Sure, it’s almost the weekend again. But let’s live in the past a little, ok? Last weekend we enjoyed three days off (thank you Martin Luther King, Jr…for many things, not just a long weekend). Two were spent on the alpine ski slopes, and one cross country skiing in the backcountry.
Saturday and Monday we ripped up the groomers on Sun Valley’s Bald Mountain. The temperature on the ground was in the single digits, but a little inversion gave us high 30′s up on the slopes. The snow was what a friendly ski patroller called “transitional” – it was almost warm enough to be spring skiing but not quite. The skiing was fantastic, the days bluebird.
On the way to the slopes on Monday morning, we listened to parts of President Obama’s inauguration the radio. The day brought back fantastic memories of January 20, 1997, Bill Clinton’s second inauguration. My high school marching band was accepted in a competitive process to perform at the traditional inauguration parade. In the months prior we had raised money, sent hundreds of thank you notes to donors, memorized our music, spent days learning a new cornering technique, and participated in physical training (it is a long parade route).
We piled onto buses and traveled the nine hours to Washington, DC. We were high schoolers – there were movies, boyfriend/girlfriend seating arrangements, and general rule breaking. My sixteen year old self thought it was awesome. The morning of the inauguration we had to line up pre-dawn for security checks and then quarantine. We stood, in the below freezing temperatures, for hours. After the ceremony, we silently begged the First Family to eat lunch quickly. They didn’t. In fact, they ate it at a monstrously slow pace. There was frostbite, frozen limbs, and lots of jumping up and down. The parade finally got moving in the late afternoon. I don’t remember too much of the parade itself, it was a blur that seems like it passed in minutes (it didn’t, in reality). I do remember playing at an angle to salute the President as we marched past his viewing booth, and he held his hand over his heart, nodded in appreciation, and gave us the thumbs up.
But I have digressed significantly. This past Sunday, instead of hitting the slopes, we hit the backcountry for some cross country skiing. It was another gorgeous day.
At one point in our ski we crested a small hill and encountered what we first took to be a dog. It was a canine, furry, and terrified of us. Seeing dogs in the backcountry isn’t unusual – but we were miles from the road and were alone on the trail. As the animal skidded away, it became evident that it was wild. We thought (and still think) it was a coyote – an unusual sighting on a trail in the middle of the day but not impossible. Yesterday I found out that there were grey wolf sightings in the same area on the exact day we were skiing. So who knows? There’s a chance, though I think it’s remote, that it could have been a small grey wolf traveling alone.
And now, it’s the weekend again! We’ll be…surprise surprise…on the slopes. How about you?Pin It