Sunday, January 27, 2013

Freezing Cold Hike with the Outdoors Club and a Rock Climbing Adventure

This adventure starts with me having 3 days off of work so naturally I decide to head down to Monmouth for some company (since all my friends back home are work on Fridays). 
After making a bank run with Alissa for her job I head down to Monmouth to kill some time before meeting some people for a hike at 2pm.  I meet up with my new friend Sam (who I met recently on a trip to Canada), plus 3 girls Becca (Gidget), Jackie, and Rachel (who I have hiked with before on other outdoors club hikes).  
The weather today is below freezing outside and although it is sunny, it is rather nippy out. Plus the weather channel is calling for snow an hour after starting our excursion. Thankfully we are all troopers and ready.  The girls actually look like little puff balls with all the layers they have on. We are all excited and in good spirits.  The girls already know each other so start talking right away and Sam is able to get comfortable with the new company.  For me, it’s nice to catch up as we go along since I don’t see everyone that often.  
The start is not very difficult and although I have hiked and biked this trail quite recently, it feels very different. The tiny bit of snow dusting that covers earth gives the path a beautiful wintery feel.  On most hikes I go on, something interesting always catches someone’s attention and side excursions randomly form. Today is no different and it is Sam’s eye and fun attitude that spots some slanted trees and a side gulley. He jokingly says that we should check it out.  When he says he’s going to follow me I start. It is more than enough excuse for me to do something dumb. 
First I walk over to the side gulley. It’s a steep slope but it looks doable… yet very slippery.  I calculate and figure that  if I go full speed running, I can make it down and use the side wall bank to keep my momentum and make it even further down the slope.  Of course, I go for it, hit the first bank at full speed and turn sharply further down, ducking under branches and jumping over obstacles without slowing my pace.  At the next turn, I duck at a strange angle, can’t stay up so I do the next best thing and fall/roll. I keep my momentum in a 360 and pop right back up onto my feet.  It was really fun but as I make it further down, the ground levels out and the brush becomes too thick to plow a path through.  I run back up and rejoin our group.  Sam is excited about the side adventures so I turn and face the other way:  to where there are two down slanted trees.  I look at Sam to see if he is up for the challenge but he lets me go first to test the trunks.  With my usual spider monkey skills, I climb up pretty quickly and make it all the way to the top.

 From the top, I  decide to try and make it down by climbing one of the small trees that is holding up the fallen tree that I am currently standing on.  As I am climbing down and dangling from one arm holding onto a branch, I hear my phone ring.  Since I am waiting on a call from Mike and Bill, I decide to go ahead and dig my phone out of my pocket to pick up.  It’s Bill, so I give him the quick hello of “Hey Bill, let me call you back. I’m currently in a tree.” He knows me well enough, that he is not surprised in the least.   

Since it’s cold outside and I am not sure how Sam feels about heights, we decide to continue hiking. The trails are nice mountain biking trails, so there are lots of turns on berms, ups and downs, as well as some little bridges over little streams.  We make our way up one hill and down the other side to where the trail begins to follow the river.  We all stop to bask in the glory of the view and take some pictures.

  We spot a cool looking tree the hangs over the water.  Someone notices it and jokes about me climbing it so I get closer to it.  I would have climbed up but on the floor in front of it I notice a huge dead bird.  It is a blue heron and it is massive.

   I can’t help but pick up its frozen body by the feet to tease the girls. Its body is so stiff that even with all the weight, its body stays rigid and fights gravity as I hold it up right.  I take the huge dead bird as a sign to not climb the tree.  Falling in the water would have been miserable, so I am ok with skipping it.   From here, we follow the trail along the river. It is pleasantly easy going but it isn’t very long before Sam and I get distracted by a downed tree that I think we can use to cross to the other side of the river.  Although it is slick with snow and full of tiny loose branches from when the river levels rose during the floods, I still decide to walk across upright. When I make it to the other side, it’s fun for me to watch Sam try and shimmy across on his butt because he fears falling in the water.

