The cover features an aerial shot of the Grand Canyon

I love the inside cover… a blue-scale rendering of an aerial photo of the Wave, on the Utah/ Arizona border.

The book features 100 geological wonders including this winter aerial shot of Lone Peak by local legend Ryan Turner.

Each entry offers aerial or satellite photos of a geological feature and explains the natural history of the site on a grand scale.

Lone Peak is featured in the book:

If you were to design the ideal mountain for a world-class ski resort, you might come up with something like Lone Peak, the centerpiece of Big Sky Resort in Big Sky, Montana. Big Sky’s oft-quoted tagline is “The Biggest Skiing in America” and even if that’s no longer strictly true in terms of acreage, the hair-raising double black diamond runs off Lone Peak’s 11,166 foot summit certainly set the bar in terms of sheer grandeur.

Lone Peak lies at the edge of the Madison Range and while it looks like a volcano, it’s actually a failed volcano. Lone Peak was formed by volcanism but it never erupted at the surface. Instead, the magma rose up through a vertical conduit but then then spread out sideways, running out between layers of sedimentary rock, forming lateral arms of dacite and andesite. This type of eruption produces what geologists call a Christmas tree laccolith: a central trunk with radiating lateral arms that intrude into existing sedimentary rock.

Yikes! Stripes! These older sedimentary rock layers were invaded by the younger volcanic intrusion that created Lone Peak. Shell fossils are found in similar sedimentary layers elsewhere on the mountain.

The same ridge – the A to Z Ridge – in winter, one of Lone Peak’s many radiating arms. The chutes down the arms make for some of the most extreme in-bounds skiing in North America. This mountain was made for skiing!

Everybody has a favorite geologic term. Mine has been “Christmas tree laccolith” for years, since I learned the term in college. My first summer in Big Sky, after the snow melted, I hiked to the top of Andesite Mountain, next to Lone Peak, and found a plaque on the summit that had been buried under snow all winter. The faded plaque told the geologic story of the area and informed me that “Lone Peak is a Christmas-tree Laccolith”. That’s when I knew I had found Home.

Aerial Geology will be available in print October 2017 from Timber Press. Pre-order your signed author’s copy now for $25 plus $5 shipping through 
PayPal

Also available for pre-order through AmazonBarnes & Noble or Indie Bound.

*** Pre-ordered books will ship in October.

Posted in Beyond the USA, Hiking!, Photography, Science Writing, Uncategorized, Vagabonding 101 | 2 Comments

Coming Soon… My First Book!!!

My preferred title “Geology For Astronauts” didn’t win out but I love the cover!

For all my long-time readers out there who have been wondering what I’ve been up to these past few years, I can finally let you in on my big secret! I wrote a book! My first book entitled Aerial Geology: A High Altitude Tour of North America’s Spectacular Volcanoes, Canyons, Glaciers, Lakes, Craters and Peaks will be published by Timber Press in October!

 

Land Lungs: A NASA satellite image of the Missisippi River Delta

Aerial Geology is a coffee-table style book that takes a bird’s eye view of 100 geologic features all over North America through NASA satellite photos, aerial photos from airplanes and my own shots and explains their geology on a grand scale. As many of you know, I’ve been making my living as a freelance science writer for the past ten years, while crisscrossing the continent by car and on foot. In many ways, this book is the culmination of a decade of studying the Earth, as a science journalist and an insatiable hiker, and I can’t wait to hold a copy of it in my hands.

Ink Stains on Earth: Lava flows at Idaho’s Craters of the Moon, also by NASA

My favorite thing about my job as a science writer is that I get to learn something new everyday. I’ve hiked in all 50 states and have visited 89 out of 100 locations covered in Aerial Geology (the remaining 11 are still on my to do list, including the Bugaboos in British Columbia and the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico) and I learned A LOT about North America – the most geologically diverse continent on Earth – in writing this book.

 

Hells Canyon on the border between Oregon and Idaho is the deepest canyon in North America – deeper than the Grand! I’ve hiked along the edge of this canyon and rafted the Snake River through its deep, dark heart two summers ago. Photo by Malcolm Andrews/ Aerial Horizon.

From the introduction of Aerial Geology:

Geology and mountaineering go hand in hand. The higher you go, the more you see and the more you see, the more you learn. If mountaintops are fantastic classrooms, airplane window seats are even better. In many ways, geology is best understood from the air. Altitude lends a greater perspective of the land and lets you begin to visualize the extraordinary forces have shaped our planet over the last 4.45 billion years.

