March 31, 2010

The Ocean

A trip to the Ocean means sand between our toes and the sweet smell of salty air in our nose, fresh and aromatic - delightful and distinctive. Driving trough eucalyptus groves, (although not native to California) with an intense clean smell that complementing the sounds of the waves breaking clears the mind, completely. Spring is in the air, wildflowers are blooming, birds are singing and waves are crashing. What better time to enjoy a long expanse of beach by ourselves, letting our boys frolic in the receding tide and dig in the soft clean sand while we comb the beach for shells and pebbles, letting our senses wander and our thoughts disperse with the cool breeze.

The winter rains have combined with the moist ocean air to bring life to the hills, moss drapes from evergreen branches, bushes and grasses bloom with radiant color. We are spellbound, entranced by the beauty surrounding us. Even driving along narrow winding coastal roads looking down steep precipices to the crashing ocean below is meditative. We aren't in a hurry, we don't need to be anywhere. We can just slow down and take in the natural wonder waiting behind the next bend in the road. Spring has sprung and we are cherishing it's splendor.

San Francisco - Gardens and Playgrounds

The thoughts of spring and cherry blossoms are perhaps not the first things that come to mind when describing San Francisco, but as the snows recede in the mountains, spring is taking hold down in the valleys and along the California coast. Golden Gate Park, with it's colorful gardens and playgrounds beckoned for a visit.  How though, to see the city with two small children?

San Francisco, like all large major cities, needs to be consumed in small doses or it quickly becomes overwhelming for two patient little boys. So with an unambitious itinerary we set out to enjoy the signs of spring in the city.

March 22, 2010

First Tracks

The allure of looking back at a fresh set of tracks carved gracefully in new fallen snow is something most skiers can understand and appreciate. A winter storm rolled into Truckee and sent me out into the snow in search of some of those precious first tracks.  However, that same allure is felt by many and the search for a patch of untracked powder often proves difficult, particularly in ski areas inhabited by an overpopulation of ski bums. On two particular days this March, the usual crowd was thinner than expected and the search proved easier than anticipated.

March 19, 2010

Granite Playground

As one of the last cold and snowy storms moved in we left the shelter of the mountains. Despite the promise of a few days of great skiing, we abandoned our skis and headed through the storm and made our way down out of the snow, toward spring and a few days respite from winter.

Under the premise of finding a playground of large climable boulders in a clean granite landscape, we followed windy mountain roads up from the Sacremento Valley floor and came to a stop in the shadow of riparian forest curious as to what could possibly lie just a few minutes walk through the trees. A short stroll led us out of the shadows of pines and cedars and into a granite playground. Boulders of every shape and size were strewn across clean granite slabs. With a beautiful blue sky above, we set out to explore and play.

March 1, 2010

Learning to Ski

Finding a balance between our own desire to ski with spending time with our kids has proven to be much easier than anticipated. For the most part, we've had to swap time indoors hanging out/playing with the kids and getting a few turns in. With a long ski season though, we've already got plenty of skiing in, even if it only amount to a couple hours a day. They best part about having season passes and no other plans is that we aren't in a hurry. That in itself makes the day go much smoother. On days with fresh snow, I've been fortunate to be able to head out first and get my share of the powder before coming back in and taking my turn with the kids. The one challenge though has been trying to share our joy of skiing with Elias. Not quite three years old yet, he's already spent a fair amount of time on skis, having received his first pair when we was a little over a year and a half. This winter, we've been able to take him onto the ski lift for a different perspective than just skiing on the flats. For the most part, he's been skiing between my legs and learning to put more and more weight on his skis so that eventually he can ski on his own. However, as the season has progressed, he has shown plenty of enthusiasm and is finally able to ski down low angle slopes on his own.