Archives for category: outdoors

11:11 a.m. Oct. 25, 2011

That title above. It’s a weird statement. I was just checking my Twitter feed, which I’ve pretty much neglected this summer and fall due to just being barely having enough time to check Facebook (well, obsessively trolling the FB for pictures of my new nephew anyway).

So I checked in on Twitter, where most of my climbing/outdoor friends live. I clicked through to a few blogs I’ve missed reading and skimmed over articles about friends climbing this, biking that, hiking this, offering various philosophies on the outdoor lifestyle and mindset. It took me back to 2009 and 2010 when I was reading them consistently and embracing it all.

Then I thought: “Wow. I feel like I don’t get out anymore.” Read the rest of this entry »

Excuse me while I close down the many web sites I’ve opened and run through the pictures from Rockfest 2011 (June 25-26).

Charlie, Me and Sara, after two days of "summer camp."

Cool bags on, oh and Feathered Friends, I’ll pick out my color and size for my new vest soon. Hmmmm, Google Images – was that local route setter Bryan Burdo who worked out the knots on my back after I kiddingly mentioned how Rockfest 2011 needed a sports massage chair? I was sunning on a bench on my belly, waiting out the pancake coma that I just put myself into and next thing you know, there were very strong hands on my back! Before I got up, he had scurried off before I could say thanks! OH and what WAS that awesome route I climbed on Saturday afternoon at Fun Wall that kicked my butt but felt amazing? (Still need to research that one).

On the grass at Goat Wall View in Mazama, there is Eddie making rounds, sporting his 15th outfit of the weekend, each with a different hat while Jackie sports her bright blue  new OR hat. She, Sara and Graham are teaching Charlie how to do cartwheels in the grass. Mark’s 2.5 month old puppy golden retriever steals the show, as every conversation is stopped immediately as people drop to their knees to cuddle with this rambunctious ball of fur.  Read the rest of this entry »

Dear Backcountry Skiing,

It’s too early to say if I’m in love, so rather, I think of this as a moment of lust. I can tell you the second when it hit me though, so much so that I fell over.

How I love thee, so light and sweet...

Sunday. April 17, 2011. About 3 p.m. First time ever out on backcountry gear. We’d just finished lunch at a high point near Blewett Pass. It was time to ski down. I was exhausted already from the climb up (2,200 feet and 4 hours of continuous skinning) and was a little nervous about heading down. When I get tired, I fall and when I fall, things hurt. And when things hurt, I fear injuries.

But I tried to keep a clear head. This is what it was all about. Sweet, sweet fresh spring snow. The sun had softened the surface just enough. My playmates skied ahead. I watched them carve, and then gave myself the whole field to enjoy.

During that first turn, I immediately fell in love. It was so easy, so swift, so smooth, so comforting, like bouncing around on a bed of pillows covered in 1,000-thread count pillow cases. I found myself talking out loud… “oh wow … oh my god …oh my god, this is so so so good…”

It was the most blissful run I’d ever had. And I was so caught up in the moment that as I turned the corner to meet with my group, I immediately fell over and yard sale’d.

Kevin and Jim came over to help me up and asked if I was OK. I looked at Jim and said, “Jim, that was amazing. That’s almost better than dating. I’m about ready to cry, that was so amazing.”

After that, I was done. I was bit. I had it in me. There was no looking back.


I never really had any intentions of engaging with you. When I first learned about what you were all about, I was hesitant. The only people I knew who skied the mountains were boys – boys who I could barely keep up with hiking and who were far more advanced climbers than me.

But when I saw some of those boys sweep down that gentle hill spotted with little trees that one spring morning in 2008 near Mt. Rainier, while I was struggling on old school cross-country skis, I was immediately jealous. I wanted to do that. I wanted to be free, not traversing in a line of people.

However, it just wasn’t time yet. I continued to stick to the resorts and my way-too-small ski boots. I started to lose interest.

Then I came upon Second Ascent’s 20% sale in October 2010. Girlfriends had been making noise about starting to buy your gear. Naturally, as a former journalist who doesn’t know any better when I’m curious, I inquired about which skis would best for me.

An hour later, I’m the owner of a new pair G3 skins and Karhu’s Betty skis. Six months later, after some smart shopping, research, networking and demo’ing, I had Scarpa Gea boots, Dynafit Vertical ST bindings, an avy beacon, shovel and probe in my possession. The boys at Marmot Mountain Works, who sweetly installed my bindings and fitted my boots all in one morning, were impressed with my setup and happily offered advice on all of my gear’s neat tricks, switches, knobs and advantages.

I swear, I didnt plan on being matchy-matchy. It just happened that way. Really.

I was ready to go…. But were you ready for me?

After the recent Blewett Pass outing, my first day ever on backcountry gear, first day ever skiing continuously for seven hours and first day ever sking on unadulterated hills, I think we’re off to a good start.

Jim and Kevin showed me what you were all about – skinning on trails to skinning up steep slopes, using my heel climbers, learning what it’s like to traverse through trees without skins and that there is not only powder out there but also sheets of ice. I love skinning up steep hillsides possibly more than I love the skiing down. I love the quiet of the hills with just friends and hearing an occasional holler of joy. I love the never-ending possibilities of open hillsides, skiing through the woods and the occasional fast cruise down a logging road.

Our love maybe a bit premature, therefore, I’m only declaring our relationship to be lustful. However, like the drug of love, I’m addicted and need more.



After wasting 600 words of my brain drafting a negative post recently about how mentally and physically crappy I felt about 2010 and how I’m clueless about 2011, I decided to check Twitter for a second and my friend Katie posted this article from Nerd Fitness:

Well, that was just a kick to my pity-party, Negative-Nelly ass. Kinda like when @RedHeadedWriting bitch slaps the world and tells everyone to stop whining and F’ off and go do something with themselves.

I scratched my head and that stupid foggy cloud over my head lifted. Then I started thinking about the goals of 2011 and the future. It’s all part of the way my head works when it comes to something big: panic, fret, get upset, complain then buckle down and be productive. Read the rest of this entry »

One of my favorite parts of the holidays is the music. It’s tried, true and traditional. It always lifts the spirits and usually we all know the words. OK, maybe just the first verse.

This was the case recently, coming back from The Snowshoe Adventure and I’d just realized, after a long 12-hour day and in the middle of the 3-hour drive home, I’d lost my wallet. I knew exactly where it was too. Back toward the mountains another hour or so. Read the rest of this entry »