Sunday, March 7, 2010
So, anyhow, I spent last week in a hut in the Canadian Rockies, backcountry skiing. This was a trip that I have spent the last 12 years building the skills needed to be a part of, and now that I have done it, I am faced with that age old question, was it worth it? Was it worth the years that I have spent running, riding, hiking and skiing to build the strength and conditioning needed for a week climbing in the mountains? Was it worth the pain, frustration, time and money spent to develop the skiing skills to ski in the backcountry? Was it worth the time that I have spent in courses, reading books, spending powder days training instead of having fun skiing, so that I could learn the avalanche safety and snow skills needed, the 1st aid skills needed to make me a valuable team member, the mountain skills needed for even being in the backcountry, and the leadership skills needed anytime that you place yourself in a situation as remote and unpredictable as the winter backcountry? Was it worth the mental anguish that I always put my crazy self through, constantly questioning my motives, my skills, my conditioning, the time spent, the money spent, etc., etc., etc.?
Oh Hell Yeah! It was an amazing week. We had beautiful weather, great snow, amazing food, and good company. We fell into a routine, nay, almost a ballet, by the second day. At 6a.m. every morning, John would hop out of bed and head down for the cook hut to start breakfast. Aaron, who had been waiting for half an hour for someone to get up, would head down and fire up the stove. At 6:15, Eric's alarm would sound. At 6:30, Eric would get up and go start the coffee. Then, knowing that the cook hut was warm, breakfast was cooking, and the coffee was ready, I would crawl out of bed, put on my base layer for the day, and head down. Paul would follow shortly.
After breakfast was eaten and the dishes and chores were done, we would start getting ready for skiing. Lunches had to be packed, blisters covered, gear that had been hanging over the stove to dry had to be repacked, and, the worst part, boots had to be donned. By 9 o'clock, we were hiking. The hikes were long and beautiful. We had sunshine the first few days, so we were able to go above treeline. Once the weather changed, we stayed closer to home and skied the trees. Not a bad way to spend a week, and definitely worth the cost, not only in terms of the money, but in the effort it takes to be able to enjoy the backcountry.
Sunday, January 3, 2010
Friday, January 1, 2010
Last night I went to bed unsure of what I would do today. I set my alarm for 7, in case I decided to go into Coeur d'Alene and run the Hangover 5 miler road race, and I left my phone on my bed side table, in case anybody called to go skiing. I washed all my running and skiing gear, and went to bed, figuring that I would arise in the morning and see what the day might bring.
I woke up this morning at about 5, got up, turned my alarm clock off and went back to bed. I awoke again at around 8:30, and knew that there was no way I was going to get up to go run a race. I was just too sleepy. I woke up again at about 9:30, looked at my phone to make sure I had not missed a call, and then got up and made coffee and pancakes for G and myself.
To make a long story short, I spent the entire day on the couch. I read, I watched HGTV, football, a Twilight Zone Marathon, downloaded some free tunes from @#$%^&*, ate cheese and crackers, drank hot cocoa, watched it rain, watched the squirrels, watched the movie version of Horton Hears a Who (not bad, if you forget the fact that this is a beautiful story by Dr. Suess), called my sister, watched some more football, tormented the dogs, tormented G, spied on the neighbors, watched a little more football, and then went upstairs to go to bed.
All in all, not a bad way to start the new year.
Monday, December 28, 2009
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
I missed the Blue Christmas service at church. I'm bummed, because that is my favorite service of the year. Not that I get all depressed during the holidays, at least no more than you can expect when you live where the sun sets at 10 til 4 in December, but I just like the somberness of the service, the walking and praying of the labyrinth, and the quiet contemplation that the evening brings. Christmas is a joyous occasion, as we wait once again for God to walk among us, and show us how to live a sane life, even when surrounded by insanity. But for those of us who live far from home and family, it is also a daily reminder of what we have left behind, and lost.
I love living in the inland northwest. I love the 4 seasons, all the outdoor pursuits that are available, and I love the people. I have made great friends, and I have a church family that I depend upon. I could never imagine moving back east. That is just not who I am anymore. It was however, the place of my childhood. 312 Evelyn street is where I spent so many of my Christmases. I can still feel the warm air from the heat vent that I would sit in front of, as my family sang Christmas carols on Christmas Eve. My mother would play the organ, all the kids would sing, and my Father would sit in his chair and smile, enjoying his one great accomplishment in life, his family.
Thursday night, Christmas Eve, G and I will go to the 7 o'clock service at church, then come home, and with much unasked for help from the heeler, we will open our Christmas presents. Then we will eat pizza rolls, drink hot chocolate, and watch "the Snowman." Christmas morning, I will go up and ski for a few hours with my buds, and then G and I will go over to Pastors house for an informal dinner of comfort food. That is our tradition, and I love it. I would not trade it for anything, except for maybe one more time hearing my Mother play her organ, and to see my dad's smile.