Throwback: Birthday Runs

It should be a tradition-nay, mandatory-to be going on a birthday ski trip. Taking a look back at some of the birthday runs I’ve had it’s clear that birthday runs are awesome. Why? Because what can be better than a birthday but a birthday snowboarding?

I’m also the kind of person who keeps journals!

2013 journal 

March 7

My birthday!!! Had the most people say happy birthday to me in real life ever in a day I bet. 

The first stroke of good luck came when I held my ID under the window, not a doubt in my voice as I asked god to provide me with a miracle-a  free lift ticket. Sure enough, I got it. I had to write my name down though (hopefully no repercussions!) [Afraid somehow parents would find out I was skipping and especially, that I was snowboarding; I also didn’t have the money to buy a ticket myself if it weren’t for free]. Also it was the one thing that day that I dared to hope for! And guess what-it followed out. If you don’t doubt, it will follow out. Don’t doubt.

Oh-and that wasn’t the only stroke of good luck. My high school mates were on the same bus. Back of busses. High school ski trips. Always has been and always will be. These things never change. They never change because there is something fundamentally core in each our our beings and memories-they’re just an extension of us.  [High school is where I had a few lessons snowboarding. They were definitely a highlight of highschool.]

Beautiful views of Cypress-still didn’t stir me but should’ve. [I’m pretty darn scared about being caught by parents and not able to enjoy the scene] Snowy tree lined roads. Not cold enough, long enough, no one to share with. Surprised to maybe see [acquaintance] when I got on the bus–said hi to me when we were leaving, so he recognized me maybe too. Yay. It snowed on the mountain, too. Bountiful, substantial flakes. White gold. 

Accidentally got myself down a slope around the lift poles. Real awkward. Too scared to actually turn.

Had trouble turning but tried plenty to jump, which was impossible last time. Weird! can never be proficient at both. Must approach, cutting speed but not too erratically, and not think too hard, and just do, straight, in the final stretch. Then ride it as if it’s flat. Then enjoy the rush after. [WTF? I clearly could not snowboard]

One bump in the beginning of panorama so took that up to eight times. [Could I actually hold my snowboard forward, even by accident? Wow.] Also a section of two mini bumps on that run too. Took that as well. Un run was the true kicker. It was ALL bumps. I saved that for last, seeing that its first initial bump was already out of comfort zone. [Since Unrun has not even open this year, I can’t tell you how well I’d do on it now. But it’s one scary run every time I’ve been on it, a double track wide roller coaster for your board] But I couldn’t just not go. Going it and doing it would certainly make my day perfect. First run-dead. Can’t remember if I went three or two times-three I think? Anyways after first I was disgusted and so tired. I had to pull myself up so many flats. [It was was basically a pump track for a skis, but ridden on a snowboard, so I the flatter sections I would have to unstrap. The bumps were actually easier because instinct told me when to crouch and when not to. I didn’t know how to turn on the narrow track and luckily I didn’t need to that much because speed usually took me into the turns before I could be scared.] It was certainly made for skiiers; luckily it was so deserted, or else so many people would’ve been pissed at me plus I would’ve been even more embarrassed than I was. I mean, it was too hard. I think. I certainly ditched. It was either a) ditch and fall for sure or b) stick to it, get air, and maybe not fall but suffer extreme fear and maybe fall even harder. [This shows I can’t snowboard. I don’t know how to fall. I fear falling, because I don’t know how to land gently.] I kept backing out on the latter runs. I learned fear. The first time I just went with it and sort of trusted the trail more to keep me safe. It did. I actually fell more the other times, and harder , because I backed out last min. But looking back the third time left me stronger not weaker. I ENJOYED the turns. I still can’t remember the run-shame, because that would give me more confidence (although there are NO speed cutters in the trail, so to suffer one entire long fast roller coaster ride with lots of air when I’m only a beginner? NO!?! But it was such an adventure. For once I didn’t feel so alone or tired. I was adventuring. Sure I should’ve loved going down the other blue runs, but they were harder than last time-again I seemed to have given up natural turning for air this trip. I wish I had both! [Seriously, I sound like an idiot, how come I can’t hold my board straight AND turn? Clearly I arrived at either by accident and the two opposing motions had not yet been combined in my mind. I go on to learn to turn next season for far too many hours.]

