Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Cold Weather. Hot Frogs.

Dude.  Who turned on winter around here?  Because it is cold.  Like go find your cute winter beanie and wear it around your house all day, cold.  But then, I kinda like wearing my cute little winter hats so maybe I'm just quick to rush to that.

Maybe I'm quick to rush to a lot of things lately.  Like this crazy dream.  Maybe now is not the time.  Maybe this was a teaser.  A little taste to tempt me.  To make me see how much I want it.  How much I desperately, desperately want it.  Just not enough to take big, big risks.  Or maybe....?

Someone once told me a little story that went something like this -- "if you put a frog in a pot of water and gradually turn up the heat, the frog will cook itself to death before jumping to safety.  Whereas, if you put a frog straight into a pot of boiling water it will jump out and save itself."

I think I'm about to be the frog.  The question is, will the water be boiling enough for me to jump out fast and save myself?  Or will I slide into the hot tub and wonder why it keeps getting hotter and more uncomfortable?

Only time will tell.

I want to be excited about the cold.  I'm usually excited about the cold.  I want to be excited about the new season ahead.  About another amazing winter in the mountains.  Instead all I can say is "damn, its cold."

Monday, October 25, 2010

"Do Something Worth Remembering"

What a precious gift to wake up everyday with wonder at the amazing, wild world just outside your doorstep. To take that wonder and live it every day. To share it in a way that inspires creativity in others and continues to drive you to see things differently. We should all be so lucky to truly live our passion everyday, even if it barely pays the rent, right?

"...if I only scrape a living, at least its a living worth scraping....if there's no future in it, at least its a present worth remembering...."

MPORA Action Sports >>

Friday, October 22, 2010

Cut off

It snowed this morning, and not just in the mountains....on my deck.  And my car.  And OMG this winter thing is actually coming.  I would love to show you pictures but blogger says "no more pictures, you're at your limit little missy."  So, sorry about that.  I'm hoping to rectify that situation soon.  Needless to say I went to the coffee shop instead of to the trailhead this morning.  I'm not quite acclimated to (or excited about) miserable-weather hikes just yet.

In honor of cold, dreary weather and off-season boredom I hosted a little dinner party last night.  Small, casual, mostly vegan.  Yup.  Vegan.  And it was delicious.  I would like to show you pictures of that too, but well....there's that little blogger memory problem.  Nuts.

This is the veggie chili recipe I used.  (Thank you to my sis who emailed it to me as I was en route to the grocery store!)  Two thumbs up.  Except for the peeling tomatoes part.  Because that was a pain in my #$%.  Just sayin'.  But its a GREAT party dish.  I was able to do all the prep ahead of time so that when guests showed up I had just two pots on the stove, no more work to do, and no dirty dishes laying around.  So nice.  We roasted up some acorn squash and called it a meal.  Tasty, warm, and so filling.  I do like the cooking when I actually take (err...have) the time to do it.  And even more enjoyable is cooking for others.  What I really loved about this meal was that there happened to be a guest attending who, unbeknownst to me, follows a vegan diet and was so excited that she was at a dinner party where she could actually eat the dinner.

After dinner there were pumpkins to carve, seeds to roast, and more wine to drink.  Such a fun fall night with friends.

My problem lately is that I keep having these parties to get rid of my alcohol, yet somehow I end up with just as much as I started with at the end of the night.  Not a bad problem to have such generous guests, but counterproductive to my intent.

Other than that I'm still "gathering nuts" and watching the snow line creep toward town.  Lots on the table this off-season.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

A Day For This

Today there were no workouts.

The sky was gray and clouds hung low around the mountain tops.  Yellow aspen leaves flittered to the ground with the rain as ominous weather rolled over distant peaks.  It was the kind of day that sinks into your bones.  A day to seek coziness and fireplaces.  A day for nourishing dishes with the last fruits of the season.  The smell of cinnamon and clove and the warmth of a tea cup in your hand all afternoon.

A day to slow and savor and try to calm an unsettled mind.  The beginning of a season that reminds us to have patience and trust.  It is not the end.  The future will bring new fruits.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Adventure? No thanks.

I passed on an adventure.  Really.  Well, really tentatively.  But regardless, I said no to a last minute river-trip invitation.

I really, really want to go.  But not more than I really, really want to make some things happen in other areas of my life right now.  I really want to do it all, but I'm smart enough to know that I can't.  (I guess this crazy year has taught me something....)

So I said, "no."  And it kinda sucked.

I'm desperately trying to rationalize my decision.  I'm reminding myself that I now know "river trip" is just mountain slang for "endless raging party," and I know that I can't deal with that right now.  I would be sitting in the most beautiful middle-of-nowhere place with awesome people and just thinking about the 1001 other things I should be doing.  And that's really no fun for anyone.  I know this.  I did it last off-season when mid-trip all the members of my ragin' river trip group partied their faces off all day and had all passed out by 8PM, leaving me alone in the dark with nothing to think about but the absolute unknowns in my life (which at the time was pretty much everything).  Nothing like a little mid-river-trip breakdown to really keep things exciting?!

I love that I live someplace where I get invited on these wacky, crazy, awesome adventures.  This doesn't happen just anywhere.  But if I'm going to continue to be able to live a life of spontaneous awesomeness now is the time for me to do a little work.  (listen to me talking like a grown-up....who would have thought the land of eternal youth would be the place where I would grow up?)

It still sucks though.  Just sayin'.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Well that sucked

I'm not sure when or how I got in my head that I was going to do this hike yesterday.  I think it might have happened when I was sitting on the deck of a winery Wednesday.  Enjoying a delicious riesling, a beautiful view, and some spectacular fall weather.  And doesn't everything seem like a great idea when that's where you dream it up?