Follow me from the edge of Alaska, down the West Coast, to the desert Southwest, over the high Rockies, across the patchwork Great Plains, and up the ancient fossil-rich mountains of my childhood, to the edge of the East. This book is for everybody who ever wondered how seashells end up on mountain tops and for the high flyers who gaze out that tiny oval on every flight. I hope this book changes the way you see the world and inspires you to get out and explore more of it.

Seashells that lived in an ancient ocean make up the limestone ridge to the summit of Woodward Mountain (10,659 feet) in southwest Montana

Aerial Geology will be available in print October 2017 from Timber Press. You can pre-order a signed author’s copy direct from me for $25, plus shipping, through the Paypal link below. Or pre-order through Amazon, Barnes & Noble or Indie Bound or find it online or at your local bookseller in early October.

Thank you, as always, for all the support! This community’s well-wishes and encouragement have sustained me on this ever winding, forever climbing path. I’ll be posting on here from time to time. You can also follow the Blonde Coyote on Instagram.


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 *** Pre-ordered books will ship in October.

Posted in Beyond the USA, Hiking!, Photography, Science Writing, Uncategorized, Vagabonding 101 | 9 Comments

Vida’s First Roadtrip: Surfing & Sierras!

Vida’s Second Summit, Dio’s Thousandth (?)… Lucky Peak Reservoir, ID

Overlooking the Lucky Peak Reservoir. We were unexpected waylayed in Boise for 5 days by transmission trouble… always an adventure traveling in older rigs!

Our (somewhat) trusty steed “Jerry Odyssey Americano” a 1990 Toyota pickup camper (Don’t worry, I still have the teardrop! This is just better suited for two people.) Notice the funny rock formation behind Jerry… we climbed to the top of it!

Climbing up the third of three pitches to the top of the Santiam Pinnacle… our first multi-pitch climb of the season! Multipitching is where you and your climbing/ belay partner leave the ground behind and link multiple pitches (or rope lengths) up the rock, usually to the summit. It’s our favorite kind of climbing and you’ll see a lot of it on this trip!

Looking down at Jerry from the top of the Santiam Pinnacle! The dogs stay at “home” during multipitch hikes. We like to think they’re down there, watching us, thinking humans are pretty crazy creatures.

Our goal on this roadtrip was to alternate between climbing and skiing. Here we are skiing the Pacific Crest Trail from Santiam Pass in Oregon after a few days climbing at Smith Rock. Vida loves skiing!

A few thousand feet lower and we were in spring…

Feeling Lucky to be back in Oregon, the first state I fell in love with west of the Mississippi.

We hiked up Mary’s Peak in the Oregon Coast Range, one of my all-time favorite summits. This was the site of above photo with Bowie in 2005, my very first shoe self-portrait!

Vida on Mary’s Peak, 2017. I’m teaching her to do jump on command. She’s got ups!

Vida’s keeping Dio on his toes…they play like pups

In her more reflective moments, she has Bowie’s eyes

And his desire to be a lapdog, though she’s a much more practical size, about 30 pounds

And his sense of humor, always a clown.

Vida turned one year old on Cinco de Mayo and to celebrate we took her to meet the Pacific! She was STOKED.

Vida’s meets a Dungee

We rented a boat and some crab traps and caught a whole bucketful of dungees and rock crabs… more than we could eat in one sitting!

Jerry can hold a lot of surfboards

Dan coaxing Vida to try surfing

She’s up!

Good stance

Catching a wave…

Riding it out!

Vida didn’t love surfing. She’d much rather stay on solid ground where she can RUN!

Rock of Ages. Twisted Greenschist on the Oregon Coast

Beach Flower Bloom

Zen D.O.G. I love this picture of a totally content Dio so much. You’d never he was once terrified of brooms. He’s come along way.

Jerry makes friends easily. Seriously, this little rig gets a lot of compliments on the road. A V-6 manual Toyota with a killer rearview… what’s not to love?

Rain chased us south and inland, to the Redwoods, which are best experienced in the rain.

The next sunny day found us scaling the granite banks of the Yuba River. This was a hairy 2-pitch climb with a lot of exposure pulling out over that roof.

The roaring Yuba, full of record-setting snowmelt.

Time to go skiing… Castle Peak near Donner Pass… we went all the way up there!

Vida’s new to mountaineering but she has good instincts. Here’s she’s keeping to the rocks and off the sketchy snow to the corniced summit of Castle Peak.

Dognap on the summit. These two cuddle all the time and it melts my heart. We also bagged Basin peak in the background.

Did I mention, Vida LOVES skiing! She’s so fast!

