New Year’s Day 2011 began with a body numbing dip in the ocean in Petersburg, Alaska, where I spent part of the winter. The days pretty much followed some variation of the pattern: sleep, ski, eat, sleep, eat, sleep, sleep, ski. What else do you do when it’s dark most of the time?
Migrating south after the new year I made my regular winter pilgrimage to Joshua Tree National Park to climb. The days were mostly frigid so one particularly cold day we took the ranch tour instead of climbing.
The cold stuck around and even after heading up to Red Rocks one evening, the morning light revealed a dusting of snow. Guess it just made sense to head into Las Vegas for my birthday, but don’t expect any photos from that!
The most fabulous trip of the year was spending 22 days on the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon. A lifetime event without a doubt. I hope sometime to return and discover more of its marvels.
Still unemployed come May, it was time to hit some of the northern California rivers with the duckies (inflatable kayaks) for some free flowing fun.
During this kayaking trip I was fortunate to meet Grant and Patty, who run the Smith River Alliance and were old river friends of Timon. They hooked me up with a job for the summer.
After my Mom’s 70th birthday in June I packed the car and moved to beautiful Del Norte County for four months.
The Smith River was in my back yard and I spent many sunny afternoons exploring swimming holes throughout the basin.
On a trip back to Santa Cruz in late summer the High St. house garden looked magnificent!
In September I traveled to Mt Rainier National Park where Kyle was working and we spent the weekend hiking around and checking out one of the most phenomenal wildflower showings in years.
Back to Santa Cruz in November, just in time for the apple harvest at John Thiemann’s orchard. In an evening we pressed somewhere around 10 gallons of cider. YUM!
After the apple harvest comes one of the most beautiful times in the orchard. By December the leaves had completely fallen off the trees, but the persimmons remained, ripe for the picking. They hang in the trees like orange ornaments while fresh green grass carpets the ground. Between the persimmons, remaining avocados and a bountiful crop of pineapple guava we packed wheelbarrows full of colorful goodness and indulged in fruit for weeks.
As December headed into its darkest days I chilled out with my favorite house cat, got lots of surfing in and then packed up for a 10 day Vipassana meditation course that would take me through the solstice, Christmas and New Year’s day. It was the perfect way to close this calendar.