In his defense, it’s hard to balance across a log.  Every time I do it, it scares me more than you would think.  Anyway, as I wait for Sam to cross, the girls get bored and go trot off into the woods a little further to find a small frozen pond.  I can hear shrieks of terror and laughter as they tromp around and smash through the thin ice. In the distance from the direction we came, I can see a body running our way.  It’s our buddy Mike running to catch up.  Sam, Mike and I join the girls playing on the thin ice.  I think Sam tries to show off when he first gets on the ice, but he somehow busts his ass.  I just catch his fall out of the corner of my eye and I hear the ice shatter under the weight of his body.  He is fine and everyone is laughing.  We push a little further back and find a deeper pond that you can tell has water underneath, unlike the thin breaking ice section we played on earlier.  Everyone is nervous to get on it except for me, so I test it out.  It’s perfectly fine and even hold under me jumping and stomping. We take some pictures and play on the ice all together.  We even try to grab Jackie by her feet and swing her around on the ice, but no matter what we try, we can’t get enough of a grip on her foot to pull and spin her well enough. Even so it’s a pretty fun attempt.  

We continue along the trail next to the river before it heads up a fairly steep hill.  It is a hill that Mike and I have tried to bike up before.  Between its steepness, loose leaves and giant roots neither of us have ever made it up without having to get off our bikes.  Maybe one day.  
At the top we stop and notice a spot that drops off with a really nice slope. It looks like a sweet super advanced bike route/water run off point that I doubt anyone has ever used.  Having passed it and thought about it many times before, I can’t help myself and decide to go for it. I run down the path with all its loose footing and hidden roots at full speed using the walls in front of me to make a sharp enough turn to continue down.  It drops off super-fast onto a really thin section of trail where I barely avoid some bushes by using the side wall berm.  At the bottom, where I’m already going too fast to stop I notice my biggest problem… The river is dead ahead.  Luckily at the last second, I snag a tree limb and whip my momentum to the side to save myself from being miserably cold and wet.  In my head I think, I cannot wait for summer to try this again with a bike so I can take the jump into the river.  The 4 or 5 foot drop off looks like it would feel amazing.  I can only wonder what the group thinks just happened as I dropped off out of sight.  
I make it back up pretty quickly.  Instead of heading back on the main trail, we take a little side trail to a little lookout where you can see the water pump station and a tiny little manmade waterfall.  Right in front of us is another almost trail looking steep  drop off.  I’m pretty sure it’s just a run off point but we have an awesome group of adventures today so we all decide to go for it.  It’s really steep and slippery but the girls have no problem and the boys naturally are down without a thought.  At the bottom, there is a little used unmarked trail we decide to follow.  At this point it has started to snow a little.  I love walking through the woods in the snow because the effect  light has on each tiny flake is beautiful against the background of the woods. 

Of course, we get distracted again when we find another little frozen pond to play on.  This one is a little deeper and from what I can tell also a little thinner.  It has a nice section with plants visible through the ice and another section of leaves frozen in place.  As I am staring down at the green plants thinking about how they manage to survive, I spot something flash by.  At first I think it is just my eyes, my imagination, but it happens again. It is a tiny fish trying to hide.  As soon as I say the word fish, everyone heads over to me. As they get closer, we hear the most terrifying sound… Crack.  Thankfully it does not fully break through with all of our weight.  We all disperse to different sections and take turns spotting little fish amazingly surviving the wintery ice conditions.  Only a few feet away, I notice one other beautiful thing hidden in the ice. There are frozen bubbles trapped in the layers of the ice.  They are piled right on top of each other.  Although they are small, when you look at them closely they make for a beautiful gift from nature. 