It’s actually impossible not to get air on a snowboard. It goes off every single bump!!

Next year’s goals: job so I can buy a once a night ski pass/bus pass/wax. Stay friends with [new university friends]. Stay friends with old friends. 

2014

March 9

It was a year of unremarkable snow and also, apparently, writing. The entry just says,

I WENT ON THE BOX [in the terrain park] ON MY LAST RUN I’M NOT A TOTAL LOSER!!!!!! :DDDDDDDDD

Conclusion: Crap snow since it didn’t even warrant a description. No points awarded for fear of flat surfaces.

March 7, 2015?

Prediction: It’s turning into the year of surprises that trumps all other years of surprises.

The local mountains are closed, although snow making opportunities are present.

When the harder runs aren’t open, the personal growth that happens comes with conquering them has to come elsewhere. While it’s hard-impossible-to match the amount of speed, vertical, and uneven terrain snowboarding gives you, even at a beginner level, you need to harness that positive energy and move it elsewhere. Where? We’ll find out on March 7.

Snow Journal #3

Sometimes, ideally all the time, I come home after snowboarding and relax by writing it all down. I don’t really pay attention to which parts were boring and which parts were exciting; I just want to capture the minutiae that made the day the day that it was. For me, this is also a good way to figure out how to tell the story before I blab about it out loud to other people in a way that makes no sense.

You should know that this season is severely lacking snow, not as bad as California, but pretty bad. It’s mostly just myself my musing and I out there and whomever I’m carpooling and thus spending the day with. It’s a good way to meet awesome, like minded people. At the same time, the people who like the mountains are a diverse crowd.

If I leave feeling calm or excited though, it was a good day. And I’ve never regretted a day on the mountain!

______________

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Three people arrived one day, only to find The Shittiest Slope In Existence ®. Who had the shorter end of the stick? The

Shittiest Slope In Existence ® had made the miraculous journey out of 100 mm of rain, only to serve monstrously grumpy skiiers and riders. The skiier and riders had only gotten into their mud splattered on their cars and cursed every bump in the road that was now filled with puddles. When they got there they found out that the brown on the slopes was not from their tinted lenses. One demand not being enough, the people also demanded that The Shittiest Slope In Existence ® also exist in a microclimate.

This story sucks, so it has to end here.

——–

There was a moment on The Shittiest Slope In Existence ® last Wednesday where a cold and cutting wind drove the relentless but harmless rain into our faces. That was probably 2pm, and, after one of our group members had left, there was little reason to pretend the reward for sublime devotion was anything but. There was undoubtedly unused adrenaline running through our veins; our minds were ready even though the slope was not. Our bodies response was to make a crisis when there wasn’t one.

Even though it was the polar opposite of a sun breaking free from a jail of cloud, the sudden onslaught of cold woke us up and fulfilled our thirst. This is why we liked to snowboard. More often than not, we hope for an adrenaline rush fuelled adventure, but when there isn’t one, we are capable of creating one, too. It may just be a brush of wind, but it’s that cold and wet that we cling to, that sense of adventure. It was also the reason why I started to doubt alpine snowboarding; I was creating so much adrenaline out of what was probably very little it was getting tiring. All this energy had nowhere to go. In comparison, I was fairly guaranteed that I would run out of energy before I finished my journey in the beginner backcountry. Sometimes not: things happen at a slow measured pace there, and there’s no quick release of energy for practicing tricks, being fancy, being fresh. On a hard trip, there’s no room to waste energy that couldn’t otherwise be saved for the future. So while the harder trip may use up all your energy, there’s still that unfulfilled yearning to just spend an entire day goofing around + learn a new move. The trouble is when the weather doesn’t match your level of adrenaline and you go home and lie around unable to sleep, tortured by wakefulness.

