May 202014
 

Backpacking with kids in Idaho.

This past weekend I took my wife and kids out the East Fork of the Salmon river for an overnight backpacking adventure. It’s amazing how much fun you can pack into 24 little hours! The East Fork is an amazing place filled with wildlife, scenic mountains, hot springs, and an abundance of trails. If you are looking to get your kids into backpacking, this is a great canyon to start them with; the only caveat being that you’ll have to ford the river about a mile from the trailhead.

Backpacking with kids in Idaho.

Backpacking with kids in Idaho.

Backpacking with kids in Idaho.

Backpacking with kids in Idaho.

Backpacking with kids in Idaho.

Backpacking with kids in Idaho.

Backpacking with kids in Idaho.

Backpacking with kids in Idaho.

Backpacking with kids in Idaho.

Backpacking with kids in Idaho.

Backpacking with kids in Idaho.

Backpacking with kids in Idaho.

Backpacking with kids in Idaho.

Backpacking with kids in Idaho.

Backpacking with kids in Idaho.

Backpacking with kids in Idaho.

Backpacking with kids in Idaho.

Backpacking with kids in Idaho.

Backpacking with kids in Idaho.

Backpacking with kids in Idaho.

Backpacking with kids in Idaho.

Backpacking with kids in Idaho.

Feb 012014
 

Backcountry skiing with kids in Idaho.

A dream came true the other day–I was able to take my oldest kiddo, Kaia (9 years old), out on her first backcountry ski tour! We went up to Galena Pass and skinned up a few hundred vert to the top of a mellow slope, dug down to the ground (a whoping 1.5′ of snow) for some snow analysis, and then enjoyed our first turns together as backcountry partners!

We had a blast and Kaia, on her own, mentioned how she enjoyed the quiet and the spectacular views. Since this trip, she’s been begging to get out again!

Backcountry skiing with kids in Idaho.

Backcountry skiing with kids in Idaho.

Backcountry skiing with kids in Idaho.

Backcountry skiing with kids in Idaho.

Backcountry skiing with kids in Idaho.

Backcountry skiing with kids in Idaho.

Backcountry skiing with kids in Idaho.

Backcountry skiing with kids in Idaho.

Backcountry skiing with kids in Idaho.

Backcountry skiing with kids in Idaho.

Jul 032013
 

Photographs from a family adventure in Alaska.

Because my wife is a school teacher, she and I try to get out on a family adventure just after school gets out in early June. Hitting the road after the final school bell rings allows her an immediate reprieve from time spent teaching high school students and, typically, my wedding photography business is still slow (it ramps up in late June/early July). In June of 2013, we traded in our Delta Skymiles and flew up to Alaska for a three week adventure with our two kids. Our itinerary included backpacking in Denali National Park, day trips around Anchorage and the Turnagain Arm, as well as time spent across the spit from Homer in the Haystack Beach yurt. We were treated to unbelievable weather and anytime we were in the backcountry, we felt like we were in an episode of a nature show!

Photo: During the bus ride in Denali National Park while en route to our backpacking drop off spot (Polychrome Basin) we drove by a few Dall sheep.
Photographs from a family adventure in Alaska.

Maritt unloading our backpacks for a few days and nights in the backcountry.
Photographs from a family adventure in Alaska.

Kaia jumping across a braided stream.
Photographs from a family adventure in Alaska.

Lots of tracks were seen, luckily we only saw bears from the safety of the bus.
Photographs from a family adventure in Alaska.

As there are no trails in the Denali backcountry, bushwacking is a common activity.
Photographs from a family adventure in Alaska.

Most of the flowers are dwarfed due to the harsh Alaska weather.
Photographs from a family adventure in Alaska.

Our son Finn resting after the first day of hiking. Photo below by Maritt Wolfrom:
Photographs from a family adventure in Alaska.

Maritt and Finn enjoying glissading!
Photographs from a family adventure in Alaska.

A mama bear and her cub. Day two in the Denali backcountry.
Photographs from a family adventure in Alaska.

We had to descend a loose slope. Maritt instructs the kids how to do so safely.
Photographs from a family adventure in Alaska.

