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Birthdays, Bears and Mice

After our 4th of July festivities, we were glad for some down time before the next weekends big doin’s. Dana and Dave generously opened their doors and we settled into their downstairs apartment for the week. It was an easy routine of work, dinner with D&D, checking out Dave’s ongoing progress rewiring his Bronco and sleep. By Thursday we had recharged and were ready for more fun. The 4 of us piled into Stan the Tan Van and drove over the hill to Music on Main in Victor.


Lulu’s Favorite Pastime


Throughout the summer the town populations of Victor, Jackson and Driggs converge on Victor Town Square for live music and community social time. While I can’t tell you what who the band was, the food, drink and conversation were great!


Mr. Shell Arrives


It was the first of our late nights. On Friday, Jimmie Shell came to Jackson and we were ready to start kicking it up a notch for Dana’s birthday weekend. The big day was on Saturday, but we started the festivities early with dinner at the Bistro. The next morning, we had gluten free pound cake with key lime frozen yogurt for breakfast before heading to the Farmer’s Market on Jackson Town Square. We met up with Dana’s friend Stephanie and toured the stalls, purchasing flowers, tomatos and a chocolate torte for the birthday dinner.


Happy Birthday to Dana!


After 2nd breakfast at the Virginian, we packed up Frank drove south of town for fishing. Jimmie Shell hadn’t been fishing for years so we drove to Dave’s favorite secret spot on the Hoback to see what we could pluck out of the water. What we found was more than good fishing! A big Black Bear checked us out from the opposite bank in the rain.


Fishin’ Time




Dave has some luck


Who you lookin’ at?


That evening it was time for Thai. Dana, Dave, Jimmie, Tim and I met up with a party of friends for big birthday celebrations, a smorgasboard of delicious Thai food, friends and chocolate torte.


Happy Birthday Pillow


On Sunday, Jimmie Shell bid us farewell and Tim and I spent the afternoon scouring Frank inside and out. We had had some infiltrating mice and we decided enough was enough. We vaccuumed their nests, removed seats, cleaned poop and scrubbed floors. We bought traps, peppermint mouse repellant and set them everywhere. The next morning, we heard little giggles. The mice were laughing at us….


Frank gets a cleaning


Mouse Hunt

One more thing!

Well I thought April had been wrapped up, but we had one more pretty cool memory to capture –  The wild burros of Black Canyon.

During our weeks in the desert we would frequently hear the “heehaws” around camp but it wasn’t until we had a few camp raids that we actually saw the size of these big beasts.  We never did get a picture of them, but Sam and Sidney Staebler provided us with one instead!

Tim riding a wild burro from Arizona to Montana.  Nice Sombrero!





68 Miles of Sweet Singletrack: Black Canyon Trail, AZ

There’s a good argument to be made that you cannot find a longer or more continuous stretch of singletrack than the Black Canyon Trail in Arizona.  Both Rob & I had ridden sections and after camping for the week at Table Mesa Trailhead, we decided to tackle the entire 68 miles on one of the shortest days of the year.  We had to hustle, but we got it done!

Early Start
Sunrise Start

The trail is was designed by IMBA and completed over the past 5 years.  There are small sections that are not yet complete or involve jeep/ATV double-track, but these are less than 5% of the total mileage.  95% of the trail is singletrack, and it’s all good.  Even in the descent from 4,000 foot elevation start near Prescott, AZ to 2,000 feet end on the Carefree Highway north of Phoenix, there is still 5,000 vertical feet of climbing.

Finding Trail
Finding Singletrack

It’s difficult to choose a favorite, but I would choose the section between Black Canyon City and Table Mesa (despite the significant climbing, which hurt on this ride).  The ‘Skyline’ section and descent to to the Aqua Fria river would be my recommendation.

Bumble Bee
Bumble Bee Trailhead - Mile 25

We completed the trip in 9 hours and 30 mins, with a little bit of daylight to spare.  We started at 7:30 a.m. and finished around 5:00 p.m.  Here are the statistics:

Total distance: 113.75 km (70.7 mi)
Total time: 9:31:05
Moving time: 8:20:36
Min elevation: 472 m (1549 ft)
Max elevation: 1276 m (4188 ft)
Recorded: 12/23/11 7:13 AM

68 Miles of Singletrack - Black Canyon Trail, AZ
68 Miles of Singletrack - Black Canyon Trail, AZ
Table Mesa
Table Mesa Trailhead
Sunrise on the Black Canyon Trail

Table Mountain

When Jackson summer finally arrives, there is no better place to be than the Tetons.  Blue skies, high 70’s, bright sun.  It’s perfect.  We decided to celebrate the great weather with a 6 mile hike up to Table Mountain with BJ and Lisa.  It’s one of the few places you can hike in the Tetons with a dog, so Schmitty could come too.  We started early Saturday morning after a DOG burrito to fuel up.

Winter is finally letting go of the mountains, but there are still lots of snowy reminders even in July.  We scrambled across acres of snow fields to reach the top, but the views were worth the stream crossings, wet shoes and slick footing.   On our descent, we took the southern Face route, which is a shorter but extremely steep, thigh killing trail.

Table Mountain is known for its accessibility and amazing wild flowers.  We missed the flowers this year – they won’t be up until late July – but it is an absolute favorite anyway.