I was sick all this past week. There were so many things I felt like posting about or emailing about, but my brain felt like a thick vat of pea soup.
One thing I would have posted about was the fact that I had to skip Carnival because of a schedule conflict. Carnival has always been a good time for me to meet up with friends from undergad. The whole group of us (or some fraction) so it’s kind of like it used to be. Except we discuss different things and more significant others and kids are showing up. Thanks to all of you guys who did post commentaries and photos. It was nice to hear what all happened.
And some of you guys I will see next week out in Seattle. I’ve traditionally been cautious of going to lots of effort to visit friends because I worry about just being a nuisance. In this case, I have a wedding invitation — so that’s a pretty clear indication. And the other folks I would have seen at Carnival, so instead I’m going to take advantage of this opportunity. And other than the fact that I haven’t done as much coordination as I should have (see muddled brain comment) it looks like it is going to be a fun trip. If this turns out as well as I expect, I think I’ll have to plan more trips to visit friends, bank account permitting.
In other news that I would have blogged about, Tyson had a spare day off work, so he decided to go skiing with some friends of ours Thursday. The plan was for me to have worked that day, but instead I lay around feeling pretty sick. In the end, being home sick probably made me less jealous than if I had worked since it wasn’t like I could have gone anyway. Tyson came back with pictures of a gorgeous day.
Oakes Gulf with Margaret
And, by sunday I was finally feeling distinctly not horrible. Tyson had sent out an e-mail, probably on Monday, asking for skiing partners for sunday. In fact I think that’s how he ended up skiing Thursday. Unfortunately most everyone was busy. In the end only one other person joined us. We had skied with her once prior. I think she has mostly done lift serve skiing, but she’s really good. The forecast for sunday varied over the week, but generally looked a little worse than thursday. On the way up, we got a flat tire. That was annoying, but I only put us back 30 minutes. I guess once I get back from Seattle I’ll need to put new tires on that car.
Compared to last year when we did this same trip there was less snow and on the hike up it was quite a bit crustier. Last year we skinned most of the way up, this year we hiked the entire way. I was a little nervous about how crusty the snow was, but Tyson said it felt warmer than Thursday and the skiing had been fine then. Tyson was nice and carried my skis part of the way since I was still a little sick. As we got up to the tree line, the views were just as impressive as last year. Bright blue skies, snowy mountain, long views… The hike up is almost worth it just for the scenery never mind the skiing. We passed by the Lake of the Clouds hut where it was nice and calm. Last year the wind had been tearing through the saddle. And then we picked our way over to Oakes gulf trying hard to stay off the alpine tundra and on the snow. On the other side of the ridge, the snow did soften up nicely.
Tyson and Margaret spotted some other group skiing down from Mt Monroe, so they decided they had to go try it. I decided to have lunch and wait for the main gulf. Margaret did some swell turns. Tyson eyeballed the slope and chickened out and came down a different way. Apparently from where he was, the slope dropped out of sight.
Then we descended into the gulf. Where we skied this year was a little steeper than where the group had skied last year. And last year we didn’t follow the others into the gulf, but rather just stayed up on the flatter ridge. So the change in our abilities from last year to this is enormous. I also switched from leather to plastic boots which should have helped too. Tyson insisted that I should try the steepest part of the slope. Up top I was fine, but when I got to the drop off where you couldn’t see down from up the slope, my legs turned to mush. I made it a little ways down, but then I kind of froze up. I think I am still a bit scared about sliding falls, and even though the snow was soft enough that it wasn’t a problem, looking down the long steep slope was overwhelming. Tyson eventually coaxed into coming down. I felt kind of horrible at the bottom. Tyson took a while to explain to me that even if it wasn’t very graceful, I had made it down under my own control.
We hiked back up to the packs where I snacked some and gathered my courage to try again. I did a bit better, although I still froze up in the same spot. Somehow by the time we hiked back up to the packs again, it was 4pm and everyone else had vanished. Margaret had gotten in one more run than us and looked stellar the whole time. I was hoping to do one more run on a gentler slope, but the snow was already starting to harden from the sun shifting around and we still needed to ski out.
We skinned back up to the ridge and then skied around to Monroe Brook. Tyson had said that Monroe Brook was as steep as the slope we had just been skiing. As we came down off the ridge headed toward the ravine, the snow was hard and icy, and what we could see of the ravine was deep in shadow. I worried that we had gotten out too late and that was why everyone else had already disappeared. We had an alternate plan to descend by hiking back down the trail we had come up which was in fact how we had left the previous year.
Luckily after a bit of hunting around we found a well traveled trough of sun softened snow. From there it was obvious how to get down. Tyson found that slope a bit more daunting than Oakes gulf because it was narrower. I had the opposite reaction and was actually linking turns with reasonable agility — not too many telemark turns, though.
And then we skied out. I did have on misadventure with a stick sticking up in the middle of the trail that caught my ski and twisted my ankle. I do have to wonder if a releasable binding would have helped.
Photos from all the fun are here.
P.S. are my entries too long?