Two of the three states of h2o.
Photographs from a family adventure in Alaska.

A ptarmigan mid-molt.
Photographs from a family adventure in Alaska.

Up, up, and up. Finn finishing the day’s hike in strong fashion.
Photographs from a family adventure in Alaska.

We enjoyed unbelievable views of the many high peaks near Denali.
Photographs from a family adventure in Alaska.

More dwarfed flowers.
Photographs from a family adventure in Alaska.

Where’s Waldo? Photo below by Maritt Wolfrom:
Photographs from a family adventure in Alaska.

Finn descending into the next drainage.
Photographs from a family adventure in Alaska.

The fam.
Photographs from a family adventure in Alaska.

A quick lesson on the cycle of life.
Photographs from a family adventure in Alaska.

After Denali, we enjoyed a private flight over the Chugach Range.
Photographs from a family adventure in Alaska.

This image, like the opening image, is a detail of a glacier.
Photographs from a family adventure in Alaska.

We also took a boat tour of the Kenai Fjords National Park.
Photographs from a family adventure in Alaska.

Kenai Fjords.
Photographs from a family adventure in Alaska.

Kenai Fjords.
Photographs from a family adventure in Alaska.

Morning light from Seward, Ak.
Photographs from a family adventure in Alaska.

Seward, Ak.
Photographs from a family adventure in Alaska.

I’m an Andy Goldsworthy fan and mimic his work every chance I can.
Photographs from a family adventure in Alaska.

Photographs from a family adventure in Alaska.

On our way down the Kenai peninsula, we stopped along the coast and found a group of bald eagles feasting.
Photographs from a family adventure in Alaska.

Photographs from a family adventure in Alaska.

A typical scene in Homer, Ak. Homer is a gateway to amazing adventures.
Photographs from a family adventure in Alaska.

We were ferried to the Haystack Beach Yurt and stayed two nights. The snags along the beach were crazy fun to climb. Maritt took this image and sold it to Patagonia who printed it and hung it in their Vail, Colorado, store!
Photographs from a family adventure in Alaska.

Where there is a will, there is a way!
Photographs from a family adventure in Alaska.

We were in Alaska during the summer solstice. This image was captured at about 11:45pm.
Photographs from a family adventure in Alaska.

The Haystack Beach yurt. A family friendly place to enjoy.
Photographs from a family adventure in Alaska.

Our last sunset in Alaska. We are smitten and hope to be back, often!
Photographs from a family adventure in Alaska.

Jul 092012
 

Rafting the Green River with young children.

This past winter there were a few weeks when I was psyched about bouldering. I had made it past the awkward period of time that it takes to get your fingers, ligaments, and tendons back into functioning order. This recurring interest actually happens annually and it is directly related to the season of anticipation between Fall and Winter when the biking and fishing become a bit cold and the snow depth isn’t sufficient for rock skis. A new couple had begun working the gate at the Y’s climbing gym and one day I struck up a conversation wherein the topics led from climbing to NOLS, to the Desert Southwest, to rafting with kids. It was then that I learned of the Desolation and Gray Canyons of the Green River in Utah, a perfect stretch of river for kids that is full of rapids and solitude, sandstone walls and ultimately, bliss. Since that spark infused conversation, I have learned a bit more about the Green, as have eighteen friends!

At 6am on June 25th, I awoke after three hours of matless “sleeping” on a raft trailer, completely amazed that my neck and back were not seized up. Silhouettes of desert spires were beginning to reveal themselves along the broken horizon as the early dawn indicated a bluebird day lay ahead. Five of us had shuttled our cars from the put-in, four hours north, to Swasey’s Beach. That morning we were headed to the Green River airstrip to board a bushplane for a half hour flight that would finish our shuttle by delivering us to the isolated put-in, Sand Wash. The flight was spectacular, the landing unforgettable, and within a few hours of reuniting with our other river mates, pushed off to float 85 miles of the Green River.

