recalling a day with Weston D...

It was a bright blue sky day, and the timing was ripe for some exploration.  I was looking for a good access route to a favorite backcountry area that I usually access from a nearby resort.  Of course, I speak in generalities in order to save my own skin in the local's only crowd.  It is prevalent and pervasive in these areas.  Funny to me, but to each his own.  I brought along my new Telemark Skier Magazine (TSM) teammate and trusted tour partner, Weston Deustchlander.  

^Weston smiles for the camera while we were taking in the break out view.  One of the many things that I love about these zones.  I brought Weston along under the disclaimer that the real objective of the day was finding a good uphill skin path route to an area that is much more easily attainable from the nearby resort.  An uphill exploration objective is more work then anything else, so the disclaimer was in order.  

^Also, there was another motive to my madness.  With the formation of the TSM athlete crew, I needed to sell him on the value of the zones that have made my career.  For many years now, the Vertical Integration group has been among the only crews to really get work done in these zones.  It is my backyard so I really needed to get the TSM team on board.  We didn't even really need to ski much of it. I just needed Weston to see it and the selling would be done by itself.  

^If you look closely, then you might see Weston's track along the shadow line of the pine trees.  This line is the very tip of the iceberg in relation to the available terrain in these areas.  Again, due to local ostracism I won't show you too much.  Just a little taste.  The uphill exploring was pretty tough, but we made it to a place where I could show Weston a larger piece of the terrain than in this picture above.  From a ridge overlook we could see a couple bowls and a grip of rocky glades.  The untapped nature of what Weston was looking at was enough to make my point.  The terrain is killer, the shots are golden, and there is no one to be seen for miles.  I didn't have to do much talking to make the point.

^In this photo above, Weston is learning a new skill set that the northern Wasatch locals have perfected, bush whacking.  In these parts the approaches and exits are long and scrubby.  Due to a slightly lower elevation, most of our tours end with bush whacks and rally track skiing down skinny summer trails.  It is an arduous task.  However, I chalk it up to a small price paid for the lonely nature of the range.  All in all, we found a good route.  Although long, we did find it to go cleanly and rather easily.  Weston also came away with a bit more scope of the value that lay waiting for us in all that untapped potential.     

two kids from Wilmot...

Over three decades ago a couple of kids got married in Wilmot, Wisconsin.  They went to work, started a family, and made a home.  That home built me.  On the eve of the time of year when we buy Hallmark appreciations for our parents I am grateful for the opportunity to have shared some quality experiences with mine.  No cards or internet ordered flower bouquets delivered as closely as possible to a day on the calendar can compare.  Times like these are the real deal.  

^Just as they have for over thirty years my folks are looking out for each other while they cross over troubled waters together.  Thankfully, this particular situation was probably much less severe then the rapids they've endured together in decades of marriage and children.  However, my mother may disagree.    

^I think that she is calling me an expletive beginning with the letter "F" in this particular photo of her making a big step-up move with arbored assistance.  She may have had severe reluctance in a lot of the situations I put her in, but she always made it.  I knew she could even though she insisted that she could not.

 ^Of course, my pup, Murphy, is not afraid of anything.  She is pictured above wondering why we are still at the bottom of the rocky scramble.  Murphy was a good guide, and she was very in tune with my mother's fears and apprehensions.  It was really something to observe.  At one point I was scouting my mother across a sketchy traversing maneuver around the face of a small cliff.  I was in a fixed position, and as my mom moved passed me and descended toward the last steps of the move I could not guide her through the slick muddy finish on the bank of the rushing creek.  To our astonishment just as I let her go and said, "I can't move any further to spot you so your on your own for these last few steps." Murphy waded into the creek positioning herself in a spotters position between my mom and the creek.  My golden retriever literally guided my mom through the last steps to safety.  Neither my mother nor I could believe what had just happened.  Don't tell me that dogs are not sentient.

^These kinds of situations are somewhat foreign to your average dairylander.  These two are not the spry young Wilmot river rats they once were, but don't dare tell them that they can't do something.  This hike is not for the light hearted, but I knew it was within their abilities.  Even though my mother didn't necessarily believe me.  

^Mother, nervously doubting my direction.  Nonetheless, completing the maneuver unscathed, yet again.

^Sometimes the best way to lead is from behind.  Murphy lets my Dad march ahead to scout the path.

^The finale was a big waterfall.  Bigger than I've ever seen it.  Runoff is going strong this year in the Wasatch.  The high water made the journey that much more arduous, but added value to the experience.   That spells "hell AND high water" for my fifty something mother who is afraid of heights.  However, persistence and spousal cooperation can achieve great things.  I've seen it.  This day.  On this hike.  As well as throughout the childhood they gave me.    

^ Of course, we had to make some ski turns in "June-uary".  Like I said before, the Wasatch runoff is still going strong, and even barely at all at Snowbird.  Christine insisted on taking my Dad skiing while the folks were in town.  No objections from me... duh.

