Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Just back from Antarctica. I was invited by Graham Charles to go down on a three week trip aboard the 72 meter OCEAN NOVA. After a bit of "airport hell" I completed the transit through Buenos Aires to Ushuaia at the southern tip of Argentina. Quark Expeditions was the host company and I was thrilled that they provided sea kayaks so that I could paddle the ice and get shots like the one above. It was an incredible experience to visit The Faulklands, South Georgia and the Weddell Sea side of the Antarctic peninsula. Extremely well run ship in every respect and the Expedition Crew were tireless in their pursuit of creating the ultimate experience for the 60 passengers. This trip includes lots of Zodiak landings and this, of course is a major highlight. Normally they have a complete sea kayak agenda which I would highly recommend, however, this particular trip did not include this itinerary. They were kind enough to include a couple kayaks, though, so I could get a feel for how ridiculously fun paddling in the ice is! Thank you G Charles on that one. The combination of seeing tons of animal life, ice, ocean and a supremely comfortable ship was unparalleled! If you are interested there are a ton of photos on our "fans" page http://www.facebook.com/pages/Otter-Bar-Lodge/84701887461?ref=ts. Back on the river now and waiting for snow with Christmas coming in a few days. Looking forward to seeing the kids ( Rush back from the Congo recently and Alli working with autistic kids in Berkeley) and spending some quality family time. Love to you all! peter

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

October 12 2011

Wonderful Fall weather now at Otter Bar with approx 4 inches of rain to date. Ponds are clean and almost full. New roof on the shop complete and a new wood shed addition complete, as well. Back to landscaping now and the days grow shorter. We had a much better year with bookings up and tremendous water throughout the season. The Fall salmon runs have been epic and check out the dive clips on our "fans" page. They are spawning on the property as I write and it is a wonder to contemplate their tenacity to return to the exact same spot they were born and continue the cycle. Kristy has been busy completing the season's office work and we will be departing soon on a trip North to visit friends and family. I am headed to Antarctica in November for a three week trip with Graham Charles aboard the Ocean Nova. Quite a treat! Gearing up for ski season now as there is snow up high and the juices are flowing. Thanks for making this wonderful life possible and we will continue to make otter bar the place of dreams as long as our clients keep loving it here! Cheers and keep in touch and I will continue to put up an occasional post throughout the off season. peter sturges Fall 2011

Saturday, August 27, 2011

August 21 - 27

It was a great way to end the season with a full house, fantastic people and great paddling. "The Ferg" even made it for the last few days! Really enjoyed seeing Paul and Werner again and Cheryl Hunt took no guff for her second week. It was a delight having Bill and Carrie and Justen return once again despite the fact that Carrie never quits harassing us. John and Amy McLachlan made the scene once again and there was no shortage of humorous banter. Enjoyed meeting the Boche family and the boys really ripped it up on the Ikes run. Ryan and heather London were new on the scene, as well and were really fun to have around. Elizabeth Snyder came from DC to avoid the hurricane and created a typhoon of energy here at OB. Super fun week with stunning weather in the high 80's low 90's and the food was off the charts (THANK YOU Kendra Dano and Jackie). Wonderful send off with PK, Benny, and Jess and Daan, holding court and I will miss you all! Thanks for being such killer employees and thanks to all the guests for making this fine life possible!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

August 14-20

Super fun week for the entire staff and the guests, as well. Special mention goes to the wonderful Russian families that came so far to visit us in the remote wilds of Northern CA. The three kids (Kamil, Arslan and Tagir) were keen boaters and great students! Their parents (Bulat,Liliya, Rustern and Fagima) also were particularly joyful to be here and this week will never be forgotten by any of us! Great having Cheryl Hunt here again, as well as Wade hall who hadn't visited in many years. And then there was the amazing 78 yr old Jack Batzler (former fighter pilot and navy Admiral who skippered the Nimitz) who just decided to learn to kayak. We loved seeing Jennifer Stewart again and Tracy and Charlie Keene and Jack Kyman were a wonderful addition. Fantastic paddling on the Salmon and the Klamath and some of the group even did the Ike's run. The Wednsday diving was the best in OB history as there are so many fish in the river (Kings and Steelhead) and you couldn't miss seeing them. We are approaching our last week of the season and will so miss chef extraordinaire Kendra Howard who is off to Burning Man this Tuesday. She and Dano and Jackie have kept the culinary standard to the highest level! Great job from guides Peter K, Jess and Daan, and Kyle Kovalik. You guys make my life so much easier. Thanks to you all for being here and making this week so spectacular!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Another wonderful week. We were mostly on the Salmon with the exception of the Stand Up Paddle boarders who dominated on the Klamath. I did take a few photos of two of the SUP/RIVER crew on the property run the last day but none on the Klamath. The jury is in, though, and apparently the Klamath is 5 star for paddle boarding. Sean, Sebastian and Chris starred in our first ever foray into this new sport and successfully ran all of the runs we normally use in the kayak program and LOVED them!! Great seeing Kirk Heyne after many years who brought his loquatious and lovely daughter Clare. Seija Surr was a delight and we enjoyed meeting Renne and Veronika as well as Ed and Chris. Fantastic paddling, biking and dining for yet another stunning week of perfect weather. Blue/green days and intensely starry nights with highs in the 80's was the norm. Great job, Andy and Ben and Chris. Kendra was top flight in the kitchen, as well as the amazing Dano and Jackie. Easy to love what you do with this crew. Kristy rocked it in the office, as always, and I can't say enough about what a great job she does here. Two weeks left which are solidly booked and we may even have to pay taxes this year. Thanks for coming! p

