Postcard: Eagles Nest Wilderness, Colorado

July is a mesmerizing time to be above treeline in Colorado. This holds especially true for the Eagles Nest Wildnerness in the state’s northern mountains, notably the Gore Range, pictured here. Local trail runners hold sacred a 13-mile loop around Buffalo Mountain that takes you through some of the most ridiculous wildflower fields on earth. It’s not easy – you start with a 5-mile, 2,800-foot climb. But you emerge from the forest into this idyllic alpine scene. Not recommended for anyone allergic to the color purple.

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Photo by Devon O’Neil

Postcard: Hail on the trail, Colorado

It started raining softly at first. The bigger clouds looked like they were going to stay south of us. We marched on along the trail, still  a few miles from the lake. The drops got bigger and started falling faster. There were more of them. Then they got hard. Ice. We tucked under a big spruce. It didn’t matter. For a half-hour it thundered and lightninged and hailed like hell, pummeling us. By the time it subsided, two inches of ice balls covered the alpine landscape. In some places where the rain washed the hail down the singletrack, the ice balls were six inches deep. When we reached the lake we were cold, but also grateful the storm didn’t arrive before we left, because then we might not have gone.

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Photo by Devon O’Neil

Postcard: French Pass, Colorado

Ah, summer. If only you weren’t so short. French Pass, located at 12,046 feet on the Continental Divide just east of Breckenridge, is a marvel of a mountain bike destination. But our window to ride it without traipsing through too much snow is tight. Maybe four months at most. My twin brother Sean and I made the pilgrimage last week during a circumnavigation of Mt. Guyot. It takes your breath away in more ways than one.

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Photo by Devon O’Neil

Postcard: Lake Placid, N.Y.

Six years ago, a dear friend from high school named Tim passed away unexpectedly. Ever since then, a number of Tim’s friends, myself included, had talked about reuniting in his honor somewhere meaningful. We made it happen last weekend at Tim’s mother’s house in Lake Placid, N.Y. Guys flew in from around the country and spent two full days catching up on life and reminding ourselves how much real friendships mean. This photo depicts the impromptu national anthem we all sang before a lively horseshoe tournament kicked off the weekend. As hard as reunions are to plan and attend, they always seem to be worth the effort.

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Photo by Devon O’Neil

Postcard: June ski day in Breckenridge

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Photo by Devon O’Neil

It started out as a three-person group and quickly swelled to nine. With high-alpine lines still fat and smooth and gorgeous bluebird days aplenty this year in Colorado, the June ski season has been phenomenal, and a small tribe of diehards has been taking full advantage. Everyone mumbled in jest about the large group, but the truth was we all loved it. Two summits over 13,600 feet and a pair of long, thigh-burning runs later, we reconvened at a house in town to drink beer and eat watermelon in the sun. No one wanted the day to end, especially not Marble the dog.

 

Postcard: Basque Country, Spain

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Photo by Devon O’Neil

Along the northern, or Atlantic coast of Spain, surfers the world over have flocked like seagulls to one spot in particular: a peeling left point break called Mundaka. But up and down the coast, an untold number of other breaks offer world-class waves of their own. We lucked into one outside a village called Deba on a windy, cold and drizzly day. The waves were hardly as epic as they get in, say, December, when the right point pumps barrels into the bay, but the provocative graffiti on the wall lining the beach made up for it. In case you didn’t already know, many residents of the Basque Country are not always tickled to be Spanish citizens.

 

Postcard: Spain and the Pyrenees

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Photo by Devon O’Neil

I spent some time in Spain last month for work, starting in Barcelona and continuing on a road trip through much of the country. We drove through the Pyrenees to the Atlantic coast, passing the charming village of Josa de Cadí (pictured), then down to the Mediterranean. It was snowing at 8,000 feet but just rainy and green in the valleys. A few minutes after this photo was taken, a wild boar darted in front of our car and disappeared into the bushes.

Postcard: Virginia Beach

I was in Virginia Beach last weekend for my cousin’s wedding, and while everyone waited for the bride to stroll down to her groom on the beach, some of the young ‘uns built sand castles. In the background, you can see a sand-dredging boat. Interesting story behind those boats. During every noreaster, it was explained to me, roughly 100 feet of beach erodes into the ocean. The government and local homeowners pay for this dredge boat to swoop in with its massive hose and suck up the sand to be spit out up the beach, thereby replacing the sand lost during the storm. As one of my other cousins said, “Oh, so what you’re saying is we should own the dredge boat.”

Photo by Devon O’Neil

Postcard: Arapahoe Basin East Wall

Thursday, May 2, was a rare one in Colorado ski country. Loveland Ski Area, on the east side of the Continental Divide, reported 17 inches in 24 hours. Arapahoe Basin, on the west side of the Divide just a few miles from Loveland, reported seven. The disparity was much smaller than the reports, however. A couple of friends and I spent the morning at Loveland then zipped over to A-Basin in time for the first opening in two days of the upper East Wall – some of the best steep terrain in North America. This unidentified skier got first tracks down Willie’s Wide in a fresh foot of light, dry powder.

Photo by Devon O’Neil

 

 

 

 

 

Postcard: lazy Monday night in Sao Paulo

You can see this church, on the outskirts of Sao Paulo, Brazil, from miles away. Lit up by blue-hued spotlights in an old Catholic neighborhood, the 1880 church abuts a grassy park and provides a welcome hangout for locals. Here, two young men kill time on a lazy Monday night in the second largest city in the Americas.

Photo: Devon O’Neil