^Like this full moon cresting low in the summer sky, the cycles of life are all around us.  In the moon, in the spring runoff, and in my family's shared generational appreciation of all of it.  I strive for a naturally righteous and inspired existence.  A worthy pursuit impressed in part upon me by those Wilmot kids who took a chance on each other all those decades ago.   Thanks, Mom and Dad.

Starting to feel like summer...

Spring in the Wasatch has been very unusual thus far.  A lot of cold storms, and plenty of instances of valley snow on the spring blossoms.  However, this week it has been hot.  It is starting to resemble the typical again.  An unfortunate consequence now is humidity and the presence of an old friend that I knew all to well growing up in Wisconsin, the mosquito.  My daily drive to work through prime hatching environment has rendered the front of my car a scene of mosquito genocide.  Bug repellent will become a sacred ritual as it once was in my damp Wisconsin childhood.   

^The heat is on and the bugs will soon be out on the ramp with me at Salt Lake International.  On the bright side, as you can tell in the background of this Canadair CRJ-700, there is still vast amounts of snow up in the high elevations.  Snowbird is still rocking and I heard a rumor that Snowbasin may even turn some chairs for skiing on the weekends for a bit.  My Dad's coming into town and we plan on making some "Juneuary" turns. 

^My wife, Christine, always says my posts need more puppy.  Here is some puppy.

^Murphy is down with the heat.  She loves fetch in the field with the neighborhood kids.  Summer for her comes with perfect timing to ramp up her knee recovery with hiking, swimming, and all around horseplay.  The kids don't take it easy on her either so her resilience is progressing through the aggressive play.

^All smiles.

^Cold spring storms have brought us a lot of these scenes this spring.  Very surreal when your in the middle of it.  

^Metaphor...errrrr...whatever.  Snow on a flower.  Bad for the flower.  Interesting for me.  Cool picture either way.

building strength and equity...

I am a firm believer in cross training.  Also, I thrive on variety.  Mixing it up in the outdoor recreations so amply provided by the Wasatch range is the perfect solution.  I am also a firm believer in working for a living.  I happen to view trade work as another form of cross training as well, but that kind of gets into a different thing all together.  Most importantly, it is the time of year for me to be building...  muscle diversity... and financial equity.

^Murphy took up her position as supervisor on the workshop floor.  We were rebuilding the sauna in the basement.  Previously, when I undertook a leaky shower issue down there half of the existing sauna was an unfortunate casualty of that war.  Putting Humpty Dumpty back together again was the task at hand.  I'd never built a sauna before so the learning curve was in effect again, as usual.   

^However painful and dumbfounding, I completed the job.  The sauna oven heats up, and the box holds all the heat.  Not sure what else I can ask for now, but just hope that it holds up for the next thirty years.  The test of time always proves the craftsman.  The problem is you can't tell that until after some time.  No matter how much homework I try to do, at some point I just have to jump in with both feet.

^After stressing all day, there is no better relief then the northern Wasatch front range to provide a quick and easy fix of some mother nature.  The outdoor recreation in my backyard is plentiful.  I try to partake in as much of it as I can afford.  I like the variety and the cross training nature of practicing as many as I can.

^My wife Christine is a die-hard mountain biker these days.  In this photo she is soaking it up in a creek bed crossing.  All I have to do is mention the urge and she is pushing it home to get out.  I love the cardio and power training of mountain biking.  The athleticism of it is fantastic as well.  Pure test of balance, strength, strategy, motion, and fluidity among a million other skills that are in constant play.  

^Bouldering is the perfect change of pace.  Christine and I have been pushing ourselves to include climbing into our lives more often.  I love the upper body and core strengthening of the sport.  We are rather enthusiastic beginners, but we are having a good time getting stronger and mastering our centers of gravity.  We are mostly into bouldering so far because of the relative ease of entry.  However, the challenges have been no less great.  I have watched Christine begin to flourish in a relatively short time as her strength builds rapidly.  She is right on the crux of solving a problem that has been haunting her.  I can't wait until she nails it because then the proverbial rock will be rolling.

^Of course there is hiking with Murphy as well.  I enjoy the extra company as much as the walk.  The hike is a good workout, but the contagious jubilation of my five-year old golden retriever is as good for me as anything.  Her attitude is something to admire.  I can only strive for that kind of enthusiasm and love in my own character.  Good dog.

 ^A sunset such as this can have a power that transcends the physical.  The adrenaline and "runner's high" of a good workout is one thing.  When you add in the power of mother earth through incorporating the "outdoor" in outdoor recreation something changes.  Real value is added to the experience that no treadmill or gym can duplicate.  Drenched in adrenaline and cooling down from a vigorous effort to the soundtrack of a brisk spring breeze amidst a glowing sunset with my wife and pup in tow is the ideal reward to the vast array of hard work.