Home sweet home for two nights at the Peter Grubb backcountry shelter

This hut was built in 1938 as a memorial to a wilderness lover who died young. It’s just off the PCT north of Donner Pass, where the Donner party spent a miserable winter in 1846-1847.

The sleeping loft sleeps 15 but we had the place to ourselves

The hut is actually two stories but bottom half is buried by about 15 feet of snow. To get into the first story you have to plunge down through this snow tunnel.

Happy Dogs, Happy M

Next stop: Lake Tahoe!

Vida’s swimming lessons. paying off!

After skiing, climbing at Lover’s Leap, a huge granite wall south of Lake Tahoe

After climbing, more skiing! This time riding the lifts at Squaw Peak! Long-time readers will remember I hiked all over this place in summer a few years ago. What a treat to come back and ski it!

The Mother Tree and the Mother Ship at Squaw (aka the KT-22 chairlift made famous by Shane McConkey)

In case you’re wondering how we fit four pairs of skis and mountaineering gear in a rig the size of a regular parking space… it all goes under the bed!

Traffic Jam on Highway 50, the Loneliest Road in America. Actually this photo was taken on 722, an even quieter scenic detour off highway 50, which is actually kind of a busy road these days.

Camping at Ibex in western Utah. Since we just went skiing, it’s time for climbing!

Looking down on the rig from the top of the Ibex wall. Can you spot Jerry down below?

The rest of the roadtrip we alternated between climbing and soaking. This is the view of Utah Lake near Provo from Rock Canyon. We soaked at 5th River Hot Springs before and Crystal in Honeyville after. Then headed to City of Rocks, Idaho and Durfree Hot Springs.

Me scaling the last pitch up Castle Rock in southern Idaho. I am getting more comfortable in the vertical world but it’s always a thrill for me!

A belay ledge with a view… of my tingling feet

One of the best campsites of the trip! City of Rocks National Preserve in Idaho. My kind of city!

At the end of our roadtrip, we met up with friends from Home

Dan teaching David about top-belaying for multi-pitch clinbing. The four of us climbed Steinfell’s Dome, the highest formation in the City of Rocks. My third time to the top in a year!

All my years traveling solo have made me treasure shared experiences all the more.

Our Kind of City

Back in Montana for a summer of hiking, climbing and backpacking in the Yellowstone ecosystem… the Last Best Place on Earth!

Posted in Bowie & D.O.G., Hiking!, Photography, Road tripping!, Uncategorized, Vagabonding 101 | 12 Comments

Big Birthday, Big Couloir

Looking down the Big Couloir in High Summer

Last summer, on one of many hikes up my home mountain – Lone Peak – I crossed over the 11,000-foot summit, picked my way down the precipitous east face and paid my respects at the top of the Big Couloir. The Big, as it is affectionately and ominously known, is the most famous ski run off Lone Peak: a 1,200-foot 50 degree vertical drop that slices down the peak’s east face like a white lightning bolt. Sitting at the top of that impossible chute, I swore off ever skiing it. Too steep, too narrow, too cliffy, too foreboding. I should know better than to ever say never.

For most of my 20’s, I honored a tradition of climbing mountains on my birthday. For my 30th, I upended my usual quest and hiked to the bottom of the Grand Canyon. What a fitting evolution to spend my 35th sliding down a mountain on one of the gnarliest ski runs in the West, loving every moment, every movement. I am, as always, exactly where I should be at this point in my life. I wonder where the next five years will find me…

Waiting my turn to drop into the Big. This photo was taken from the same spot as the one above. Amazing how a little snow can change terrain.

The End of the World- that’s actually the name of this part of the mountain.

As Big as it gets. Photo by my friend Leah Bothamley. I was too busy survival skiing to get my own shot.

Me skiing down the apron at the bottom of the Big with the Lone Peak trams overhead. Photo by Dan Whitaker, who was at the right place at the right time to cheer me on. 

Happy Birthday to me

Hiking the Headwaters ridge on Lone Peak. The Big Couloir is the chute over my left shoulder.

Watch a video of somebody skiing the Big Couloir here.

Posted in Hiking!, Uncategorized | 9 Comments

Introducing… La Vida (Woo)

I think she likes this skiing thing.

Ever since a scraggly feral puppy followed Bowie and I out of the desert, I’ve been a two-dog person. Why have one when you can have two? After saying goodbye to Bowie in November, I was so thankful to have Dio by my side and I really cherished our one on one time. Dio has stepped into Bowie’s role in so many ways – all of a sudden he loves peanut butter! – it astonishes me how vividly Bowie lives on in his brother Dio.

