I mean, come on! only extreme outdoor enthusiasts* do crazy stuff like that. this was certainly not something a mother of nine children, who hasn't touched a snowboard in over ten years because she's been either a.) pregnant b.) nursing or c.) all of the above, should attempt. right?
(*the type of people that live in hiking boots (do they even own any other type of footwear?) and wear expensive outdoor apparel that screams, "look at me! I've summited every mountain range in the world. twice.")
but, like the crazy nut I am, I agreed to do it. (besides, I was lacking blog material.)
so we arrive at the mountain a little after 7 a.m. (our goal was to make it to the top before the chairlifts started running at 9.) sure enough, a few outdoor aficionados were already there, about to begin their quest for the summit. unlike me, they all appeared to be in top physical condition. I began to feel even more anxious. wouldn't a sane person simply purchase a lift ticket to get to the top? oh, but that's right! as you already know, WE'RE NOT SANE PEOPLE.
so we begin the 20 minute process of gearing up; lacing up boots, fastening on crampons (btw, that's not a typo but a crumpet does sound really good right now) and strapping on our backpacks and snowboards.
warning: I did not primp prior to these photos being taken. this is my 'roll out of bed at some unearthly hour throw on a hat and go' look. also, they were shot with my phone and are not at all the high quality images you've come to expect on this blog.
all geared up, ready to start the uphill climb. I was cracking up at Gary because he accidentally grabbed Sawyer's size 8-10y hat. yeah, we often compete for "best looks" around here.
for the life of me, I couldn't figure out how to draw a line in photoshop so I could map out our route for you. so I'll just type it and hope you can make it out on the map (you may want to grab your readers): we started out near the run ROUND UP, continued up AGASSIZ, PHOENIX, LOWER RIDGE, and one last gasp up UPPER RIDGE, before finally reaching the top.
this is looking down at the parking lot where we started. from there it went like STRAIGHT UP, forget the warm-up. I was already gulping air, hence this picture. I looked over at Gary and said, "I dunno. maybe we should just call the whole thing off and go out for breakfast instead." but he just laughed evilly (he had already done this hike so he knew what to expect) and said, "oh no we aren't." HA HA HA hahaha. brat.
top left: the crampons. basically a snow chain for your boot.
top right: roughly half-way. is that a grimace or a smile? I'll let you decide.
bottom left: taking a quick break before a rather steep section.
bottom left: an hour and 20 minutes later we reach the top, just before the chairlift dropped off the first skiers of the day.
by this point my legs were shot and I just wanted to go back to bed. but to accomplish that, I had to first get off this mountain. so, I get my snowboard strapped on, stand up (barely) and point the board downhill. I make it about 10 feet and wipe out. repeat five hundred and eighty seven times.
and I thought I could just "pick up" snowboarding after a 10+ year hiatus? what was I thinking?
if given the choice between life or death, I think I would've chosen the latter at this point. I seriously contemplated taking the snowboard off and walking the rest of the way down. I may or may not have cried. my legs knees butt back shoulders arms and feet all ached.
an hour later, and with the last ounce of energy I could muster up, I finally MAKE it to the bottom. all I could think of was food, a hot shower and some sleep.
Gary: "so, are you ready to do it again next week?"
me: "GET OUT." (actually, it was awesome.)
PS. I feel very fortunate and blessed that we've had the opportunity to live in Flagstaff. there is so much to do, see and explore here, most of which is right in our backyard. I can't express enough what a neat experience it's been for us.
I've also come to appreciate the slow pace of life, which has allowed us more time to do things as a family unit. this has strengthened our relationships between one another, and has brought us closer together. I have never felt more happy and content in my life than I have these last couple years. in fact, I don't know if I could handle the "run here, run there" lifestyle like I used to.
of course it hasn't been without trials. there have been many times that we wished more of our friends and family lived close by, but I try not to dwell on it and let it get me down. I figure in the whole scheme of things, what's a few years out of my life? a blink of an eye, really. I can't imagine we'll be here forever. and who knows? we may never have an opportunity like this again. that said, I'm determined to make the most of our time here and enjoy it for all it's worth.
and trust me, I don't think that will be too difficult :)