Can’t say I went hungry while in Fiji. So much tasty goodness. A lot of the time at the resort was spent deciding what and where to eat next. There was an amazing Sheraton breakfast buffet, with a fresh juice bar complete with smoothies and protein drinks. Even made to order eggs. Good thing there was a gym and numerous beach activities.
Our first days in the interior jungle we lived on Backcountry meals and protein bars. Some people are not fans if rehydrated meals. I thought they were tasty, except for when they were crunchy. But that was usually due to me not adding adequate water and being impatient.
By the time the race was going, so was catering. The local catering crew had mad skills and worked long hours, but always greeted us with smiles. Seriously in a field they whipped out fresh pastries, cookies, breakfast, lunch and dinner! When it’s raining, your sliding in mud on limited sleep….a hot meal can be a game changer.
Then there were the Wavaka villagers at Camp 2. The village ladies came over for tea. Little did I know ‘tea’ meant tea/coffee and 2 trays of fresh baked breads! There is just something unexplainable about sharing food with others, there is a coming together a sense of community. I will be forever grateful to those near and far that have shared their food and allowed me to become part of their world.
What finer things to do than travel and eat well? Even if you could only afford to do it rarely, the fact that you aspire to that, and are willing to spend money. I think that speaks well of people” Anthony Bourdain
This whole living in the now, being present idea, I get. It’s not a hard concept to wrap your mind around. Putting it into practice however is whole other ball game. Lets just take the internet. I am online, like constantly. Need info Google it, share my great day-facebook, new recipes, new books, new people…….yeah I’m still looking for the end of the net. Where was I going with this? Oh, yeah see it is so super easy for me to drift from the now moment. Even with it right here in front of me; I quickly can jump to somewhere else. A future event….look it up on the internet, a past event…the internet holds onto the memories I forget. Now the internet is not bad, well not mostly, but I need to learn to limit my time there. The TV too. My guilty pleasures, reality television. Ok everyone needs an escape. But the news, ah, that is so frustrating. For instance last night before bed no less, they did a story about K2. A smokable form of potpourri, um the key word there is potpourri! Kid smoked this stuff and hmm…died, killed himself, whatever, parents blame K2! Hold the incense! Why, why, why is your kid smoking potpourri!?? Now the parents want it banned….you know for the safety of the kids. WTF. People you can’t legislate stupidity. My potpourri satchel is for refreshing my drawers not smoking. So frustrating. No wonder our government is so messed up….they waste valuable time dealing with crap like this. Now excuse me while I return to the now moment. Where things are good and stupid do not reign.
Flashback photos from 2011….same girl…..different time
So recently I’ve been rolling with someone who is rolling sober. (side note: his is being sober for a year) Right now this is a thing, I guess. Every time I turn around someone is sober, getting sober or sober curious (wait are those technically all the same?). I’ve always been a you do you kinda person, because I’m gonna be in my lane doing me.
In a show of solidarity and the fact I’ll try anything I tried out some NA(non alcoholic) beer. You’ve heard of this, of course, beer flavor no booze. I have to say it wasn’t bad, even though some of them forgot to add the beer flavor part. Drinking beer(s) and not even feeling buzzed is strange. It’s like when you only put 2 cheeses in the 3 cheese macaroni dish, it’s still good but something is missing.
Long story long, I like cheese and I want all the cheese. So I am not the NA target market. Seriously I toyed with the idea of some NA wine but I just couldn’t. Yeah nope. Well that’s not totally true. Been trying to get my hands on some of that cannabis infused wine (as I understand it they have to take out the alcohol to add the THC). Hmmm, ok.
Luckily my “cip” has a mind of his own and his sobriety has nothing to do with me, whew. So I’m off to get some candy and a box a wine for tonight’s festivities. Now…..what pairs well with snickers?
After a challenge, trip, adventure or experience I get home and take a deep breath. Then I say to myself (sometimes out aloud) whew, I did it….and didn’t die!