Now Dio gets to be the big brother, to a little sister! In early February I put in an application with a herding dog rescue based in Wyoming and of all their lovely dogs, this girl happened to be fostered the closest to us in Montana. She had survived parvo, kennel cough and a high kill shelter in Texas and by eight months of age she already gone through three names: Howlie, Glenda and Shadow.

Vida in dog jail in Texas. Get me outta here! I’ll go anywhere and everywhere!

I’ve never chosen my dogs. Bowie and Dio were mine the very first moment we met and so it was with Vida. When I stepped out of the car she ran right up to me, sat on my feet, wrapped her front legs around my legs and hugged me tight. She’s been by my side ever since. It’s miraculous to me that this creature made her way from Texas to Big Sky, Montana and yet, she’s absolutely meant to be here.

Dio & Vida, God & Life. They’ve been playing together. Vida will keep Dio young, the way Dio kept Bowie young. And he’ll teach her everything there is to know about being a Dog of the World.

Back in Balance, Loving the Two Dog Life!

As we drove the five hours home to Big Sky, our sweet puppy snuggled up to her new big brother in the backseat, as calm and quiet as could be, a road trip natural. We threw names back and forth, looking for the right combination of sound and meaning and just as a spectacular sunset was peaking, I thought of Vedauwoo, Wyoming, one of my favorite names for one of my favorite places. Vida! La Vida – the Life. Perfect.

Little Vida in Bowie’s green chair. Somebody said to me recently, “Bowie would have loved Vida.” And I replied, “Bowie does love Vida. Bowie is Vida.” Love is never lost.

** I’ve heard from a few readers that they’re having trouble commenting on this post. Some comments have gone through so I’m not sure what the problem is. Keep trying! Or email me at theblondecoyote@gmail.com. Thanks!

Posted in Bowie & D.O.G., Uncategorized | 15 Comments

Goodbye To All That, 2016

sun-bowie

Thank you all so much for the condolences and encouragement. It really does help to hear from those who have been touched by Bowie. This weekend marked 3 weeks without him, the longest I’ve ever gone. I miss him so much. I miss his utter contentment in my presence, paired with his enthusiastic willingness to go with me anywhere, unwavering for many thousands of miles. I miss his sprawling furry form in my lap, in my bed, in my car, in my life. I miss that big clown, King Bowie.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I’m sad but I’m happy too, happy he’s free of that tired old body. Happy he’s free. Through the tears I’m learning that he’s still right here. He lives on in his brother Dio and the hair in my soup and other forms less obvious. I put Bowie’s ashes in a tin that reminds me of my grandmother. Of course, the big dog barely fits and the lid won’t quite close. So I put a heavy Ganesh on top to help hold him in along with a piece of labradorite and a small river stone and a Chinese fortune that says “stay in touch, above all, with how you feel.” I look forward to releasing him on top of our mountain, when I’m ready. Spring feels right.

In the meantime, I’m skiing all over this place, imagining Bowie running free through the snow, on the wings of cheeky ravens, in the tracks of curious fox. This is a tough time, but I’m blessed to be weathering it in Big Sky. I’m living the most unexpected dream I’ve ever had here: after earning my EMT license this fall, I joined the biggest, baddest Ski Patrol team in the country. If you had told me two years ago that this would be my path, I would never have believed you. But skiing is believing and believing is something I’ve always done well. 

The only cross I've ever worn

Much love to you all this holiday season! I’ll see you in 2017! 

Posted in Bowie & D.O.G., Uncategorized | 17 Comments

There’s A Starman Waiting In The Sky

Bowie, Always an Angel

Friends and readers, I’m sorry to resurrect this blog with sad news, but I wanted to let you all know that I had to say goodbye to Bowie. He’d been having a hard time lately and he was ready to be free of his tired old body. Loss is hard but the end was as beautiful and graceful as it could be. We shared the best possible life together for 12 years and I’m just so grateful for so many moments, so many miles.

The very first shoe shot self portrait on top of Mary's Peak in Oregon.

Our very first shoe shot self portrait on top of Mary’s Peak in Oregon.

When Bowie brought home his protege, D.O.G., I’m sure he had these days in mind. I’m so thankful to have Dio keeping me company right now. He always worshipped his big brother and adopted all his best attributes. You’d never know Dio was once a wild dog and Bowie truly lives on in this amazing creature.

comb-ridge-dogs

Someday I will write a book on everything I’ve learned from these dogs. Lately Dio has been teaching me about accepting loss and letting go. I brought him in to see Bowie after he was gone and Dio sniffed him and then looked at me with complete understanding and acceptance. Then he was ready to leave. Bowie is gone, life goes on, says the wise desert dog. Let’s go play in the snow and believe Bowie is bouncing around with us. I am blessed with the best dogs, living and spirit.