The river level was remarkably low this year due to a dry Colorado winter, but, even at 1200 cfs the Green provided an amazing adventure for both the nine kids aged between 5 and 10, and their ten parents. Rapids were run, swum, and rocks stuck upon. Most of the kids likely swam 40 of the river miles. The meals were gourmet, cocktails and beers unbelievably refreshing. The sights and sounds were utterly phenomenal: the echos in Sumner’s Amphitheater; close-up views of a bear, otters, goats, catfish, blue heron, petroglyphs, moonshiner cabins; attempting to fix a friend’s cataraft which was built in the 1970′s and accepting the fact that it would need pumping before every rapid to keep going; but, mostly enjoying the feeling of being small while staring up huge sandstone walls filled with alcoves, and spires. Here are some images from our trip. If you have not rafted this section of river, you definitely should!

Rafting the Green River with young children.

Rafting the Green River with young children.

Rafting the Green River with young children.

Rafting the Green River with young children.

Rafting the Green River with young children.

Rafting the Green River with young children.

Rafting the Green River with young children.

Rafting the Green River with young children.

Rafting the Green River with young children.

Rafting the Green River with young children.

Rafting the Green River with young children.

Rafting the Green River with young children.

Rafting the Green River with young children.

Rafting the Green River with young children.

Rafting the Green River with young children.

Rafting the Green River with young children.

Rafting the Green River with young children.

Rafting the Green River with young children.

Rafting the Green River with young children.

Rafting the Green River with young children.

Rafting the Green River with young children.

Rafting the Green River with young children.

Rafting the Green River with young children.

Rafting the Green River with young children.

Rafting the Green River with young children.

Rafting the Green River with young children.

Rafting the Green River with young children.

Rafting the Green River with young children.

Rafting the Green River with young children.

Rafting the Green River with young children.

Rafting the Green River with young children.

Rafting the Green River with young children.

Rafting the Green River with young children.

Rafting the Green River with young children.

Rafting the Green River with young children.

Rafting the Green River with young children.

Rafting the Green River with young children.

Rafting the Green River with young children.

Rafting the Green River with young children.

Rafting the Green River with young children.

Rafting the Green River with young children.

Oct 252011
 

An image captured in the Pioneer Mountains of Idaho

As a kid I visited my dad once a year and we always went out fishing off the Southern California coast or would take long road trips up the east side of the Sierra to Lone Pine or Bishop. In his house, he had stuffed trophy tuna and marlin hanging from his walls from his years spent fishing off shore. But, he also had half a dozen pheasant and duck frozen in mid-flight poses, wings arced and full of air slowing for their final approach, which he had hunted with both his father and grandfather.

This past November I drove up for a visit with my dad who, at the time, was fighting a rare form of sarcoma. On that visit he brought up from the basement my great-grandfather’s 20 gauge shotgun and handed it to me. It was a moment unlike any other, in part because I knew why I was receiving a family heirloom. It was an honor to receive such a gift and yet, it was tinged with complete sadness.

Since I grew up primarily with my mom’s family, hunting was never a past time we partook in and I’d never even pulled the trigger of a shotgun when he passed the relic on to me. As sick as my dad was that weekend, he summoned the strength to drive out a forest service road with me and fire off a few shells together. Though I knew I would never have the chance to hunt with him, I didn’t want the heirloom to lack at least some connection between us.

Now, when Fall comes around, I reach for the old 20 gauge, dust it off, and I take it for a walk. I have yet to hit a bird, but, that’s really beside the point. This past Saturday, my good friend Dean and I went up into the Pioneer mountains in search of grouse. We didn’t come across any, but, again, that’s beside the point! We enjoyed an amazing day hiking up to snowline, ambling through White Bark Pines, and I enjoyed thinking about my dad with the double barrel in my hand. This is an image from Saturday.

Mar 282011
 

image from the Monterey Bay Aquarium

Yes, I’ve been in love with photography since about 7th grade, however, I entered college in a fisheries and wildlife program. Farley Mowat could be blamed for part of my decision to enter wildlife biology as I thought I could run naked with wolves in Canada and write books about the adventures! After my first year, I thought swimming with dolphins might be a better way to go and so I transferred to Marine Biology. But, as I took a harder look at the course curriculum and discovered I would graduate with a minor in chemistry simply by filling the required courses, I decided to switch my major to art! Nevertheless, I’m a sucker for nature shows and if it’s about creatures in the ocean, I’m hooked.

