31 October 2013

Snow Days

Much to my delight, my weekend brought with it a solid eight inches of early season snow and all the absurd activities it entails: a stroll through the wonderland; spontaneous and heated friendly fire; a polar bear plunge; a pedal boat redneck yacht club in sub-freezing temps, complete with bloody marys.

Stupid? Fantastic
Redneck yacht club
The next morning the Adventure Team headed out for a challenging snowshoe into Desolation. After we crested the brutal climb of Cathedral Bowl, the novelty wore off and we trudged through deep glades to Gilmore Lake. I sometimes forgot to look around at the crazy beauty because I was distracted by the heavy-breathing monotony of pushing through a foot of powder. The trees on top of the ridge were rimed with ice and the sky cast a somber light on the half-obscured Crystal range. Duffy and I were dressed in a lightweight athletic manner that felt great and fleet-footed on the move but did not permit a pause of any more than a minute. I'm still figuring out winter wear, which is essential when I want to be able to go uphill and downhill in comfort.
The flingage factor is high with snowshoes

Today it was back to shorts and a t-shirt as I ran a quick out-and-back in the disappearing slush. The only sounds were the plash of snow melting and the distant buzz of sawyers amassing their winter reserves. Along with the smell of baking pine needles and the crunch of bike tires on decomposed granite, the ethereal combination of snow and warm sunshine is a California feeling that will linger long after I leave.

16 October 2013

Broken Record

Do I have to say this ad nauseam? Sammie insists that I blog again but I have nothing new to report: I live in an amazing, beautiful place with a bunch of incredible people. As excited as I am about the upcoming transition to a more "grown-up" life of partnership and stability (and permanence?), at the same time I want the passage of days to slow so I can exist in this little space for as long as possible.

Fitness has fallen by the wayside because I'm too busy carpe-ing the diem. It doesn't result purely from laziness; escaping the tyranny of nonstop exercise fixation means spending time with a wider array of people, doing things that don't necessarily burn calories or leave me joyfully exhausted and sore, but still satiate some hunger within, the hunger for lingering experiences and a sense of togetherness. Sure, railing tacky berms before work is still the rush it always has been. And the other day we set out for a run on a rainy cold morning and were rewarded after only 500 feet of elevation gain by soft snowfall on autumn foliage, and we luxuriated in the western cliche of radiant yellow aspens in a white-dusted landscape.
Twelve miles of heartbreaking beauty
But piling out of a caravan of cars and behaving typically touristy with a huge gang of coworkers in an old mining town in Nevada, or in the apple orchards of the Sierra foothills? 
Camp escapees, Apple Hill tourists
Taking a casual bike ride down the road to see the kokanee salmon spawn and die by the thousands? 
Poking dead salmon with sticks (I never outgrew it)
Watching the sun sink over a shelf of rolling granite from our campsite next to the cascading pools of the American River? These are feelings I won't relinquish any time soon. What did I do to deserve this lush technicolor life?