Powder Hound D.O.G.

Powder Hound D.O.G.

Thank you for all the love and support this community has shown Bowie, Dio and I on all our journeys. I am well and happy and in the best possible place to lose my best friend. Letting go is love. Grief is gratitude. Onward and upward!

Me & My Shadows

Me & My Shadows

Click here for a slide show of my Travels with Bowie & D.O.G: 12 years, 49 states, thousands of miles, so many moments… Here’s to the best possible life!

Posted in Bowie & D.O.G. | 49 Comments

Finding D.O.G.

First Sight

First Sight

Seven years ago, I took a road trip to Monument Valley, near the Arizona – Utah border, and came home with a puppy. Keeping a skinny, filthy, half-wild mutt I found wandering in the desert could have been a complete disaster, but it was meant to be, and we both knew it at first sight.

On January 14th, 2009, after a long drive from New Mexico, I pulled off the highway onto a random dirt road, parked, and set off across the open desert with my dog Bowie to hike around a distant, unnamed butte.

No place for a puppy.

No place for a puppy.

Rounding the far side, I saw movement under a sage. Crouched in a sliver of shade was a dog, wagging his tail. Something about him made my heart skip a beat. I held onto Bowie, in case the stray was hurt or sick, and talked sweetly to the dog, who cautiously emerged. Then I saw: He was in terrible shape, but filth and ribs aside, he was the spitting image of Bowie.

Kaymoor Steps Dogs, WV

Kaymoor Steps Dogs, West Virginia

He was young, six months at the most. I could see the bony points of his hips and the line of his backbone through the matts tangled in his all-black coat. No collar. Clods of dirt were matted between his toes. I coaxed him, but he wouldn’t come closer so I poured some water in a dish and stepped back. He shot forward, desperate for a drink.

You've come a long way, baby. Lake Tahoe Dogs!

You’ve come a long way, baby. Lake Tahoe Dogs! Nevada

Monument Valley was an improbable place to find a dog. We were surrounded by nothing but desert. The only manmade things in sight were a barbed wire fence and my car glinting in the distance, parked on the side of a rarely traveled dirt road. No water, no shade, no people, no houses. Nothing.

Return to Monument Valley, two years later. Dio didn't show any inclination to return to his wild ways.

Return to Monument Valley, two years later. Dio didn’t show any inclination to return to his wild ways.

I didn’t have any dog food with me. There was nothing else I could do out there for him, but walk and hope he followed. He looked like hell, but I was relieved to see he still had enough energy to be rambunctious. Over the next hour, the three of us circled that nameless, stunning butte, with Bowie and the puppy playing together like long-lost brothers. It was the youngest Bowie, then six, had acted in years.

Dio keeping Bowie young! West Virginia

The puppy was curious about me, but wary, and he was downright afraid of my camera. Every time I pointed it at him, he shied away and so I put it in my backpack and showed him my empty hands. Eventually, the puppy would follow Bowie within a few feet of me, but he always remained just beyond my outstretched hand, his tail wagging and eyes bright, wanting to be friends, but unsure.

Bowie & Dio on the Appalachian Trail, Vermont

Between he and Bowie, it was true love. I’ve never seen two dogs so happy to have made a friend. The two of them romped the whole way back to the car. When we got to the road, I put Bowie in the car and gave the stray more water and a small handful of dog food, not wanting to upset his neglected stomach.

I watched him eat, surprisingly daintily, for a starving dog. Where had he come from? How long had he been out here? Most importantly: What should I do with him? When he finished eating I opened the car door again, and he made the decision for me, jumping in next to Bowie, who outright grinned: Can we keep him?!

Summiting Quartz Peak- 13,300 feet!

Summiting Quartz Peak- 13,300 feet! Colorado

Living on the road, housesitting different places every few months, having a second dog – a wild one no less – was totally impractical. But this bedraggled, sweet-eyed creature had crossed my path and chosen to follow me. I wanted to trust him the way he was willing to trust me. I sat in the car for 15 minutes, coming to terms with what I already knew: this dog was mine, then I abandoned my plans to camp out that night, pulled a U-turn and drove straight back to New Mexico with that stinky, wild dog curled up in the backseat.

He slept the entire trip, only occasionally sitting up to look out the window, a road trip natural. I was afraid to let him out of the car. If he ran off it would break my heart and I didn’t want to scare him with a leash. Somewhere along the way, I named him D.O.G.