I hate to be a party pooper, but I can tell it is getting late and the sun is fading.  With the dropping temperature and us not having headlamps to hike with, I make the call to head back up the steep runoff trail and follow the actual trail back to the car.  I can tell that no one is really ready to leave but we all head back and are secretly excited to rejoin the pleasures of a nicely heated car.  Thankfully we leave when we do because it not only gets darker quickly but also starts to snow heavier as we pull out.  From there we go to campus to grab some dinner at the dining hall before getting ready to go rock climbing afterwards.  
We only lose one, Becca, when we go climbing.  I seem to have convinced everyone plus we combine forces with Dave, Lucas, David, Pat and his friend John who we convince last second at dinner.  It looks like it will be a big, fun group to climb with. 

I realize it’s hard to write about climbing, especially gym climbing so I’ll keep this simple.  We start by giving the newcomers,  John and the girls the breakdown of how the climbs work.  First and most basic, we are bouldering: climbing the shorter walls without ropes. It’s a good place to start for them.  We show them the routes to follow based on color; each is rated based on the hardest move of the climb.  Our little intro is quick and then the fun begins with all of us hitting different sections of the boulder problems in the middle of the Garden state rocks gym. 
The layout is the same as the last time I was at the gym but all the problems are updated and new.  Recently, there was even a competition so all the routes are clearly marked and scored.  I bust out my go-pro camera to get some fun footage after I get a bunch of solid climbs in so that my body can rest.  It’s amazing how much and how fast your arms pump themselves out if you take a break from climbing at all. Other than filming some of the climbs, the highlights of the night are fooling around trying to do some of the dynos that are set up around the gym and landing on the big fluffy crash pads.  Everyone gives it a go.  I am happy with myself because although I can’t climb some of the harder climbs at least my form is getting better slowly and steadily. I can read and feel the wall better.  
I also learn that I love chimney climbing style and crack climbing styles.  I got up further on the crack then some of the guys that work at the gym.  Plus, when no one was looking at the end of the night I played traverse the wall sideways instead of up and when I got to the awkward corner gap where two doors create a huge gap between walls I still somehow monkeyed past it by keeping pressure on both walls.  It was a pretty awesome session climbing with a lot of fun loving people.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

High Heat Adventure to Beat the Freezing Cold Temperatures...Biking through the Freeze

"Looks will fade as we age, but the good-hearted soul will naturally radiate an everlasting beauty"