Time to get a new hobby!

Snow Journal #2

Sometimes, ideally all the time, I come home after snowboarding and relax by writing it all down. I don’t really pay attention to which parts were boring and which parts were exciting; I just want to capture the minutiae that made the day the day that it was. For me, this is also a good way to figure out how to tell the story before I blab about it out loud to other people in a way that makes no sense.

You should know that this season is severely lacking snow, not as bad as California, but pretty bad. It’s mostly just myself my musing and I out there and whomever I’m carpooling and thus spending the day with. It’s a good way to meet awesome, like minded people. At the same time, the people who like the mountains are a diverse crowd.

If I leave feeling calm or excited though, it was a good day. And I’ve never regretted a day on the mountain!

______________

Snowboarding has changed for me. On one hand, alpine slopes create a safe environment for creativity and exploration On the other, backcountry for a beginner means even more exploration, but putting down all your thoughts and civilized masks at the doorstep; it’s a lot more work and it’s only fun in hindsight. Slopes are safe. Backcountry thought is survival and relationships.

It made me think more deeply about what it is about snowboarding that interests me. Bobsleigh or skeleton. Those related sports I’d love to try with a professional driving. Then there are some things that I have no interest in trying. Skydiving. No thanks. I don’t like to free fall. I do like speed though. I love speed. This is why today’s supposedly gross thinly-frosted fresh groomers were amazing. I had heard the glories of ‘fresh pow’ for so long that I had forgotten all the other wonderful types of snow that make getting out early worth going for. I love these speed inducing but safe snow conditions, with a hair more bite than ice.

Looking at the trail maps now I notice that the area I thought I went out of bounds was a run, although it was out of bounds because it wasn’t officially opened. To my chagrin another black tree run was open today but I didn’t know due to my lack of experience with the mountain’s tree runs. But as I wrote midday, absolutely happy with the snow and view, it’s not the difficulty or number or speed of your runs that makes snowboarding good. It’s the feeling that first attracted you to snowboarding that makes a run good. Today with enough snow to ride some things on the side, and fresh from skiing (god, that’s awkward-your body keeps trying to face forward while falling on your snowboard), and jawdropping views (how often is it clear here? Never) I neither was amazing, horrible, or anything. I was just me, and I felt deep in me the childish joy that drew me to the activity in the first place, that was an essential part of me, and the uncomplicated joy of movement that has nothing to do with anybody seeing you (in fact, I didn’t really want anyone catching me in the silly act of enjoying a simple turn or ride up snow so much.) In a well connected world, it was a private moment of joy that I wanted to enjoy myself. In fact it made it better that my parents were extremely angry I had gone snowboarding. No one was going to ask me about it except people who really cared. Great.

I cannot stress how nice it was to ride privately, because for once I could ride not just to pay off my seasons’ pass, but to actually ride. No one was going to care how fast or slow I went, or how many runs I went on, or whether or not I hit any features; I could do whatever I want like I did last season. Luckily for me, I did go into the park for the first time by myself this season, something I took a long time to warm up against. I was in a lazy daze and going into the park seemed to be the antithesis of the joy I was currently experiencing. But although the feeling of rolling snow was great, the joy of flight called and I went in. Well, first I had 2 large cookies and a thing of latte. The anxiety was getting back to me and I needed to tamp it down, and somehow caffeine gave me the precision and lack of fear I had misplaced. Feeling more like myself, I finally got to feel the joy of running the full length of a ride-on box again. Nothing difficult, very simple really, but I had been missing the component of fearlessness (which is normal). It is quite difficult to describe how I realized I no longer had a natural state of comfort but somehow ingesting certain things would give me it back for a short while, but anyhow it worked and I went on the box 5X but never fully hit the shortest, lowest, flattest rail in existence of humanity. I need myself to do that, not just coffee.  Oh how exhilarating it is to be going with almost no control of one’s speed down the mountain after having one’s senses sharpened back to normal! That was what drew me to snowboarding, speed nearing the loss of control, and ultimate control, if you want to do ride anything in the park.