Well I rolled out of bed Friday at the crack of 9:30AM and decided I had better get moving if I was going to make this happen.  Again, I have no idea where my motivation for this came from.  Under normal circumstances waking up at 9:30AM would have meant the coffee shop was calling.  That's  really to late to embark on an epic hiking adventure.  Especially considering I was going this one alone because all my friends had this pesky thing called "work" to attend Friday.

But somehow I managed to get some oatmeal in me and get out the door.  13 miles and 3600' of elevation gain -- here I come.

Seriously, what was I thinking?

I was thinking that 13 miles is really no big deal.  I have certainly been on 13 mile runs by myself.  I just hiked three 14,000' foot peaks in two days.  I'm definitely in shape for this.  This silly little hike only tops out around 12,000' -- easy as pie.  (Where did this phrase come from anyway....easy as pie....pie is actually really hard to make....I don't actually know how to make pie....and, I guess, in that way, this hike was, in fact, like pie.)

I would like to state, for the internet record, that I pretty much rocked the uphill portion of this hike.  Why?  Because I'm in such rockin' mountain girl shape?  No, probably not.  It was mostly because I am no mountain girl at all and am terrified that something in the woods thinks I look like a tasty little snack.

No lie.  The entire hike I was obsessively paranoid about bears.  And when I wasn't worried about bears, I was worried about mountain lions. Both of which are very much present in this particular wilderness so its not like these were completely unfounded fears.  However, the bears around here are just black bears -- they're not even carnivores.  And the mountain lions have plenty of pica and other little critters to eat so they likely want nothing to do with me.  To my knowledge there have been no human - mountain lion interactions in this region.  So why exactly did I think I was going to be the first?

So yes, its crazy.  But when you are in the wilderness (and I'm not talking state park picnic table wilderness here) feel very much ALONE.  And apparently for me, alone translates to vulnerable.  Hence, thinking every little noise is something that wants to eat me for lunch.

I make it to the first basin, where I am finally above tree-line and feeling a little bit safer, (this way if something wants to eat me at least I'll see it coming) so I finally stop to take care of some basic needs.  Peeing and eating.  As I find a comfy rock on which to enjoy my Cliff bar I see two other people making their way up the other side of the basin to the ridge crossing.  OMG I have never been so happy to see people.  Even though they were well out of earshot it was such a comfort just to see other humans.  They are the only other people I will see ALL DAY.

So I make it over the ridge and its all downhill from there.  And this was THE MOST SUCKY PART.  I know.  That makes no sense.  But the downhill was miserable.  Mostly because it went on FOREVER and I just wanted to be done.

I really don't even have anything else exciting to say about this hike.  The views were spectacular and I didn't even care.  I lugged 15 pounds of camera equipment with me and took exactly 12 photos from one spot -- and I hate them all.

I don't know if my head wasn't in the right place for this hike, or if I'm just not a good solo backcountry hiker.  Maybe a little of both.  I'm still glad I did it.  But only for the workout -- and really I would rather have gone on a 13 mile run -- without my camera.  I won't be trying anything like that again anytime soon.  I'd rather have friends to push my pace than fear and paranoia.  And I guess amazing scenery just isn't as amazing without someone to share it with.

Sunday, October 10, 2010


You can't throw a rock around here without hitting a photographer these days.  You'd think sunsets on back country roads were superbowl caliber events the way the photogs line up and box out for the best shots.  Pretty comical, actually, to come over a hill in the middle of nowhere to a slew of parked cars and thousands of dollars in camera equipment pointed toward the horizon.  

Personally, I've been kind of indifferent toward the season.  The "beauty" didn't really blow me away like I thought it would.  Though looking through the pictures, I can't deny that it IS kinda pretty.....and these really aren't even the "great shots."  I've been thinking more and more about what I'm doing with my pictures these days and have been pondering a more official way to show them to the world.  So stay tuned....but in the meantime, enjoy the "rejects."  :)

Friday, October 8, 2010

Just because you can

Last night was weird.  A beautiful, fun, fabulous and inspiring night that detoured somewhere along the way down a path of strangeness.  Not bad.  Just,... strange.  In that way that only random nights in little mountain towns can be.  Full of coincidence, and familiar strangers.

As I crossed the street on my walk home I stopped in the middle and paused.  Town was so still.  Not another soul around.  Just the twinkling lights of main street reflecting off shimmering black pavement.  Even the drizzle fell silently so as not to interrupt the scene.  When I continued walking I just kept a straight path right down the middle of the road and laughed to myself.  Why not?  Why not walk down the middle of the street in this sleepy little mountain fairy tale?  When else will you ever get to do this?  Just walk down the middle of the street.  In the rain.

It was the stuff of dreams.  It was beautiful.  It was all mine.  And I savored it.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Gathering nuts

There's no denying that change is happening when I wake up to new shades of fall every morning.  Its both comforting and unsettling to see nature prepare for the big sleep of winter when I feel even more directionless in my own life with every falling leaf.

Where will I be hibernating this winter?

The truth is, I don't know the answer.  And that's becoming less and less OK with every passing day.  So, while I'd like to do nothing more than curl up on the deck with a blanket, a steaming cup of tea and a good book while I soak up the last of the beautiful golden rays of fall sunshine, instead I'll be spending the last few weeks of fall gathering my own nuts and trying to figure out where to store them before the snow starts flying.

I'm trying not to panic as I watch the thin white blanket just lightly covering the peaks grow heavier and move toward the tree line.  My daily reminder that time keeps moving along, irrespective of how skilled I get at perfecting the unsustainable life I'm living in this little fairy-tale bubble.