Dear other states,
Do you ever park by the river and chase a split rail fence along the national park boundary, carrying your skis through mud and sage? Stash your sneakers at snow line, then crunch over frozen sugar and fresh graupel through the woods?
Do you skin up long ridgelines past grizzly bear tracks and bison, and do you know your skins won’t stick on elk droppings? When old man’s beard hanging from dead branches snags on your pack, does bark ever fall down your shirt?
These are the reasons I ski. That and 3,000 foot descents from alpine summits, massive Douglas-firs and cedars deep in the forest, and unexpected powder. Also, there’s the sunrise, hot springs and beer on the tailgate. Always beer on the tailgate.
Sometimes I get tired of skinning over mud and snow berms, especially when it’s raining, of wallowing in thigh-deep isothermic mush, of scary hard slabs and wishing I had a better walk mode.
But that all dissipates in the talus, wind swirling my exhaustion and stoke away into the surrounding peaks. There, the sun reflects across blinding snowfields as clouds move in, turning my companions into silhouettes.
Does anybody know what I’m talking about? Wyoming? Alaska? Idaho.
We could get together for tea, go skiing, or maybe just do a little bushwhacking.
Let me know –