Monday, December 31, 2007


Happy New Year to all!

Kate and I just returned to Boise, our Christmas travels went very well. We hung out with the Florida Martins and the California Martins. Everyone is doing well and the kids are growing like weeds. This was my first 80+ degree Christmas and I've got to say that if not for the company, I would rather spend my holiday covered in snow. Everyone enjoyed a grand meal on Christmas day thanks to my beautiful wife, Chef Kate.

Tonight we're heading out to ring in the new year with some of our new friends here in Boise, and some potential new friends at a house-party. Tomorrow we'll hit the slopes on Bogus Basin just outside of Boise. As always, we are thinking of all our dear friends we left in Raleigh. We hope that your New Years Eve is a smash hit... "Here's to all of you in Raleigh and abroad, let this year be enjoyed even more than the last!"

Sadly we bid farewell to Mike and Roxanne as they are moving to San Francisco on Thursday, they'll be missed. Hopefully we'll be able to see one another here and there in the future. I see biking and snowboarding trips in our future.

We'll try to post a few pictures and share some tales from our trip in the next few days. Again, Happy New Year!

Monday, December 17, 2007

Playground: Kate Style

This weekend brought plenty of snowboarding to the Idaho Dunn clan. Fortunately there was only one minor hiccup, and it was all me. Early Saturday morning I frantically loaded gear so I wouldn't be late getting on the mountain at Brundage Resort. It wasn't until I was in the parking lot completely geared up that I tried to put on my gloves. One right and one right.....errrrrr NO!!!!!! 12 degrees and I was riding in my liners because I inadvertently grabbed one of Kate's gloves and one of mine. This meant that for her first snowboarding lesson, Kate had two left gloves, one of mine and one of hers. Fortunately she was able to use my left glove on her right hand during her lesson.

While I was at Brundage on Saturday, it was snowboarding lesson 1 for Kate at Bogus Basin, just north of Boise. Kate headed up a snowy Bogus Basin Road alone to find a few inches of powder laying on a small base. Check out the winter skills, she's driving on this stuff!

Sunday morning we were both up early, much earlier than we planned due to the aches and pains stemming from the first day of snowboarding. A little coffee, a bagel, and plenty of Advil seems to be the right combination to ensure you can ride again the next day. Lesson 2 on Sunday! She's rocking that boarder girl look isn't she?

Kate commands that snowboard just like she rules her kayak, with grace. It doesn't matter which sport it is, Kate doesn't provide much carnage. She only fell a couple of times, one good edge catch was all I got to see! That's it, and I didn't even get a picture so it really comes down to you believing me. :)

We were still pretty sore today but it is getting better. There is snow in the forecast for the next 10 days in this region, too bad this is finals week for me. Friday we're headed to sunny Florida for what is sure to be a great Christmas. I'm already daydreaming of the powder days to come in the new year.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Shiver Me Timbers

Some Boiseans are serious about bicycle commuting. On a morning a few days ago, I sat in my truck at a traffic light on a snow-covered road with two bicyclists while the flakes rained down. Jon is no exception. He is committed to continue biking to school year-round and this is his get-up for riding in 19 degree temperatures. My heart swells with pride for him, but sinks just a little as I slide into the driver's seat of my truck. I'm still acclimating.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Snowshoeing: Banner Ridge

Everybody, git yer shoes on!

On Sunday, we went snowshoeing again, this time with our new friends Mike W., Roxanne, Erin, and Mike H. Some of the snow we enjoyed last weekend at Whoop-Em-Up had melted, so we drove further up the mountain to the Banner Ridge Park-n-Ski area.

The view is not too shabby.

One of the Mikes brought a GPS, so we knew exactly how far we went: 3.4 miles. I have decided that 3.4 miles on snowshoes is a pretty good hike. I woke up in the middle of the night and my legs were screaming.

Right from the outset, we saw lots of animal tracks.

I am enjoying learning how to identify animal tracks: rabbit, fox, and coyote were the most common. About halfway through the hike, we took an off-trail detour and Jon spotted
wolf tracks. They were enormous and stunning. You could see the outline of each pad-- the paws were about as big around as my hand.

Living out west has forced me to think more often about the tension between ranchers, hunters, livestock, and wolves. It used to be that wolves were just the bane of livestock farmers, but now hunters are citing anecdotal evidence that wolves are the cause of a decline in elk and moose populations, as well. I won't go into this in detail, but I found numerous sources that negate this, including from the Idaho Department of Fish and Game. (If you want more information, just Google "idaho wolves elk population".)

The wolves in Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming are considered a "non-essential experimental population" but they are still protected under the Federal Endangered Species Act. Early this year, however, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced a proposal to remove grey wolves' endangered status. In preparation for the status change, the Idaho Department of Fish and Game is trying to determine how the populations will be managed and to what extent. Idaho Governor Butch Otter wants the wolf population culled by hunters from current numbers around 800 (source) to 100 animals, or 10 packs. Ten packs is the minimum number of wolves before the animals would be considered endangered...
again. Anyone else see the lunacy in this idea?

According to the Idaho Department of Fish and Game Commission, delisting could occur as early as February 2008. At a hunter's rally last week, Otter spoke about the issue:

"That management includes you," Otter told the approximately 300 hunters, many wearing camouflage clothing and blaze-orange caps. "I'm prepared to bid for that first ticket to shoot a wolf myself."


Another interesting thing we saw on our snowshoe trip was the remnants of a burn. At first we thought the rising smoke was steam from a natural hot spring, but closer investigation revealed that it was actually tree wood still smoldering.

Winter burn.

Why are the maps are so high? So they aren't at your knees when the snowpack is three feet!

Once again, I tripped myself by stepping on my own shoe and ended up face-planting in the snow. I wasn't hurt, but as I pulled myself up, my entire group stood on the hill above me laughing with their cameras poised on their noses. Evil. (I admit that later in the hike, when Erin tripped, I was actually hoping she would fall and she totally busted me by the excited look on my face. Nobody wants to be the only clutz.)

On our way back to Boise, we stopped at the Idaho City Ranger station to alert the staff to the burn and they called out a fire crew to investigate.

It was yet another beautiful, if tiresome, weekend in this winter paradise. I doubt we will get on our snowboards until after we return from Christmas holidays in Florida but I certainly look forward it!

Monday, December 03, 2007

Saturday in the Snow

Kate and I decided we'd try to find some snow to break in our snowshoes on Saturday so we headed up to one of the nearby Park N' Ski areas. Whoop-Um-Up was the natural choice because it is dog friendly. Tucker and Cash were almost as excited to get out in the fluffy white stuff as we were. Cash did great, although he can pull a little here and there. Here is Kate demonstrating the proper technique of how to react to the pull of a 90+ lbs blind dog. Falling!

Kate and I don't have much experience snowshoeing yet, which led to a few falls. It's amazing how easily you bite the dust when you step on your own shoe, when the person behind you steps on your show, or when your herding dog tries to hitch a ride on your shoe! Needless to say, you slow down and think about the precise placement of your next step.

Cash had no problems in the snow, his fur seemed to be genetically perfect for tromping about in the snow.

Tucker's fur, not so perfect. Tucker fought the snowballs all day, as you can see here.

Tucker will be getting some small shoes very soon. I think he'll be a little annoyed with them at first, but it has got to be better than the alternative.

Snowshoeing is a great way to get out and enjoy our natural winter surroundings in Idaho. The trails we visited on Saturday are a little over an hour away from the house, and the trails should be open at our local resort in a few days.

We can wait for our next outing. Think Snow!