Today I not only embraced the "suck", I dominated it and then spread the domination to one of my fellow riders.
Let me first start by telling you that the temperature today was somewhere between 11-15°F.  COLD!  This story is about me and the Orange Bike Guy! You may not know my buddy but he's been involved in some of my other stories as well, and this time I finally learned his name, Jack!  Now we are officially friends and riding buddies for anytime we see each other after tonight's bonding. 
Tonight it started with me turning onto the bike path that follows the West Side Parkway like I always do. It's a path along the Hudson River and tonight I saw two riders in the distance.  I wasn't catching up that fast but I wanted to see who it was. I sped up and didn't recognize the rider struggling to keep up with the guy further ahead.  Then for a second I caught a glimpse of an orange Pannier and, bam, I put on the thrusters!  Maybe I was going a little too fast as I sped past him but I turned and waved to say hi anyway.  I didn't want to lose speed at that point so I just kept it up hoping he would try to keep pace with me. He did! which made me feel good. 
As usual, no words were spoken, but I knew it was my turn to lead, also known as "pulling". "Pulling" means that you take the brunt of the wind and the other person stays directly on your tail to avoid some of the wind because they're sitting in your air stream. I felt my adrenaline pumping hard... It was crazy intense!  It was freezing outside but I was overcome with heat. My face mask was so full with steam that it was hard to breath and the steam eventually spread to my glasses which almost instantly iced up.
Along the ride, there were a few really cool moments. The light was hitting the floor and creating shadows. They were playing with my mind and convinced me to push harder and longer.  As we pumped our legs, we would pass street lights and I would see my shadow grow and then his pop up right behind. Then mine would get smaller and his would as well. We would vanish for a second until the next light and the process would start all over again. It felt as though time was slowing down  but we were hauling ass and in reality we passed light after light after light within seconds. 
Then we reached another section of the path that has no streetlights. My bright light was shining, illuminating the way in front of me and I noticed that he had thrown his light on as well, for safety reasons, so he could see the ground as well as my wheel. which I am sure was only a few inches from his. The effect the light had was just as cool.  From my light, I could see the shadow of my bike and I in one shade of bright light and from his light a smaller darker outline of his figure almost layered on top of mine. I could tell he was still super close. 
I don't know why, but these lighting effects both got into my head, my legs were on  fire. I was sweating like a beast on a fridgid night but for some reason I just kept on pushing harder.  I was not trying to test him or myself but I kept pushing because it felt good, it felt right, things were clicking.  It is a feeling I have not often felt since the days of playing soccer when I swear time would slow and I would pull moves out of nowhere that I didn't even know I was capable of. 
We finally slowed, not because we wanted to but because we came to a road block. The path had water covering it and the whole stretch had become a huge sheet of Ice. We had to stop and duck under the yellow tape line, slide over and across the ice pond before continuing on our journey. When we did, our race was over and we had a nice catch up and talk session.  He remembered my name although I had to ask him of his. 
It was funny because he had no idea how old I am but found out through the compliment he gave me.  He said he was trying so hard the entire time to keep up with me. He said he had not seen a good paced rider who rides quite as aggressively as I do in a long time.  It's funny that our ages are inversed. He is 42 and I am 24.  Although he is much older and I am much younger, we are the "same" and I can tell we both sense this fact.  I jokingly brought up that I hope to be like him when I get older (especially shape wise) and his response was, "You already are, just keep it up, never stop". I liked that.
He is as young and peppy as he ever was and even though he was catching that side wind on his panniers, he made himself keep up. It was also funny that we both complained about how cold yesterday's ride was... It was terrible. It had drained us and seemed to drag on and on.  However, tonight neither of us noticed the cold or wind at all until we slowed down, even though the conditions were just as cold as yesterday. 
Although time had seemed to slow down at the same time it had sped up as well.  It seemed like the ride was done in the blink of an eye. I look forward to riding with him again soon, who knows what will happen next. Limits, for sure, will be pushed. 

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Relaxing weekend catching up with Friends from Multiple Parts of My Random Crazy Life

After work, I decided to shoot down to Monmouth to catch dinner at Jacks, my old favorite bar, with some old friends.  I almost missed it because when I got home from work, I took a nap and woke up at the last possible minute.  I'm definitely glad I didn't oversleep.
I had dinner with Joe, Greg, Reynolds, Vince, Joe's friends and then later Sarah joined us. It was delicious and I had a massive perogee bacon pizza to myself.  It was fun sitting around chatting, watching both hockey games on tv, and playing darts while having a few drinks.  After dinner, everyone left but I decided to stay and hang out with some other friends, Aly and Kate from my grade, and Kaci and Jenelle from Australia and their friends.  It was sweet to catch up with them. 
However my real fun for the night started after that while visiting some of the fraternity brothers, Jason, Kevin, and Matt. Timmons was playing the dice board game that we had played in Canada a few nights ago (that he apparently stole). The group of us, plus a few girls Amanda, Kae, and Michelle sat around playing and watching movies on tv late into the night until everyone got tired. Kev, Matt and I stayed up playing beer ball till almost 5 in the morning.