Although I step out of my comfort zone on the regular, it’s a monumental task for my inner me every-time. I’m not big on labels but I suppose you call me an extroverted introvert. I live for going places, trying new things and meeting people. But it is seriously exhausting mentally and emotionally.
Usually the first thing I’ll do when I get somewhere is find an escape spot where I can go and reset. In Fiji it was down a little cliff then across the river to a sand bar. A couple times I had to scramble to beat the rain. No I idea how I’d get back up if that cliff turned to mud.
What can I say, it’s how I cope and keep from killing people (kidding..sorta).
Anyway, for those of you wondering I’m back in Tahoe! The welcome back was a wake up call.
from this to …………………………………to this
So I will be posting about Fiji soon….but first I have to find my coat!
Second leg of my super road trip I rolled out of Michigan and blew through Indiana and Illinois. That’s about where I hit I-80. I-80 westbound would take me all the way to Tahoe. I’ve driven this stretch of road Michigan to Colorado so many times now I truly think I could do it with my eyes closed! I lived in Iowa for about 20 years. I always look forward to going back. A lot of growing up, for me, happened there and many friends were made. As always I didn’t get to see every one I would have liked to. But I got to see some old friends and their adorable little guy!
Driving through the windmills of western Iowa my mind linged on the days I biked those rolling hills. Ah, the fly over states. After living in the densely populated west coast I longed for the open space of the Midwest and the comfort of a small town.
Since I was rolling north through Colorado I just had to stop at New Belgium Brewery (Ft. Collins). Have you been there!! Next time you’re in the area stop for the tour. The tour guides (and beer) make it real fun. I lost my wallet hurrying to catch the tour, the people who found it were trying to contact me before I finished the tour! Thank goodness. New Belgium…..Good People….Great Beer.
After lunch and a chilly stroll around Ft Collins (man it was 79 degrees when I left Iowa) I was westbound again. By the time I hit Wyoming it was sleeting.
Nothing but good things to say about Wyoming. In 2006 I hunted a buffalo there. Considered moving to Chugwater when they were giving away land and hiking the Basin was a joy. Oh and they have wild horses, what a sight to see! I had planned on camping/hiking a few days in WY. However the cold rain and digital highway signs warned of a storm coming. So on I went.
Next stop Salt Lake City……wait hold up Park City, I see you…got to come back to this cute town to ski. Spent the next miles plotting a winter ski resort road trip. How fun would that be! A quick stop to stretch my legs and check out Temple Square.
With reports of fresh snow falling in Tahoe I pushed on from Salt Lake City. It was a good choice…….got back just in time to get in one last powder day!! Not a bad end to a road trip.
Recently I did a 5000ish mile cross cross road trip. Nothing was really planned except getting home for Mothers Day to see my mom in Michigan. I left Tahoe and headed south. What, out of the way, nope. Had a quick stop and Mammoth to hit the slopes. Plus, I needed to stop in to San Diego re connect with some friends and grab some summer gear from my storage unit. It was great having brunch with my peeps, Coleen and Mike host a kickin waffle brunch in their sweet yard! Thanks Kassy for girl chat, a place to crash and providing much needed kitty time!
After San Diego, fully loaded, Q (my suv’s name) and I headed out across the desert towards Las Vegas. I car camped most of the way, I had the back sleeping pad set up. I really like camping on BLM spots, if not I slip into a truck stop or quietly slide into a hotel parking lot. The route through Utah and Colorado is a really beautiful drive. Massive red stone formations in the Valley of Fire and Moab! I really need a specific trip to Utah and stop stealing moments on my way else where. Found Vail pass closed for safety concerns so I slept in Avon. If I had been a week earlier I could have got some skiing in but most of the areas were already closed for the season.
There rest of the way to Michigan was a dark blur. I got news outside of Denver that my uncle had passed so getting home meant driving through the night. I’ll miss my uncle Frank he was quite the character loud and could always lift the mood when family got too serious. He never questioned my crazy life, just sent me side money through Western Union! Old school. Frank dude you will be missed…..see ya on the other side!
