Monday, February 25, 2013

mill D, north fork

my left calf is sore, and I have a blister on the inside of my right foot just below the ankle.  my quads are a little tight, and my right shoulder is slowly making its way back to "normal," which means not-quite-right-but-not-too-out-of-whack.
I'm still hungrier than usual, and pedaling around and around on the spin bike this morning felt different than usual, not as comfortable, a little bit harder.
because I had a new adventure saturday.
I went back country skiing for the first time.
or perhaps I should say, I geared up and went with my friends who are back-country skiers, slowing them down, keeping them from a typical (more aggressive) ski day, and probably providing them with a few grins.

backstory:  I learned to ski when I was about 7.  (rope tows, T-bars, poms, the occasional big time chair lift, lace-up boots, yep, a long time ago.)  I skied consistently through perhaps 10th grade, then backed off to once in a while.  by the time I'd had my first 2 children I stopped skiing.  yep, that would be 18 years ago.
three years ago I took a snowboarding lesson;  other than that, my snow sports have been limited to snowshoeing and, um, snowshoeing.

back to now:  I decided it was time for an adventure.  I've been hearing bob's and andy's stories of back-country skiing for years (skins and solitude and snacking while sitting on rocks in the sun) and I decided it was time to give it a try.   I rented some AT (alpine touring) gear, and was out shoveling fresh snow off our sidewalks when bob and andy pulled in front of the house to pick me up.
skis, boots, poles, backpack (2 water bottles, snacks, extra warm layer, balaclava, thick mittens, etc etc) went into the car before me (thick wool socks, long biking wind-pants, shell pants, base layer, long-sleeve biking top, shell, hat, glasses) and we headed up into the blizzard.
yep, the blizzard.

I could give you a play-by-play, but rather than bore you that way let me just state the thought that kept running through my mind during those 4+ hours out on the hill:  what made me think I could do this?

and that, I suppose, is today's message.

years ago my son went on a trip with a friend and his family, and came home wearing a Wahoos Rafting t-shirt imprinted

You could go over the falls and die
You could slam against the rocks and die
You could get pinned under and die
OR You could stay home and Fall off the couch and Die

you might as well just get out there and give it a shot.
I haven't skiied in 18 years and I was scared at the top of our climb.  I'd been drilled in avalanche safety and was wearing a transceiver, and I was definitely in over my head with these two very-fit fantastic skiers who've done this hundreds of times.
but the option was to stay home and . . . well, sit on the couch.
just as no one lies on their deathbed saying I wish I'd spent more time working, I don't think anyone lies on their deathbed saying I wish I hadn't had so many adventures.  

my calf isn't as sore as it was yesterday, and my blister is healing.  my shoulder already feels better.
and nothing--nothing in the world--can match the feelings I'm left with after the experience:
the awe of having been in this spectacular place I couldn't have seen any other way,
the thrill of skiing (okay, snowplowing) down an untouched hillside of deep powder,
the gratification of efforting then achieving (as in the top of the hill),
the delight in knowing that I'm capable of doing more than I believed.
the bandaids, the sore muscles, the titanium plate, the blisters and bruises . . .  without them I would be less than who I am.  

sometimes you have to step outside your box and into someone else's adventure and make it your own. because I want to lie on my deathbed saying, I am grateful for all the thousands of adventures and experiences that came my way, every one of them. 

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