I was super stoked that somehow after leaving Matt's house at 4:30 in the morning to go sleep on the beach on a random day in January after drinking all night, I was able to wake up after only a few hours to see the sunrise with enough energy to start my day.  After checking to see if anyone was awake, I found Greg who gave me a spot to re-plan my day from his room. 
Thankfully Bill Reynolds and Vincent were serious about getting up for a hike because everyone else who said they were ready to go weren't actually.  I even had my doubts about vnce since he didn’t pick up right away and sounded help asleep when he finally did answer.  Even so I know he is glad I make him go on these adventures. 
We met up at Vince’s aunts house or i should probably say mansion!  It is massive and I don’t think anyone needs a house that big.  However, it was gorgeous and she was an absolute sweetheart of a lady and gave us a nice little tour of the house.  The view from the back yard to the Manasquan river is unbelievable.  The living room, kitchen and side room are spectacular especially because there are massive windows facing the river that let natural light pour in leaving the room feeling very open. Even the entrance of the, down the driveway is impressive with a big loop around a rockwalled in pond and a huge side garage and parking area with guest house.  There is a beautiful little green house, swimming pool and hot tub behind that.  It was all so beautiful that I almost felt out of place. 
I was glad to start the hike and get back into my preferred world of natural beauty. We started across the street at Huber woods. The hike started out super easy and didn't really change pace.  It went from a nice open field to a serene wooded trail. It was easy going all the way and we spent most of our energy talking and catching up.  As per usual, I did less of the talking and more of the listening and watching. I even sent a few messages with my cell to overseas. The conversation was great, though I had forgotten how long it had been.  So much had happened in all our lives. The most exciting is that Reynolds is becoming a grandpa! 
Huber woods was a pleasant stroll on a bunch of different looped trails. Time seemed to slip away and I guess the miles too because we were out for a while.  I only had one little side trip when I saw a tree balanced completely horizontal 20feet or so in the air against all the other naturally standing ones. It must have snapped and gotten stuck during one of the storms. Anyway, it caught my eye as well as the other two, who tried to ignore it.  Reynolds held back his challenge, but Vincent did not so I dropped my stuff and climbed my way up using first the small end branches dangling down to the floor, even though I was not quite sure that they would hold my weight. Then I made my way up to the larger, more stable trunk part of the tree that looked like it was barely hanging on as gusts of wind shook both me and the trunk back and forth.  A few good pictures later and I was satisfied and thoroughly scared from my fear of heights. 
Shortly afterwards, we were done with our little hike. It was one of the most beautiful days in January that I can remember. After eating a small lunch, we sat around and played Settlers of Catan and chatted and laughed. It was a great break after the hike and I was super excited because it was the first time I won that game. 
Afterwards we called it a day and headed our separate ways.  I'm glad I had some down time this weekend to catch up with some of my favorite people that I do not get to see often enough.    

Mount Tremblant Canada Snowboarding Trip: January 2013

January 13-17, 2013

Mount Tremblant Canada Snowboarding Trip

Let's start with  the main characters of this random adventure and the story of how this college fest trip came to be when I have now been out of college for two years.  First off, my advice is that when opportunity arises you should take it… That pretty much sums up how I went to Canada.  My buddy George (who I know from random meetings  and through other people) was going to Canada this year but the trip ends on a Friday and his winter graduation is on that Friday.  Naturally he didn’t want to miss an awesome snowboarding session but he needed to get back for graduation so he was looking for a group to drive up with him. 
He knew he could get his friend JR (Jenny Rose) to come up with him and one of her good friends Katrina as well.  But they were still looking for a better car to drive up in.  He spoke with one of my friends, Kyle, who brought up my name.  A single text later and I was in.  George is a really relaxed chill kid. I have ridden on the mountain with himbefore and JR is this girl that I have always seen him riding with. 
Although we had never talked much, our mindsets are similar enough that I had no worries about the trip.  The drive up was pretty uneventful because both George and JR had to work late the night before and Katrina had been up late as well, so thankfully I was the well-rested driver. I drove the 5-6 hours up to the Canada boarder only stopping for food and gas in Plattsburg.  I liked the little pub we stopped in. It had caught my eye because of the sweet turtle in the logo that I could barely see from a distance. Afterwards we had a bite to eat  and took a break at a little park outside of city hall to enjoy a flowing river that led into the great lakes. 
Other than getting grilled at the boarder by the agents, the trip up was super smooth and we beat the bus full of students.  When we got to the hotel, we waited for the bus to catch up so we could see who else was sharing our room but as the bus pulled in, the power went out.  We had to meet our other two random roommates in the dark.  Thankfully I had packed a headlamp and all six suite-mates shared the one light.  Jessica and Jackie were our two random suite-mates.  The first night was pretty relaxed and it seemed that everyone was staying in so they could be up for first tracks in the morning. But a couple of us  did not want to miss anything so we decided to go out and see what was going on around the village.  The bars were pretty dead which was a big surprise to me but we went to a dance bar for a little while to hang out even though it was a complete sausage fest.  At least I had two of my girl roommates to make the situation more enjoyable.  We didn't stay too long in any case.