Snow Shoe Grind

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There’s trails that you race up, and then trails that you spend as long as you can on, because you’re with friends: discovery trails.The latter isn’t one I’ve had much experience with but my one outdoorsy friend has come back for the term-at the same time one is leaving-and with both I have never had a trip together. Back then, before we diverged on our separate paths in university, I had never stepped outside my home and she had grown up hiking and camping with family. I never knew that they afforded a trip through europe by camping instead of living in hotels. I never knew that they got to bond as a family over hiking rituals. To see that, and experience it anew with friends, is amazing. I would take it over powder (If, I cannot take them to the powder). To be human, is not after all at the pinnacle of hedonism but togetherness.

Being with a well known group means you have no fear of being left behind and are free to do the things that others might have judged you for. I knew that on a proper hike I’d have to buy overpriced microspikes, but with friends we weren’t frowned upon for only having hiking shoes for the snow, and I was able to go tobogganing half of the hike on a plastic bag. I can only imagine what other hikers might say of that. When we passed a snowshoe’ed man harping “Snowshoes! snowshoes!” my friend’s dad deadpanned, “I know why he said that.” [I thought maybe he was harping over our lack of snowshoes: my thought.] “He was a merchant trying to sell his snowshoes. He was upset we didn’t want them.”

Most of the time we were saturated with the beauty of the place. None of us had been there before, and none of us had guessed such a beautiful side to the commercial resort. It was nearly wild, the latter parts of the trail being tracked only as wide as one person can pass. It was a bluebird day, and all the trees were bigger and the sunlight brighter than we could imagine. We were simply dwarfed, and the arches of trees and sky above us only reminded us more that this place was a gateway to an unforeseen playground.

We shared few words while trekking the steeper parts, and when we did it was either a pun or random fact. Words become economical, we spoke with our bodies, just as we led with our bodies. Tomorrow we’d come to regret sliding down routes of ice and rock and snow on our butts, but for now, we relished in the alleviation in the need for intellect, for connotation.

Sometimes, but rarely, I remember when I was before I worked to have a bigger life. When I am around my high school friends-who all knew me to be introverted, inexperienced and having small aspirations-I am once again someone who is aware of the fragility of the endeavours I make. I’m not grateful anymore, I see how it could all fall apart, if I don’t educate myself enough and get into danger, or lack the proper gear, or it getting in the way of my relationship with my family. And then I relish in the relative safety of everything, and feel again that I am only as small as I feel. Because I have done bigger things, and no doubt those who did bigger things than I were not 100% sure of their ventures. No one is. If you can’t be sure that you can butter a piece of toast perfectly before it gets cold, how can you expect to be able to feel 100% comfortable in situations you haven’t yet faced?

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As we came down, my phone stopped working in the cold weather and anyhow the best parts were spent in motion, so no pictures were taken: sliding down the trails on butts or plastic bags (a great adrenaline rush, gotta try luge one day), sharing food at the top, and pulling out the map and arguing over where we were-classic hiking stuff that I had never done with longtime friends before.

It is extremely fun to slide down the trail on a plastic bag. Alternately, the first 1/4 of the Snowshoe Grind would have made a fantastic ski run. Why isn’t it, Grouse? One day I just might have to be those unlawful people who go out of bounds and sneak in powder.

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Very blue and white and green. Almost new year. Everything looks fresh and new.

Snow Journal #1

IMAG5361Sometimes, ideally all the time, I come home after snowboarding and relax by writing it all down. I don’t really pay attention to which parts were boring and which parts were exciting; I just want to capture the minutiae that made the day the day that it was. For me, this is also a good way to figure out how to tell the story before I blab about it out loud to other people in a way that makes no sense.