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Perfect weather, amazing flows, food, people, punctuated this week to the end. It was a full and fun week especially with the addition of Doug Hudson and his partner Eric. Three teen girls (Shannon, Nahanni and Hannah) kept us on our toes. John Mason was back with his son Kyle and coupled with KC and Clint, Bob and Jen and Dave and Betsy and Nick we had a rollicking time of it on and off the river. We were, once again on the Salmon the whole week! I shot a ton of pictures on the lower Salmon on Thursday and with stunning water quality, temps in the high 80's it was an indelible experience. There were a few blunders in the eddies and a swim here and there but that's what going to a kayak school is all about. We had a ten out of 10 success running kissing rock on Friday and Margarita night was full throttle. Stellar guide crew with the PK, Benny, Andy and Andrew holding court. And, of course our chefs extrordinaire - Kendra, Jackie and Dano were on their game as always It's hard to believe we make our living doing this and we owe it all to you guys for showing up at this remote outpost. Thanks for coming!! peter

Sunday, July 31, 2011

July 24 - 30

There were a lot of highlights this week with killer flows, weather and camraderie! Great to see John Perone and Steve Hochederafter so many years as well as Bruce Van Nice. Those guys in combo with Steve Barns and Bill Kraft kept the humor meter pegged all week. The paddling was 5 star and the learning curves steep (nice job on that combat roll Ione)! We dove on the Salmon on Wed and there were lots of Kings deep in the hole. It was a real pleasure to meet Karen Graul as well as the Fromm family (Gerrie, Rick and Russel). Erica gets the prize for the biggest smile at the end of the week. We were on the Salmon the entire week and the water just kept getting clearer and warmer. You guys were a blast! cheers and thanks for coming! p

Sunday, July 24, 2011

July 17 - 23

This was a particularly fun week with a bunch of very game and nice people! The Ritter clan distinguished themselves on (and off) the river. Josh and Dan really ripped it up as did Michelle, Sheryl and Bill. Beth, of course, was the rock star. Dick and Maryke were a wonderful addition and are the sweetest people ever! Tim Ritter did an amazing thing bringing his whole family and Lindsey and the whole clan seemed to have the time of their lives! We spent a lot of time on the Otter Bar to Crapo section and were able to get on the lower river on Friday. Looks like the river will stay in for some time as the levels seem to be holding. Looking forward to the Klamath coming in, though, as it has been too high. cheers to you all and THANKS! peter

Saturday, July 16, 2011

July 10 - 16

Mike and Eric have just left and Beth is staying on for another week. Small but an excellent group of people who got on famously. We had a rapidly dropping river and are now on the section in front of Otter bar and the lower river. The beach is out big time and as lovely as ever and I have been swimming everyday! It is quite brisk as the days have been cool (low 80's) and the nights in the high 40's low 50's. Took the SUP to Crapo yesterday and what a blast. Wonderful year for us as business has picked up and our final 6 weeks are filling nicely. Excellent job on the part of ace instructor Benny extrordinaire and the culinary staff went over the top, as always. Thanks for being here and hope we see you again soon! p