The next morning I was excited to get up early and board with George, JR, and Katrina.  Since last year was a pretty bad season for boarding, it seemed like no one had been out in a while and we were all a little rusty.  I have the oldest board and binding by far, so everyone should have had a one up on me.  The conditions were pretty terrible since it rained the day before so a lot of what was left on the mountain was now ice. Trying not to catch an edge was pretty tough but we all made the best of it.  George and I picked up the boarding pretty quickly but the girls took a little more time to remember. JR seemed pretty good but Katrina took a beating.  She knew what to do but after a few falls her confidence was quickly deteriorating. It was nothing a little hot tub and beer could not fix though. 
It was a pretty relaxed night from there, just playing games since I had brought uno and rumicube.  I figured out that George is an Uno guru and addict.  We all had a pretty good, relaxed night but after a few hours of games and drinks, the girls were ready for bed so as soon as some of our guests left they jumped in bed. There was one drunken kid who kept coming back and knocking on the door but  I ran into him later and sorted things out.  I soloed around the village before bed but honestly it was pretty beat and quiet again not like years past. 

 The next day the conditions were way better, although no one wanted to get up.  George almost made an attempt but stayed in bed instead.  That wouldn't stop me though, sleep is over-rated and the mountain called my name.  I boarded by myself all morning, which was the best part of my trip. There was no waiting, just cruising the open snow without music.  Just plain natural beauty and endless thoughts running through my head. 
I hit every trail I possibly could. I was revisiting old memories and imagining riding with old friends down different trails. It's funny to think how many people I have ridden this mountain with and the different styles that they all have.  My favorite are still the trips that I spent trying to keep up with my buddy Joe and the rest of the pack that came out with us.  Not gonna lie, not having the awesome yard sales from Ian this year was missed.  I am sure I did everyone proud though, cruising at speeds I had forgotten I could get up to. 
My favorites were the black diamonds, although I can’t decide between which of the 4 sides of the mountain was best.  My other enjoyable moments of the morning were the different groups of people that I ran into and started riding with.  Of my favorites were the Russian family on the lift that were from New York, along with a huge group of women racers that pushed my speed well past my comfort, and the group of boarders who shredded the terrain park as I simply practiced my jumps and tried getting some air.  You guys all killed it and although we only spoke for a little you all made my day great.  Oh! How could I forget the three older French women? You were great,  although we couldn’t talk because of a language barrier, I had so many questions I wanted to ask you.  They looked as if they had the nicest demeanor. I just wanted to hear stories and wisdom from them because from all the wrinkles I could tell they spent years in the sun and wind skiing. 
After my morning of peaceful alone time, I was glad that I ran into the girls from the room in the afternoon and did some runs with them before calling it quits. 
As soon as we got back I was in need of a hot tub session.  Then we followed the afternoon ritual of drinks with new friends in the pool room before we went out for a little (although I dominated pool all game, my skill of scratching the 8 ball always gets the best of me).  The highlight of the night was when I decided to climb the rock wall siding of the hotel to a balcony then tried to get into the hot tub from outside.  Everyone was excited and all dressed up since no one doubted my climbing skills.  However, the door was locked from the outside and the windows as well….The water was nice for me at least haha.

