Began the day with a trip up Town Hill.
Lots of ‘beelers currently in Cooke, making waaay too much noise…

so off to the sanctuary (Wilderness) I went.
Here, a mile and a half in, and I can still clearly hear the 2-stroke wine.

Thus deeper I went…

The long awaited Point of View.  A promising first test.


the white room

Skied one of my favorite zones in Yellowstone National Park today.  
Easily the deepest day of the year...



Ross Pk. today.

Recently in New Zealand, I got back into the ‘wino’ mentality.  We’d proclaim ‘grapes!’, and sample a new Pinot Noir (from Central Otago) every other day or so. 
Thus, back in the States, here’s my half-hearted ‘big’ red sample from the last week and a half (all around 8 bucks at Town and Country). 

The El Portillo Malbec ’08 (Argentine) felt a bit too frivolous on the palate (fruity).  Not something to savor nor contemplate.  The Cycles Gladiator, a ’08 Californian Cab Sauv went really well with a bowl of black beans, but I definitely wouldn’t write home about it.  Thus, taking the round was the Gnarly Head Old Vine Zin (another 2008 vintage).  A Californian bottle of grapes with some game.  They cite licorice, plum, pepper and vanilla.  Spot on splendid.  Try it.  


Local History

Fascinating history here around Cooke City. 
From the mind-boggling geology (like 27 different layers of petrified forest atop the nearby Specimen Ridge), to the extraordinary anthropology of the last 300 years (apparently there were 1200 people living here in 1887!) Cooke City has stories aplenty...


It’s been snowing.  A lot.

Austin Hart, catching some air on Town Hill.


Mt. Wolverine

I followed a coyote up Wolverine Peak in the late afternoon light.

Dropped in as the sun set.  Surreal GOLden light. 
Spooking up 3 mountain goats!
Laughing hysterically at the perfect snow and undulating aesthetics of my broad spine line. Then, low and behold, out pops a PERfect fifteen-foot log, diving board!  ideal tranny… to good to be true.

As yes, I got beNIGHTed.  partially.  (with full moon skiing back to the Soda Butte ;)


Land Line

Yep, got my telephone up and running today.  838-2129 
Pretty big news for me. 
Huge progress towards the coveted dial-up Internet connection... and all the information I can ever dream about (or have the patience to wait for).

So if you ever feel like prank calling someone (or are curious about the weather in Cooke City ;), holler.

Oh, and the skiing today.. phen-om en-all.


Search and Rescue meeting today.
No one showed up.

It’s funny.  I’m loosely affiliated with the Cooke City SAR (read: they don’t give me a pager, and I don’t have a telephone (yet), but I’ve always volunteered my services should the situation arise…) but at this evening’s meeting/ avalanche refresher, I was more or less the only member… for whatever that’s worth.  Lot’s of Park Service and FS employees though (on the clock).


Dat Dere

Lately I’ve become re-infatuated with good Jazz music. 
Specifically bop/ hard bop from the late 50’s/ early 60’s.

That’s one cool thing being all isolated here in Cooke.  There no radio reception, nor TV, and the Internet access is EXTREMELY limited (minimal and generally via Satellite), so one is forced to think at long lengths about new music (or any idea) they fancy hearing or learning about.  And once the information is available/ absorbed, contemplation tends to last a lot longer.

And yes.  A very widespread avalanche cycle has occurred in the last 12 hours (primarily resulting from a density inversion within the new snow).  Probably noted about a dozen fresh avalanches this afternoon.  Super exciting phenomena, especially when you’re backcountry skiing all the time.


Fountain of Youth

Made the trip into town today.  I tend to resupply (fresh fruits and veges) every ten days or so.
Also, scored a much needed bath in the Boiling River (aka- the fountain of youth).  It's amazing how much the geothermal activity fluctuates from season to season and year to year.  
Always different.  And ENTHRALLING.


Mt. Republic

Yesterday marked my season’s inaugural trip up mighty Mount Republic.

Photo from my front door.  (What’s it like to live in Cooke City?!)


Mi Casa Su Casa

Just wanted to let ya’ll know that everyone is more than welcome here at my pad in Cooke City.

Here’s a photo of the new ‘Lair’.

It’s deluxe.  Chin-up bar, wood burning stove, even has running water! (almost)

and the accompanying sauna.  (saved for special occasions.)

as well as the guest house!  aka ‘the ‘birdhouse’.


Republic Pass

Up to the Cache Creek divide.
Inclement weather.  Rimed sign.  Classic.


Pebble Creek

Magical trip into the Park yesterday.

I ended up tracking a moose...
when out swooped a giant Great Horned Owl!
Breathtaking experience.  

Also, was stoked to scope a potential entrance into the north couloir of Baronette's north peak.  
Looks wild!  And quite unlikely.  But good to get the ski mountaineering imagination rolling.

(photo from last March, mid couloir)


back to Cooke!

Stoked to be back.
My late evening return reminded me about how much I appreciate the wildlife around here.

Here's a coyote I clocked at 28 mph!

A Bison I almost tagged (he was chillin’ at the bottom of an icy hill ;)

And some pine marten tracks in the un-shoveled snow around my cabin.

The highlight though, was undoubtedly when I came across a pack of wolves!  Five or six right in the road, near the Pebble Creek confluence.  Got right up close to them.  Awesome!


weekend 'round the Gallatin Valley

spent the weekend enjoying big city Bozeman
the primary purpose involved teaching a basic avalanche class for ASMSU and the Friends of the GNFAC at Bridger Bowl.  I went really well.  Good students, great conditions. 
Photo from atop the Ramp.
Love riding in the Bridgers. 
Super fun terrain around the ridgeline, consistently deep pow and an awesome vibe.

Also managed a couple ski tours up Hyalite (including a night camping).
Here’s one looking down the north face of Mt. Blackmore, a Bozeman classic. 

A wonderful vantage point for the northern Greater Yellowstone goods.  Everything is just laid out in front of you.  Cowan and the Absarokas, the Crazies, Bridgers, Tobacco Roots, on down the extensive Madison Range and back through the Gallatin Range.   Soooo much to explore.

Great to catch up with some old friends too!



And thus begins another season.
Living the dream, here in Cooke City.

So, following countless hours of shoveling and chopping, and a handful of ski tours off neighborhood classics like Woody Ridge, Mt. Henderson, and upper Sheep Creek (pow skiing!), I am startled to catch a glimpse of 20 foot flame lengths late one night out my cabin window (three days in, Nov. 30th). Quickly gearing up, adrenaline racing (thinking someone’s cabin is burning to the ground!), I race through the dark, snowy woods, on this wild edge of town. Soon to find out, it’s only the hardcore, local slednecks. Folks I see around often, but without much more than a ‘howdy’ and tip of my cap.
There’re burning large stacks of snowmobile pallets, and crushing a few brews. Nonchalantly.
Needless to say, it began to snow.