New Orleans D.O.G.

New Orleans D.O.G., Louisiana

We got back to the Earthship well after dark and I opened the car door and let him loose. The other two dogs at my place pounced on him, but he sorted himself out like a good-natured dog and soon everybody was running around the driveway together. I took all four on a get-acquainted hike down my long dirt road. The moon was new and the stars were epic; I couldn’t see all-black Dio in the dark, but I was no longer worried about him running away. He had found friends and I knew he’d follow us forever.

Mount Rundle D.O.G.

Mount Rundle D.O.G., British Columbia

It took another day for Dio to let me touch him and a month before he’d roll over for a belly rub. He was especially afraid of men and it was a year until he would willingly go up to strangers. Gradually, he got over his fears of brooms and sticks, running water, bridges and quick movements, though he’s still wary of children and terrified of gun fire.

Desert Dog Meets the Pacific

Desert Dog Meets the Pacific, California

Seven years later, you’d never know Dio had a rough start. He’s sleek and handsome, obedient, unflinchingly friendly and more worldly than most people. By last count, Dio has been hiking with me in 47 states. (He’s missing Hawaii, Wisconsin, and Minnesota. Bowie has been to 49; he’s only missing Hawaii.) Not bad for a wild dog! He and Bowie are inseparable and people regularly ask me if they’re related. Now 12 years old, Bowie has only a little grey and a touch of arthritis and will still follow me anywhere, though I have to limit his miles to easy ones. Dio has kept both of us young!

Dogs running in dog-deep snow, Maine

When people hear Dio’s story, they usually say he’s a lucky dog, but luck implies chance and I know I was meant to find Dio. Across all the Southwest’s open, rugged space, I pulled my car over at that nondescript spot, went for a trail-less hike to a nameless butte in the middle of nowhere and found a perfect dog. That’s not luck, that’s love.

Dio on Day 2

Happy dog Dio on day two of the rest of his life…

Check out Travels with Bowie & D.O.G. under Archives A to Z for lots of photos from our travels all over North America. These dogs have seen more of the world than most people.

Chaco Canyon D.O.G.

Chaco Canyon D.O.G., New Mexico

Pemaquid Point D.O.G., Maine

Pemaquid Point D.O.G., Maine

Las Vegas D.O.G.

Las Vegas D.O.G., Nevada

Athabasca Glacier D.O.G. British Columbia

Athabasca Glacier D.O.G. British Columbia

Emerald Lake D.O.G.

Emerald Lake D.O.G., Colorado

Posted in Appalachian Trail, Bowie & D.O.G., Hiking!, New Mexico, Photography, Road tripping!, Vagabonding 101 | Tagged , , | 21 Comments

2015 in 100 Photos

The Rover in Winter: skiing, ice climbing, hiking, snowshoeing.

The Rover in January 2015: skiing, ice climbing, snowshoeing.

In 2015, this little blog of mine was visited by a few hundred thousand people in 167 countries (out of 196). I myself have only been to a dozen or so countries (in North, Central and South America and Europe) and I’m more than a little flabbergasted by the wanderlust of my words. In 2016, I’m gunning for the good fortune to visit at least two more countries – Nepal and India – and for the Blonde Coyote to travel even farther – and further. Thanks to everybody for following the “world renowned” Blonde Coyote and Happy New Year! 🙂

Here are a few of my favorite photos from a few of my favorite moments over the past year. Remember: Success has less to do with the accumulation of things and more to do with an accumulation of moments and creating a successful life might be as simple as determining which moments are the most valuable and seeing how many of those I can string together in a line. – Pam Houston

Subzero Skiing

Braidsicle, Subzero Skiing, Big Sky, Montana

New Neighbors: Mama moose with twin calves

New Neighbors: Mama moose with twin calves in Big Sky

Skiing Mount Hood, Timberline Resort, OR

Self-portrait Skiing Mount Hood

Dogs at Mount Hood

Dogs at Mount Hood

He was mastered by the sheer surging of life, the tidal wave of being, the perfect joy...

He was mastered by the sheer surging of life, the tidal wave of being, the perfect joy…

In Holly wood they say Mush you Huskies! In Montana we say, Hike you Mutts!

In Hollywood they say Mush you Huskies! In Montana we say, Hike you Mutts!

Turning for Home, to Lone Peak!

Turning for Home, to Lone Peak!

Our Home Mountains

Home Mountains

Ready.

Ready.

Keeping up with the Gnarliest Bros I know... aka my roommates!