Day three turned out to be a pretty sweet day, woke up semi early and waited for a nice group of us to get up and ready to go out.  Finally I had the go pro ready to test it out a little better.  At first it was just the boys and JR tearing it up.  Ryan, Horhey, David and I cruised at some good speeds hitting up some sweet trails while JR tried to keep up.  It was amazing because after a short rest you could really see JR find her confidence as we pushed her a little to do some diamonds.  While Horhey and JR took a short break the rest of us took the short chair lift to the steep section of the mountain and hit up one of the few open Double black trails.  It was steep!  But conditions were pretty good and I enjoyed taking pictures on the way down.  
Then we get the two other ones in our group and start pushing JR's limits to try some new runs….she went with the flow and found her groove and as we cruised along, we all started finding the same pace on some of the longer trails on the back side of the mountain.  We rode for a long while before heading in right before the close of all the trails. 
After some lunch I wasn’t really feeling the hot tub, I had been thinking about checking out the village but then I heard a rumor that the Hot Tub had been bubbled over with shampoo bottles taken off of the maids cart.   I, of course, ran downstairs to check out the pictures and take pictures. After seeing the brilliance of it all, I ran up stairs to put on my bathing suit so I could enjoy the adventure of it all.  The tub foamed up so high that it over flowed and almost made its way into the other room.  From what I understand the boys wanted to use the outside tub but it was temporarily closed for about an hour. 
Well, after the hour was up, the boys didn’t want to wait and retaliated by bubbling the inside one.  I can’t say that I would have done that myself, but I sure did enjoy the treat.  While I was in the tub, the girl from the front desk came in to open the door to the outside one and her face was priceless!  Not to mention her reaction of “did you guys put something in here”.  Her look of shock quickly turned to anger as she walked back to the front.  No harm done though, just a little fun and a small mess to make for a great story I will never forget.   
After that I went to the bar to find Katrina and Jason who had been at the bar all day drinking and shopping around the village so I could invite them out with the rest of us since we were going ice skating and tubing. We had all decided to skip the side trip to Montreal.  At the Bar, Timmons showed me this cool dice game they play at the bar and he lost and had to buy a round of drinks.  After that we headed back to the room and I made a pit stop to grab beers from the store.  We pregamed in the room drinking beers and taking shots. We even had the bar tender from the Caribou join us.  Jackie poured shots into normal glasses which meant they were way too strong. 
I took the biggest and caught up pretty quickly to everyone else as I chased my triple shots with my PBR.  As we headed out I packed a backpack full of beer and the adventure began with Ice Skating.  It was a good old time skating around on this little rinky dink pond that was not very well maintained. It was all chucky Ice.  Timmons and I skated around holding beers doing our laps and playing tag as we skated around.  It was funny to see who could skate and who had no idea what they were doing.   As always, I added some fun by setting up a sliding contest for Timmons and I as well as challenging everyone else to a diving over the snow bank contest…
I think I won both but I lost the next day when I woke up to a super sore body… although Katrina was even worse from falling hard; she could barely walk around and looked all gimpy.  Anyway, after our share of skating we headed over as a giant wolf pack to the Tubing area at the base of the mountain.  There were two sections, tubes and dinky sleds.   The more I drank the more fun I had especially since we were surrounded by friends. A bunch of us raced on the tubes but more importantly on the sleds… The sleds were hard to stay on unless you stayed perfectly straight; which I did not manage to do… I seemed to always run into Dave and then flip and roll to a painful heaping stop.  I did manage to keep the beer with me though and share it with the two guys working at the top of the magic carpet. 
After that we changed quickly and then head out to the bar to check out the night life.  Since we knew the Bar tender we went to the caribou first for a few drinks and relaxed conversation before heading over to the dance bar happily drunk.  I had fun wandering and dancing for a while meeting some new people before heading back to the room at some point with Dave and Timmons.  We bonded in their room and drank some more before heading into my room where I realized I was super drunk.  I know it was super late and most people were already asleep but apparently I made it back to the room and passed out in a chair.  Horhey woke me up eventually around 5 am and put me in bed.
A few hours later around 8 or 9 Horhey and JR tried to wake me up and were surprised when I basically sprang to life in a second.  “Are you ready?” they asked and in a very drunken just barely awake state, I replied “Hell yes”  I am not sure what let me do it but I was ready to go…. I was just a little drunk so the first few runs on the mountain were interesting ones for sure.  I have never had such goofy fluid riding before.  Somehow I did alright and didn’t fall. 
The only problem is that it was freezing outside in the morning.  I am pretty sure it was in the negative Fahrenheit.  My eyes teared as we rode and my whole body could feel the chill even through all my layers.  Needless to say there were a lot of breaks and it turned into a quick morning session before everyone decided to head in for lunch.  It was a bummer that everyone decided it was too cold to go back out except for me.  I convinced Timmons to go out on at least one run with me since he had not ridden that much all trip.  His Board is super strange since it is one of the only models of boards that has its edge rails pulled in so that it is a much better rail board meaning you don’t catch and edge.  However, it makes it extremely difficult to ride if there is any ice whatsoever and just steering in good conditions is sketchy and scary as the board usually slides out from under you pretty quickly.  Timmons didn’t lie at all after one run in the cold, he was ready to head back in.  Thankfully Jackie decided that she was ready to head out so I only took a few minutes to defrost and head back up with her.  I could tell Katrina really wanted to come out but her knees were so black and blue from falling while ice skating that she can barely bend her knee, let alone walk, so boarding is definitely out of the question.  I felt really bad. 
Jackie and I did a quick run, but that was about it because at the bottom she was done as well.  I'm not sure if it was the cold, her being sore, or her feeling bad about holding my pace back that made her go back in so quickly.  I hope it wasn’t me, but I sure as hell was not quiting early on the last day.  Even on no sleep, I stayed out all day in the cold and had a blast riding alone the last bunch of runs.  I just decided to race random people down and push the amount of runs I could squeeze in before the closing of the mountain. 
It was sad to have to stop but eventually I headed in and went into the hot tub one last time.  Bubbles from the day before still foaming up.  Before fully packing the car and leaving I took one last trip to the bar with Katrina so she could say goodbye to her new Canadian bar tender friend from Montreal.  All in all, the trip was amazing, nothing what I expected, full of new people and experiences.  I truly am glad that I took a chance and went.  It broadened my horizons and friendships to boot.  I was disappointed that I didn’t hear any Canadians say “eh “ though!