You should know that this season is severely lacking snow, not as bad as California, but pretty bad. It’s mostly just myself my musing and I out there and whomever I’m carpooling and thus spending the day with. It’s a good way to meet awesome, like minded people. At the same time, the people who like the mountains are a diverse crowd.

If I leave feeling calm or excited though, it was a good day. And I’ve never regretted a day on the mountain!

This was one of the rare days where there was fresh snow.

I wouldn’t take a picture of that drop.

Taking a picture sort of forecloses and discloses that you won’t visit that exact moment again. It might even be a pre-giving up, a towel thrown in before the job is even started.

The drop came at the exact right moment. I was questioning why I was possibly out of bounds, in a safe but unfamiliar environment, never a fully danger-free place for a beginner, and even if none of that mattered (and, compared to the even “wilder” backcountry, why should it) why I was spending it alone. It was as if Christmas had came and everyone had gotten presents except me.

I was there because the abyss wanted to see me.

Since I was alone, and since I had never gone out of bounds before (whether it was even out of bounds, I was not sure) I was nervous, and only hesitantly staked my way into the trees. Two guys had gone before me and although I could hear with jealousy their twin elated whoops, I reigned my own excitement in-I had just missed real powder in a resort by a day, and this was the closet thing to it. Since strapping out and walking around didn’t prove to be helpful, I spent a good fifteen minutes trying to decide whether the path through the trees would take me downhill back onto the run or somewhere weird before concluding, based on semi-confident spatial imagining, that it would. So off I went. If there was one thing I learned from that one ski trip, I could read a lot from the trails left by people before me.

But following other’s trails means you don’t get any powder yourself. It’s already been blazed. Do I stray? There were only a handful of trails at most. Any unblazed trail didn’t necessarily mean that it was dangerous; it just meant that no one had thought to make right turn there, not that there was a tree waiting for me at the bottom. Silly thinking? Probably, but alone on a resort is a very different feeling from being guided on a safe-looking backcountry hill. But, I could not snowboard in the backcountry-and the few turns that I did get in, confident I wouldn’t ride into some territory I couldn’t hike out of-reminded me why snowboarding is not and will never be quite the same as skiing. I quickly got to another flatter area where I could either rejoin the main run or remain within ten metres in the trees away from it, and reassessed my position. As far as I knew, the groomed trail turned left after this, and I wanted to remain within a reasonable distance of the run, or else I would end up down who knows where unable to hike back up. So I joined the main run again and on my next time up looked at the shape of the run and saw that it was very safe. No wonder why people spoke of “tree runs”. It looked even safer than the icy, winding hill.

Doing the falling leaf on semi-soft snow is actually fun work, when you are avoiding branches and trees. I thought I had left that behind on the bunny hill. Actually, I was elated to find that going down ungroomed runs required more finesse from these kinds of rudimentary techniques than I would have ever imagined. There gets a certain point where falling leaf is good for the steeps; I like to think that like on the bunny hill going on to the green runs, this technique pushes you to always progress and find things more and more steep. Keep in mind, none of this was anywhere near as important or dangerous as I thought it was at the time–but again, I pondered why I was alone, and would rather be safe than sorry. (Missed friends were busy, leaving, not wanting to pay up, or unable to be contacted due to my weather-tempermental phone. My plan to contact frequent goers to this particular tree run for pointers was fried when my phone fritzed) Strangely enough, I had spent nearly all of last season alone and not felt like I had missed out much; but now I saw snow sports in a new light, as a community, and as an endless chance to always, forever, make new friends.

So I am carving half moons into the snow, and pleased to see that piles of snow form from my efforts-attesting to the fact that there was at least 2 cm of snow-going very slowly, methodically, not enjoying speed or ease but simplicity-and I think, Wow, this is so simple yet so hard to do. I am thinking too hard. Skiing wasn’t hard, and I didn’t even really know how to ski. But maybe I put more weight into snowboarding, since I should know how to ride better-and I see myself riding more in the future-probably more than I ski-so I am feeling disappointed. I can neither share the fear and joy of going into the unknown with anyone, nor get that rush of sliding fast on powder. Unmajestically I launch myself down a short incline but then immediately pull up and fall over so I can stop myself before I go over the next blind spot. I don’t get to enjoy that short downhill jaunt into powder. But this is good because the third time I do this and reach a third flat spot I see that the way down is not actually just a series of inclines between trees. The last one is actually a drop. It’s an abyss.