Sunday, July 10, 2011

July 3 - 9

The river is finally dropping. There is still plenty of snow tucked up in the northern aspects but the bigger pushes are over. Lovely summer weather this week and, as always, the group excelled! Sweet group of people and their rapt attention to Rex's superb performance on margarita night was much appreciated. Special kudos to Kyle Kovalik for his performance (on all levels) as well. He helped me wrap up the lower pond clean out on the last day and I am super appreciative (and sore). Sorry I missed your departures! Great seeing Heidi and Bryan again - their enthusiasm knows no bounds. They even talked their friends Mark and Mary into coming along who were clearly taken with the place. Pete and Kathy Litz were a delight as was Stephanie who really seemed to light up this week. Really appreciated Bruce Wear's second appearance at OB this year and we enjoyed meeting his son John. Team Brown University (Fred and Bryan) were a fantastic addition and Jennifer Lux did light up the place with her own glitter and fire - after all it was fourth of July. Yes, the fireworks were as spectacular as always! Thanks to the 5 star guides ( PK, Grum, J and D) as well as another outstanding performance by our culinary experts Kendra, Jackie and Dano! Thanks for coming!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

June 26 - July 3

This week was not without its challenges. Great flows early on and then a big warm rain came in. River went from 3,000 to 7,000 overnight. Good timing, though as the group was super game on Tuesday as the water came up and then by Thursday the river came way down! Wonderful seeing Dan and Elizabeth again as well as Jeff Donaldson! Thanks for all the help at the first aid station as we had to do a minor repair on Mike Mayes. Trevor rocked it this week in the big stuff (as did his dad) and we had a stout beginner crew with Mark, Mike Cummings and Gordon. A pleasure to see Greg and Danielle again after many years and I believe they had a singular and wonderful experience! Truly an unusual year with the snow coming off ever so slowly. 5 star guide staff (Grum,Farkas,J and D), as always, and I am hugely appreciative of the exceptional level of professionalism displayed by all of them. I know this sounds like my usual brew of my effusively positive crap but you that have been here know of what I speak. Thanks so much for coming and sorry Saturday was a bit on the hectic side not to mention Wednesday night - one for the OB history "Book Of Snags" cheers

Sunday, June 26, 2011

June 19 - 25 2011

Super fun week with another game (and hilarious) crew. Great to see Bill Sullivan, Caryl Hart and Erin Rottman again! We had chunky but doable flows with the river finally plummeting towards the end of the week. Perfect weather as summer is here and, as always, the kitchen crew rocked out meal after meal of 5 star fare. Some fun new folks this week with Terry and Don pegging the laugh meter on a constant basis. Great to meet Ingrid (happy birthday), Laura and Michelle. Tawney was a wonderful addition and instructor Dave Farkas was, for some reason, was over the top. Kettering and Ben were also in fine form and the crew did an exceptional job with a variety of skill levels and a river that was less than ideal.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

June 12 - 18

Summer finally showed up with excellent flows! We even had some beginners this week but it was a super game group and everyone seemed to love the whole experience (way to rock it Sara)! Kristy and I joined the week late after attending Alli's graduation from UCSC. Great seeing Steve Fredrick again as well as Rob and Linda and Leslie. Stellar folks who have been here so many times - how we love you! We were joined on Margarita night by a number of OB guides and their significant others. Jason Arbetter and Rachel were a delight to see as well as Grum and Ellissa, Peter and Vicki, Dave farkas and Tawny as well as Alli Sturges and her friend Sam. It was the Salmon River at it's very best with crystal clear days and temps in the low 80's and Rex Richardson with his fine tunes for the finale. Some great new folks this week, as well, and we enjoyed meeting Robert and Linda, and John and Denita. THANKS FOR COMING peter

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

June 5 - 11

Wonderful flows once again. We somehow have managed to make it this far without unmanageable flows! Fun to see the father/ son team of Kurt and Tristan - they rocked. Ty and Michele (on their honeymoon no less) as always kept us rolling. Thanks to Joanne and Bob for returning for so many years and keeping us alive and having so much fun here! We had lots of new people this week and it is so appreciated. Carl Reuter especially distinguished himself by helping the boss big time with lots of new info re alternative power systems. The weather is finally beginning to be summer and it is a joyous thing. Fantastic instructional crew this week and Kristy and I really appreciate their help while we were off at Alli's graduation from UCSC which was a total blast (even Rush showed up). They were truly on top of everything. Dano and Jackie and Kendra rocked it in the kitchen and this was heavily mentioned in in the guest comments. I posted their food pics album on the fans page so check it out. Very cool and fun to have a record of all those meals. Thanks to you all for making this another great week. cheers peter