My family and I spent part of this past week down in the San Francisco Bay Area. On one day we visited the Monterey Bay Aquarium and had a hard time keeping up with our two kids as they ran from tank to tank with their mouths open like the fish their wide eyes stared intently upon. If you get the chance, visit this amazing aquarium. It’s a phenomenal experience for all ages.

image from the Monterey Bay Aquarium

image from the Monterey Bay Aquarium

image from the Monterey Bay Aquarium

image from the Monterey Bay Aquarium

image from the Monterey Bay Aquarium

image from the Monterey Bay Aquarium

image from the Monterey Bay Aquarium

image from the Monterey Bay Aquarium

image from the Monterey Bay Aquarium

image from the Monterey Bay Aquarium

Jan 222011
 

Canoeing Hayden Lake during sunrise.
I’m up on Hayden Lake in Northern Idaho visiting my dad this weekend. Going back in time, ie. from Mountain time to Pacific, gets my kids up an hour earlier. After making crepes for the family, treating the kids to some cartoons (we don’t have TV at our house), my six year old daughter was up for a sunrise canoe paddle. We bundled up and headed out on the lake!

Canoeing Hayden Lake during sunrise.

Canoeing Hayden Lake during sunrise.

Nov 012010
 

Family portrait at The Farm in Murray, Utah, near Salt Lake City.

This past weekend I took my family down to Salt Lake City to visit with friends my wife and I have both known since our Bozeman days. I wanted to get out and photograph family portraits for them on my visit and we tried to time the session between rain squalls. We headed to “The Wheeler Farm” in Murray where it proceeded to rain in sheets! Their girls were great and gave me almost a 1/2 hour of their time before being 2 and 4 took over!

Family portrait at The Farm in Murray, Utah, near Salt Lake City.

Family portrait at The Farm in Murray, Utah, near Salt Lake City.

Family portrait at The Farm in Murray, Utah, near Salt Lake City.

Family portrait at The Farm in Murray, Utah, near Salt Lake City.

Family portrait at The Farm in Murray, Utah, near Salt Lake City.

Family portrait at The Farm in Murray, Utah, near Salt Lake City.

Family portrait at The Farm in Murray, Utah, near Salt Lake City.

Family portrait at The Farm in Murray, Utah, near Salt Lake City.

Family portrait at The Farm in Murray, Utah, near Salt Lake City.

Sep 162010
 

4 year old Finn on his Razor at the Hailey Skate Park

This is my last year with my little man, Finn, at home two days a week; his last year in Pre-K. Fall is a fun time for us as the “big kids” are all back in school and the skate park in Hailey is relatively empty. Tuesdays and Thursdays are our days to play together. After watching Dogtown the other night, I was even more psyched to keep him in the park. While he is not quite on a deck with four wheels, he’s getting the groove going and getting higher on the banks with his Razor!

4 year old Finn on his Razor at the Hailey Skate Park

4 year old Finn on his Razor at the Hailey Skate Park

4 year old Finn on his Razor at the Hailey Skate Park

4 year old Finn on his Razor at the Hailey Skate Park

4 year old Finn on his Razor at the Hailey Skate Park

Unknown skater

Unknown skater

Aug 132010
 

Living in Idaho where the sagebrush desert meets the world of conifers and high peaks is wonderful. We are afforded the experience of four seasons each possessing their own distinct beauty. While we do adventure into new areas frequently–and could spend every weekend hiking into a new high alpine cirque–it’s fun to travel!

This past July, I took my family and great friends, the Hanson’s, in to the Olympic Peninsula in Washington State. We spent five nights in the backcountry in two different sections of the National Park: the Ozette Loop and the Hoh River Trail.

As with every adventure we take into wilderness, my wife and I are pleasantly reminded that children find themselves completely and wonderfully entertained with the basics: wood, stone, water, & fire. Here are a few highlights from our week on the Peninsula…