I wrack my brain for what others might do. My first reaction is disappointment, because I don’t see any telltale tracks leading from the start of the jump to the bottom. It just drops-maybe ten metres. Actually, I see there is a possible doable chute-but it’s clearly icy and I see the short landing, and hints of jutting plantation just beneath the ice. Doable…but…no one has done it before me. And with with my expertise alone, I did not trust myself to do it if I already could not control myself on that landing area when taking the groomed trail. Drat! I was severely disappointed because it looked very beautiful, no-turning chute of ten metres between two rows of trees. Did I mention it was very steep?

Next, I looked for another opening, saw a similar chute (but one littered with branches and other unknown obstructions) and figured that it would have been jumped by a good snowboarder. But I didn’t see any marks in the snow that signified someone had jumped, and furthermore, the landing spot was right at the elbow of a turn, so you would have to have superior stopping in order to not fly off of the groomed run and into who knows what. Darn again.

It was this process of wanting but not immediately giving up, of dreaming but also being realistic, that made it different from what I had just done coming down. You had to be technical and careful going between trees. You had to decide if you should turn or point down, and where to suddenly slash the snow in order to pull up to a stop. And you didn’t feel heroic or adrenalized. You weren’t really feeling much; it was like doing math homework or piano practice instead of the real exam. It wasn’t hard, and it wasn’t tiring, and it didn’t matter if you did it or not. The only thing that mattered was what you thought of it, whether you wanted to prove something to yourself or you wanted to see or do something new. But you didn’t want to risk anything for it.

The drop was different in that it made you dream. Maybe right away you knew you couldn’t do it right now. But that doesn’t stop you from dreaming. You apply angles to it, apply what you just learned coming down, imagine how it would feel or what techniques you would have to bring in…your mind is set free. After half an hour of boring, fruitless practice, you finally get a small reward, and you remember why you were practicing in the first place. For this.

Maybe a ten metre drop. Not the 70 degree angle you wouldn’t attempt but saw earlier coming off of the trees back onto the groomed run, but pretty close. You might even just float-launch off a little stump and be free of even its angle. How do you angle off an angle? Crystalline white, so you later understood the steepness meant snow had fallen down it and left it icy and bare, so it was likely dangerous because of the mountain underneath. But it was so beautiful. To be rushing into the air, winged on both sides by furry emerald trees-this you knew, is the meaning of your life. It is not only beautiful, but impertinent, that you one day rush through the air on verdant wings on a board (for, rushing through the air facing front, as on skis, sounds like death)…that is what the abyss wanted to tell you.

The saying goes something like, “Stare long enough and the abyss stares back at you.” That is what happened to me. You are lucky to have the leisure and time to stare at an abyss, but you’ve got plenty of that if you’re resort skiing/riding, haha (trust me, I’m full of it–that backcountry was the best thing in my life ever, but realistically, based on my geological location and the short winter days, I had better prepare myself for resort skiing until I get a car, or else I will never be able to attend 5 am meet ups in the big city centre required for that kind of pursuit) To put it more crudely, riding an abyss is great because abyss is a lot of somethingness (at the same time as nothingness), and we were built to enjoy the feeling of lots of somethingness between our legs. Riding is powerful because wobbling on our legs makes us feel drowsy, and white snow makes us even drowsier, and at the end of the day if you don’t feel purer for the riding that you’ve done, you haven’t truly ridden. The best riding is the kind that one does for oneself (or, to save others: I imagine being volunteer ski patrol would be quite the reward)

