Friday, December 13, 2013

Christmas Letter 2013

Dear Friends and Family,

Merry Christmas from the coast of Northern California! It’s been a wonderful year for the three of us. Here are some of the highlights…

January: In the silence of a late afternoon winter day, we skied into the wilds of Lassen National Forest in Northern California, Jasper clinging to his daddy’s back. The sky was brilliant blue and the surrounding mountains covered in a mantle of snow. Soon, Jasper was giggling with delight!

February: With sunset came a sudden explosion of pink on the surrounding desert landscape near Dumont Dunes. Mike’s job as a BLM ranger continues to take him on many adventures, mostly locally on the beaches and in coastal mountains of Northern California, but also occasionally on details to the deserts of Nevada and Southern California.

March: With a big smile on his face, Jasper splashed around the pool…a now familiar scene to him as he completed his 1st swimming class.

April: The scene was perfect for a celebration: turquoise-blue river, a surrounding hillside of redwood trees and a cozy cabin. We were on the edge of the Chetco River in Southern Oregon for a celebration of Jasper’s first year of life!

May: As the sun dropped into the Pacific Ocean, we climbed to the rocky summit of Bear Basin Butte, then spent the night in the nearby lookout cabin.

June: Jagged, snowy mountains shot into the sky in every direction. A thick layer of fog hung over a small snowfield, but brilliant blue sky dominated everywhere else. Two marmots scampered among the rocks on the wild and stunningly scenic Hurricane Ridge in Olympic NP, Washington.

July: Wildflowers danced in the warm sunshine and cool breeze at the edge of a stunning sub-alpine lake in the heart of the Trinity Mountains, our home for the night. It was one of those glorious summer days that seem to go on forever. Slowly, the sun dropped past the mountains to the west, the sky turned a deep red and faded to black as countless stars appeared.

August: After four days of lonely ridges and wild lakes, a view like no other lay before me. Crater Lake is a jewel rimmed by rugged mountains…a scene no words can truly describe. Susanna, Jasper and our friend Rori camped in the area for 8 nights while acting as our support crew, as my brother and I had an epic Pacific Crest Trail adventure in the wilderness of Southern Oregon.

September: The mighty Potomac River thundered through a gorge that makes up Great Falls Park in Virginia. Jasper pointed to the water in awe. We were at the very start of a wonderful, 3-week journey to New England to visit family and friends and once again discover the magic of autumn!

October: Dark clouds swirled about the rocky, rugged peaks of the White Mountains in New Hampshire. We walked slowly around a small lake gazing at the brilliant yellow leaves surrounding us.

November: A light rain was falling as we turned the corner into a steep-walled canyon. Elk tracks dotted the nearby meadow and massive redwood trees covered the surrounding hills. There was a late-fall hush in the wilds of Fern Canyon in Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park.

December: A deep quiet has descended upon the redwoods of Northern California. The cold, wet winter has begun. Even inside our cozy home, I can hear the roar of the ocean, just a mile or so away. We thank God every day for our wonderful family and the beauty of His creation all around us.

We hope you have all had an incredible 2013 and hope to see you in 2014!

Mike, Susanna and Jasper