Keeping up with the Gnarliest Bros I know… aka my roommates!

Hiking the A To Z Ridge out to Headwaters, the realest-dealest inbounds skiing in America.

Hiking the A To Z Ridge out to Headwaters, the realest-dealest inbounds skiing in America.

My Brother Slaying Lone Peak

My Brother Slaying Lone Peak, Cedar Mountain in the background

Great Falls on the North Side of Lone Peak

Great Falls on the North Side of Lone Peak

Montana Dognap on Antlers & Skis

Montana Dognap on Antlers & Skis

Backcountry Skiing

Backcountry Skiing

Beehive Basin

Freshturns in Beehive Basin

Saint patty's Day in Jackson Hole

Saint Patty’s Day in Jackson Hole

Spring Thaw, Big Sky Meadow

Spring Thaw, Big Sky Meadow

Spring Hiking, Gallatin Range

Spring Hiking, Gallatin Range

The Great Bear Awakes

The Great Bear Is Awake

Spring Thaw on the Gallatin

Spring Thaw on the Gallatin

Spring Roadtrip, Utah

Spring Roadtrip, Utah, Last ride of the Rover 

Strange Writings

Strange Writings

Strange Worlds

Strange Worlds

Filling Big Footprints

Filling Big Footprints

This makes for a better story.

RIP Rover, Incredibly Blessed to Walk Away

New Ride: Ruby the Subaru

New Ride: Ruby the Subaru. Summer road trip to WY, ID,NV,CA,OR

International Car Forest of the Last Church, Goldfield, NV

International Car Forest of the Last Church, Goldfield, NV

Mono Lake D.O.G.

Mono Lake D.O.G.

Summit of Lassen Peak, on the 100 year anniversary since the last eruption in 1915

Summit of Lassen Peak, on the 100 year anniversary since the last eruption in 1915

Hello Shasta

Hello Shasta

Skiing Mount Shasta. We had to carry our skis up to 8,000 feet then we skinned up to 10,500 and skied down.

Skiing Mount Shasta. We had to carry our skis up to 8,000 feet then we skinned up to 10,500 and skied down.

Dream Ski on Shasta

Dream Ski on Shasta

Crater of Mount Hood. We skinned up to here then skied down and climbed it again the next day to summit on foot.

Crater of Mount Hood. We skinned up to here then skied down and climbed it again the next day to summit on foot.

Helens, Rainier and Adams from Hood...I've climbed 3 out of 4!

Helens, Rainier and Adams from Hood…I’ve climbed 3 out of 4!

Oregon Coast Camping

Oregon Coast Camping

Crabbing for Dungees in the Newport Bay, OR

Crabbing for Dungees in the Newport Bay, OR

Tenants Harbor, Maine

From one coast to another: Tenants Harbor, Maine

Back to Big Sky: Early Summer

Back to Big Sky: Early Summer

Storm Castle, Summer Wildflowers

Storm Castle, Summer Wildflowers

Finding Our Way

Finding Our Way

Lone Peak D.O.G. from Wilson Peak

Lone Peak D.O.G. from Wilson Peak

Lone Peak from Woodward Mountain

Lone Peak from Woodward Mountain

Van Life, Montana

Van Life, Montana, Woodward Mountain

Lone Peak from the Sphinx

Lone Peak from the Sphinx

Lone Peak from Gallatin Peak

Lone Peak from Gallatin Peak

Lone Peak from Bonecrusher

Lone Peak from Bonecrusher

Lone Peak Hike, HIgh Summer

Lone Peak Hike, High Summer

Gallatin Peak from Lone Peak

Gallatin Peak from Lone Peak

Looking Down the Big Couloir on Lone Peak

Looking Down the Big Couloir on Lone Peak

Hey Goat!

Hey Goat!

Hey Bear

Hey Bear

Hey Bear

Hey Bear

Bears Here

Bears Here

Bears Live in Beautiful Places

Bears Live in Beautiful Places

Ross Peak, Ancient Coral Reef, Bridger Range,

Ross Peak, Ancient Coral Reef, Bridger Range,

Almost Up, Coral Reef, Montana

Almost Up, Coral Reef, Montana

Summit Buddies on Ross Peak

Summit Buddies on Ross Peak

Into the Winds!

Into the Winds!

Cirque of the Towers, Wind River Range, Wyoming

Cirque of the Towers, Wind River Range, Wyoming

Happy Hiker, Dreams Coming True

Granite Wonderland, Dreams Coming True

Wind Rivers Waterfall

Wind Rivers Waterfall

Storm Incoming, Cirque of the Towers

Storm Incoming, Cirque of the Towers

Tent Bound D.O.G.