As for pictures, taking a picture of the abyss wouldn’t have mattered much anyhow. My phone, on cold weather strike, oddly reversed its picture taking capabilities. When I took my phone home later and loaded the photos, I noticed that the times my phone died mid-picture were times photos were actually captured, whereas when I received real-time confirmation that pictures were being taken, their existence on my phone’s memory were completely nonexistent. Weirddd. I didn’t get a picture of my board being propped up in semi-powder (because, really, when have I ever seen that before) but I did get a picture of the trees and the inversion:

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The abyss called me, and I will find a sizeable (powder) drop and drop it this year, although it’s slightly unlikely since powder+drop=tele skis+shit control and snowboard=crap resort snow+fucked if I dropped wrong.

Extra mention

These are generally the touristy-angled pics that I find online to advertise the mountain. Having not really been on the highest chair before I agreeably found out that the angles were basically just the most inactive ones. Ie in order to take these angle pictures, you had to be touristy-in a long line up, on a chairlift, or at the start of the runs-basically all of the above, since I had the leisure.

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State of the mountain in late December.

Cypress Mtn-St Mark’s Summit

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View of bottom of ski area.

So many more trails are hidden in between those trees. I wish they had the lifts in operation.

It’s a freakishly small world. The girl who was my dorm neighbour, last year, is highschool mates with the girl I just went hiking with. And they’re all from Columbia. She was super fast and blew us newbies behind. She said her friends were super boring and the best thing she could convince them to do was Deep Cove. I agreed with her. That was why I was always joining online groups. She was super nice and I would like to hike with her again, although I secretly considered deep cove a hike, having never actually done it-there’s a lot of things I haven’t done, but a short and sweet hike in Cypress during the summer is crossed off my list.

Among the cool things aside from meeting that girl is having a bird eat from my hand. Their claws felt exactly the way I imagined them to feel. They weighed more than chickadees, which is to say, I actually felt their weight in my hand. They like cashews…I have never had a largish songbird eat from my hand before, so that was pretty cool.

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No comment. Just a view.

A few guys were sitting perilously on the edge of a cliff at the top but in light of the recent incident in the news, I didn’t find it daring, but frightening. Normally i might have done it myself but I stayed far, far away. Laying down and peaking our heads over was fine though; Columbia girl and I enjoyed the view that way.

It turned out that I had woken up three hours early to transit, walk, and make the carpool time in advance had all been for nothing. I got a ride home afterwards straight to my hometown…because one of the lead organizers who is sixty something lives there, too.

My friend’s possible prof went on the hike. Chem, a small college. Humble guy…surprised by his own stamina.

Where I sat three months ago on the last day of the season.

Everyone had something to say. Everyone was very different but no one complained. In fact it felt much more like a social group than intermediate hike, as advertised. For one, 32 people came. Columbia girl says the hikes have different personalities, depending on the organizer. This one was mellow and easy, perfect for a first meet up.

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View of the ski cafeteria. All the normal winter-access areas were closed off, including the eating areas. All I could see were ghostly rooms behind tightly clamped doors.

All the 40+ crowd, which was basically everyone except Columbia girl, I, a boy (tried to converse with him but didn’t get anywhere) and perhaps the fathers, went for beers after. Goddammit I wanted a beer. Yesterday all my high school friends had gotten alcohol before I had frustratingly bussed to my school campus due to being too tired to remember which stop to get off of. What kind, I don’t know, but I felt stunningly irritated and extremely interested in drinking.

So I bought a chocolate almond milk (I thought it was soy…I’ve had too much regular chocolate milk to enjoy it anymore and honestly it tasted like soy until I looked at the bottle) and a cookie instead. The cookie was crap, the girl didn’t want any, and the chocolate milk was amazing.

Cypress is not the same beast in the summer, but were you to go on an advanced hike, it would have been a sure fire test of endurance and fitness, one that I wouldn’t pass, but sure as hell would love to, if I had the energy.

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I never could figure out what that little house built into the side of the mountain was but I sure as hell wanted to live there…