The drive home, I mostly slept and thought about the trip and trips past.  Trembelant is a magical place with magical people.  I think about all of the trips but one in particular stands out in my mind. Life is random and awesome.  It really is a small world if you think about it.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Revisiting a long lost dream through a dream

So I had a day off work and needed a little boost to my life so I decided to go do something I love that I have not been doing enough of. Hiking!
Nature is truly inspiring
Here is a little story poem with pictures taken from my meander through the forest

"Yesterdays dream is Tomorrow's reality"

I was hiking alone through an old dream
Visiting the woods of my past

I stumble upon something simple yet beautiful, Water.
I remember I have not fallen into this stream in a long time

So I push my luck
Found some new tree bridges to cross

It all looks a little wider then I remember 
Guess a hurricane changes things sometimes

Its beauty however is all still there
Slightly changed she is still incredible every time

Deeper and deeper Into my dream I follow my mind further and further off the trail

Even Found a ghost of past under the ice. I remember hunting big bull frogs on these waters years ago

Water flowing an ever constant in my mind everywhere I go

Flowing falls although icy they may be lead some where
somewhere worth risking the chill

Higher and higher I climb against the flow
following my old dream path

To find a favorite old spot on a tiny little pond
A place to sit and ponder as the ducks and frogs swim by

This old spot leads to finding an old inviting path and the dream continues
To find more of nature's gifts

To see little Simple things that make you smile
Glimpses of the cycles of life

To see and feel the warmth of the woods and sun

Travelling over bog boards to nowhere

That lead to A frozen pond with twin islands

I follow around the bend and am lead to a favorite sight, a beautiful rock bluff, enticing to climb for a simple view and pleasure of the climb

And pass over barley used beautiful walks with inviting elegant snow

To learn about the destruction that happened while I was away

Which remind me of how the past is connected with the future, dreams of past can be reality of today, and Destruction of winter leads to New growth of spring. Keep moving forward