Looking back at 2011

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?

New Year's Polar bear dip

Eric and me on a stroll through Petersburg harbor

Skiing the frozen muskegs of Mitkof Island




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.

Key's Ranch Joshua Tree National Park

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!

Snow at Red Rocks

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.

Our 18 foot rafts and camp on day ???

The group upheld a strict dress code

Colorado River winding around the Unkar Delta, where the remains of an ancient civilization are visible

So many fabulous places to do yoga. Photo: Dan Kowalski

Always come prepared- Photo: Graham Charles

Re-righting the flipped boat

Re-righting the poop boat after it flipped and threw me and the skipper out

The moment I realized I was alone in my raft in the middle of Lava Falls Rapid. And yes, that is Stephan's leg sticking out of the water

One of the smooth moments on the river- photo: Dan Kowalski

A never ending journey of beauty- photo credit: Graham Charles

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.

The middle fork Eel River with Timon, Kyle, Mark, and Ruben the dog

Ready for Bocce!!

Mark and Ruben, like master like dog

Feral- waterfall at the Gordon Creek access on the South Fork Smith River

Kyle- always a clean run through Pillow Rapid on the South Fork Smith

Timon- It doesn't get better than this! Rock Creek Ranch, Smith River

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.

Patty and Grant in the Stout Grove of giant redwoods

After my Mom’s 70th birthday in June I packed the car and moved to beautiful Del Norte County for four months.

Shopping for shoes on Mom's birthday

The Smith River was in my back yard and I spent many sunny afternoons exploring swimming holes throughout the basin.

Mom and Stout redwood

Traditional Yurok Tribe salmon cook out at the Coho Confab Conference hosted by the Smith River Alliance

One of my favorite swimming holes on the South Fork Smith

On a trip back to Santa Cruz in late summer the High St. house garden looked magnificent!

Dalhia garden at the High St. house

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.

At the Freemont Fire Lookout with Rainier in the background

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!

Kyle, John and Clint juicing home grown apples for cider

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.

Mid winter persimmon picking at John's orchard

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.

Pus Pus and me

Surfers along West Cliff and a nearly full moon

2 thoughts on “Looking back at 2011

  1. Awesome photos, thanks for sharing your year! It sounded phenomenal. Could 2012 top it? I’m sure you can make that happen 😉

  2. Wow, what beautiful photos. And what an amazing life you are leading! So that’s what life is like when you don’t have rug rats? Oh so jealous.

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