Tent Bound D.O.G.

Wind Rivers Hikers

Happy Hikers

My First Rafting Trip! Hells Canyon

My First Rafting Trip! Hells Canyon

This is what Class 4 looks like

This is what Class 4 looks like

Hiking Hells Canyon

Hiking Hells Canyon

Riding Rubber through the Deepest Canyon in North America

Riding Rubber through the Deepest Canyon in North America

Back In Big Sky

Back In Big Sky

Happy Backpackers in a Hailstorm at 9,000 feet

Happy Backpackers in a Hailstorm at 9,000 feet

Crossing Table Mountain

Crossing Table Mountain

Crossing Windy Ridge

Crossing Windy Ridge

Petrified Wood , Gallatin Range

Petrified Wood , Gallatin Range

Gallatin Firetower

Gallatin Firetower

Bearcountry Cabin.. those spikes aren't for pigeons!

Bearcountry Cabin.. those spikes aren’t for pigeons!

Fall Roadtrip: Trans-Canadian Highway to Nova Scotia!

Fall Roadtrip: Trans-Canadian Highway to Nova Scotia!

New Watershed!

New Watershed!

Lake Superior, North Shore

Lake Superior, North Shore

Thunder Bay, Lake Superior

Thunder Bay, Lake Superior

Hands-in-Pockets Weather, Lake Superior

Hands-in-Pockets Weather, Lake Superior

Nova Scotia D.O.G.

Nova Scotia D.O.G.

Bat of Fundy, Low Tide

Bay of Fundy, Low Tide

Bay of Fundy, High Tide

Bay of Fundy, High Tide

Alma Harbor, Low Tide

Alma Harbor, Low Tide

Alma Harbor, High Tide

Alma Harbor, High Tide

Blueberry Camping, Nova Scotia

Blueberry Camping, Nova Scotia

Nova Scotia Sunrise

Nova Scotia Sunrise

Showing part-Newfie Bowie Newfoundland

Showing part-Newfie Bowie Newfoundland

Ferry Crossing the Bay of Fundy

Ferry Crossing the Bay of Fundy

Borrowed Vans are like Pink Elephants

Borrowed Vans are like Pink Elephants

New Mexico, Revisited

New Mexico, Revisited

Hualapai Mountains, Arizona

Hualapai Mountains, Arizona

Heading for Home, 10,000 miles later

Heading for Home, 10,000 miles later

Out of one dream ride, into another...

Out of one dream ride, into another…

The Rover Love Continues...

The Rover Love Continues…

Winter Comes Again, Moose-Spotting

Moose-Spotting as Winter Comes Again…

Going Up!

Going Up!

 

Posted in Beyond the USA, Bowie & D.O.G., Hiking!, New Mexico, Photography, Road tripping!, Uncategorized, Vagabonding 101 | 8 Comments

Travels in Geology: Hells Canyon

The best seat in the house: the wooden Dory named the "Might As Well"

The best seat in the house: the back of the wooden Dory named the “Might As Well”

Why would you ever visit a place called Hells Canyon? Especially given how hard it is to get there: Few roads and only steep, difficult trails run down into the 2,400-meter-deep gorge — the deepest canyon in North America — which forms part of the border between Oregon and Idaho. Despite its remote and rugged challenges, however, Hells Canyon has attracted visitors for thousands of years, from the Clovis people and Native Americans to turn-of-the-century gold miners, sheep ranchers and homesteaders.

Riding shotgun in the "lunch boat" with guide Anna at the helm

Riding shotgun in the “lunch boat” with guide Anna at the helm

Today, the canyon is popular among whitewater rafters and fishing enthusiasts. A trip through Hells Canyon, with its diverse geologic pedigree involving 300 million years of island arcs, volcanism and catastrophic floods, will also delight geology-minded travelers. You don’t even need to be an extreme adventurer to enjoy the canyon: Shove off with a reputable rafting company like ROW Adventures and you’ll barely even need to paddle.
So this is what a class 4 rapids feels like...

So this is what a class 4 rapids feels like…

Hiking in Hells Canyon. After a few days sitting in a boat, I was jonesing for a walk!

Hiking in Hells Canyon. After a few days sitting in a boat, I was jonesing for a walk!

A few of my past Travels in Geology features are there too: West Virginia’s New River Gorge, British Columbia’s Burgess Shale, and the German Alps.
Posted in Hiking!, Photography, Science Writing, Sustainable Living, Uncategorized, Vagabonding 101 | Tagged , , | 9 Comments