Sunday, June 5, 2011

May 29 - June 5

This was a solid group in all ways! The entire staff really enjoyed this week as you guys were game and never complained about the shitty weather, surly staff and marginal food - just kidding. The food was, well, off the charts and that helped. Juxtapositionings of note that added spice included the "Grahams" / South African wine guy versus kiwi kayak icon. The banter was rich and the wine certainly flowed! Loved seeing Bella and Jeff rock it on the river and speaking of rocking it, Steve Carnale certainly stepped up to the plate. Andy Bright and Janet Russel were a pleasure and, of course seeing Henry Louderbough hang tough was a treat. Greg Simmons and Bruce Wear did not disappoint once again! Bruce Fang was new on the scene (thanks for the shuttle) and George Ruff's level of commitment is exceptional. So I know I always wax effusive on these but... you guys ROCK! Speaking of rocking, our chefs Kendra, Jackie and Dano are setting a new standard of culinary excellence at OB. Oh, and the kayak instruction was OK too with Benny, PK, Grum and Dave Farkas spinning their webs. THANKS for coming guys! p

Saturday, May 28, 2011

May 22 - 28

This one goes down in the OB history book. Such a fun and cohesive group. Things started out wonderfully with stunning but coolish weather and fantastic reparte. But family matters began to intervene causing a number (the most ever) of people to have to leave (6 out of 15) over the course of the week. We loved meeting "The Fergs" good buddy Mel Hammer and while his hot water heater skills may need sharpening he was a hell of a hand and the boss enjoyed having him around immensely. Pippin and Mikeska were in fine form and the Johnson clan truly rocked the place this week. Talk about a dynamic bunch - Sandy and Kashia only have one speed (all ahead FULL) and Paul was his usual uneffusive, understated self who just can't seem to focus on the positive in life. Cool having Sean make a cameo and great to see Mark Service and John Carmen, although we think john needs a bigger truck. And yes, we did kayak our brains out this week and the rivers were as emerald and perfect as they ever get. Idlewild was a highlight for some and Mike Forster and PJ got the style points up there. Peterson was his cuddly and lovable self and couldn't resist telling us (again) that his 27 visits here have financed everything we have. Really enjoyed seeing Gordon Bainbridge after many years and the inclusion of Janet Zalewski was perfect for group dynamics. The food was truly off the charts with Kendra and Jackie and Dano holding court in the kitchens. The guide staff was nothing short of A plus with Graham C, PK, Zak and Bin leading the charge - kudos to them! I hope all the family disasters that people had to leave for are OK and we were truly sad to lose each and every one who had to leave! cheers and THANKS for coming p

Sunday, May 15, 2011

May 8 - 14

We had a great group of people this week with strong skills. Very nice weather and while it was a little coolish it kept a lid on the flows. The levels were optimum, the food was off the charts (Dano, Jackie and Kendra are world class chefs) and the guides delivered a superb product. We have a lot of fun running this operation it is is so rewarding to have our second week go off as well as the first! Great having so many repeat clients. Clifford Schostal made an appearance after many years and paddled well. Great to see Merida, and Rhiem and Chris Hest all of whom ripped it up out there. Paul Popovich pegged the meter and stayed for another two weeks entertaining the guests with fashionable headware complete with 15 stiches (loved running out to the valley w/you, Paul). Fun to see Steve Rottman who was ever shy and rarely had a comment (thanks for the shuttle Steve). Michael Welch was strong and steady and we enjoyed seeing Dan and Luis after many years. Our only new guests this week were Beth and Len and they were a nice addition to this group. Thanks for keeping us alive here, guys! Keep on paddling p

Saturday, May 7, 2011

May 1 - 7

Week one 2011. We all had a blast! This was an incredible first week with a super fun group (admit it guys - it was so good) with amazing food, stunning sun, and perfect flows. You guys pegged the meter and I loved this week. But only because I got my hoe where I needed her (see stunning model pictured with her). The boss was a bit preoccupied with his new backhoe but the combination of happy guests and a number of fantastic new staff and old made for a five star week for all of us. I blew it with the photos but will post a few on the "fans" page anyhow. Thank you all so much for being here and we wish Cat and Tim the very best on their trip around the world - we will miss you next year! Our thirtieth year and weeks like this make us realize how much we love what we do AND the people who come here! cheers peter

Monday, February 21, 2011

Feb 21 - Photo above was taken today. Great skiing this winter with tons of early rain and snow in the high country. We had a dry spell for most of January and Kristy and I went to Utah to see Rush's premier of DREAMRESULT at XDANCE as well as attending OR. Instead of going home I spent a month "intercontinental" skiing in CO and Utah. Back at it here now, though as we had a 4 - 5 foot storm and the pow has been off the charts for the last week. Just found two new areas, "Ultimate Ridge" and "Shangri La" both with 1,400 feet of vertical. Loving life. May have to go back to my real job soon. We will have the newsletter out shortly. cheers p