Blackfoot Bowl, Idaho

Daley Art 2 020A blast from the past, I left Colorado during a pre- New Year’s Eve snowstorm to head north for Jackson Hole arriving Jan. 1, 1993. As I recall, this ski bum had two bicycles clamped onto a truck bar in the back of a Ford F-150 at the time as well as my Kastle RX skis and a new pair of Atomics to try in the powder. Short on money and common sense I slept in the truck below Walden CO and in the forest near Grand Teton National Park. As I look back I believe I stayed in a Lander room, partied with the locals! I remember the stunning view atop Togwotee Pass as Moran, Teewinot and the Teton range loomed distant. After a day on Rendezvous Peak at the Teton Village cable car I did get a room at the Motel 6. My memories include the Buffalo Bills coming from behind in the NFL Playoffs and going to the movie theater to see Jack Nicholson as Hoffa with Danny DeVito-good flick! Later I drove the Snake River Canyon road past Alpine Jct. and Victor to Driggs in Idaho, stayed at an inn. Grand Targhee in many ways was more relaxing, less crowded than Jackson Hole; I found some ego powder, not too deep but enough to leave S turns in the 10F degree snow. The day was clear overlooking the Idaho countryside below. Tonight I looked back into my skiing past, honoring the two young US Ski Team racers who lost their lives to a Solden, Austria avalanche, reminding me of the inherent dangers of extreme backcountry skiing which I really didn’t do that much. In the 80s & 90s I did Europe, Alta, Snowbird, Red Lodge, Bridger Bowl, Sun Valley, Wolf Creek, Vail, Steeplechase atop Aspen Highlands as well as some East resorts like Wildcat, Cranmore, Mad River Glen and Smuggler’s Notch. My skiing slackened during the 2000s with maybe one or two days a season. I miss the outings, but not the cold, crowds and driving, high prices too…pole plant for rhythm in turns, weighting the downhill ski through carving, up & down pushing into the fluff!

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January Memory: Cerro Castellan on the Rio Grande

As another New Year’s Day has arrived this 2015 I dug into my journals to look back. In mid-January 2001 I returned to my then Colorado rental in Grand County to find -19 degrees below zero, my Mercury barely able to start. The restless wander lust bit me like frost bite and I ventured south to Texas for Big Bend National Park. I recall staying overnight roadside near Vaughn NM just freezing, moved on toward Carlsbad. I spent two nights in a tent Brantley Resevoir State Park with some fishermen, a golden eagle, a harrier, white-winged doves, pelicans and meadowlarks. The wind blew hard too. In Carlsbad I entered the Chihuahuan desert zone with sotol, lechuguilla, prickly pear, cholla, yucca and century plants under a soothing warm sun. The elevator took me down into the famous caverns. I entered Texas for my first time in the Guadalupe Mountains-ecstatic over the expanding terrain and comfortable climate. I remember the hike on the El Capitan trail, the mist below in the mesas/valley as I departed the pecan trees and oak mistletoe for the long drive yet to Big Bend. I passed through Van Horn, a Border Patrol blimp on the ground near Marfa and the big town of Alpine. Darkness set in as I pressed onward into Cottonwood Campground, accessed by the Ross Maxwell Road. I awoke the next morning to the view above, sketching this formation to my east amidst the mesquite trees here. In the coming days I toured the Castolon Historic District (old Army post vs Poncho Villa), Santa Elena Canyon, Mule Ears Peaks, the snow-covered Chisos Mountains and Panther Junction Visitor Center. I returned to the Chisos Basin in spring 2002 for hikes up Emory Peak 7825′ and the Window trail pour off, the Hot Springs on the river and Boquillas Canyon in the park’s east side. Pencil drawing.Daley  Art 117