To be honest it wasn’t all blue bird powder days. Some days were truly tough, but I made through those days partly due to my co workers. They drove me crazy, made me laugh and taught me many things.
I officially made it through my winter season as a lift operator at Squaw Valley/Alpine Meadows! It was an epic season indeed. With record snowfall, over 500 inches of total snowfall this season. There were times I truly believed it would never stop snowing. So much back aching shoveling but also some of the best ski conditions I have ever experienced.
There is so much that goes into running the resort. Everyone doing their part; lifties, ski patrol, mountain host, groomers, maintenance just to name a few. Some how we pulled it off day after day, in the best and toughest conditions. So much goes into making the mountain safe and ready to shred.
Thank you Alpine Meadows 2018-2019 crew for reminding not to take life to seriously, that I’m better than I think, and take a breath enjoy the view everything is going to be alright. Now I gotta see about some new sticks before my next adventure……….
“Skiing is expensive, but it’s cheaper than therapy”.
So I made it a week at the new gig. What gig? Well, I’m a lift operator (aka liftie) at Alpine Meadows. Its something I’ve wanted to do for many years and finally got around to.
You can ski?
Yes. I’ve been skiing since the 4th grade, at Mt. Holly in Michigan. Over the years I’ve learned and enjoyed skiing with friends in Minnesota, Colorado and California. I even gave snowboarding a try, once. Working at a ski resort is a wonderful opportunity to learn and get better.
Isn’t it cold?
Yes and sorta. It’s been snowing (Yeah) and the temps when I get to work can be in in the 20’s, but you hardly notice it when you start setting up for the day. Plus I got a sweet North Face winter uniform that is pretty toasty. Later in the week the sun actually came out and it was warm enough take off layers. Plus an breath taking sun dog hung over the mountain.
Great views all around!
What do you do all day?
I’m up early and after a quick locker room stop, on the mountain by 7:30 am. We have to set up fences, signs and be ready for guest by 9 am. It’s a lot of trudging through the snow carrying stuff (aka my morning workout). One day I worked the magic carpet (a moving surface lift that transports skiers and snowboarders on the ground as they are moved uphill). Watching the kids and adults go from fearful to confident under the watchful eye of parents or instructors was so exciting! The rest of the day I get to feel snow on my face, gaze at the sun on the snow capped peaks and engage with people who’ve come out to enjoy the snow, not a bad gig.
View of the lake from house
Alpine Meadows Morning
What’s the living situation?
Thanks to employee housing I live conveniently close to the mountain, with 5 roommates from Florida, Georgia, Washington and California. We have a nice place with a view of Lake Tahoe. Tahoe City has the small town feel and slower pace of life that I enjoy. Alpine Meadows (where I work) is the laid back side of Squaw with great trails.
All in all it’s been a interestingly fun week. I’ve done some skiing but mostly I’ve been focusing on learning all the things first. Like I’ve never worn a helmet but not only is it required but like everybody wears on here. Each lift has a different set up to learn, things to be aware of and safety procedures. It’s a fun learning process with co workers that very helpful in showing my the ropes.
Planning to be “in winter” is kinda like planning for a 5 month thru hike, you know similar, but different. There is training, I’ve been dragging my butt to the gym pretty consistently (except for that one time). Gotta get those legs and core. I’m not a fan of squats and I’ve even done those. Liver training is admittedly lacking but maybe it’s similar to muscle memory!
Packing, is me spreading things all over the floor, looking at them and then deciding I’ll deal with it later. This could be a problem later, as I’m not going ultra light. I need snow gear, hiking gear, a NYE outfit (ya never know), oh and a tiny Christmas tree!! Screw it PACK ALL THE THINGS!!
Mentally I’ve been psyching myself up by doing a snow dance while listening to Pearl Jam (and not packing). Oh and watching ski movies for giggles. Have you seen the movie Frozen, not that one, the other one? Or Ski Patrol (1990) they just don’t make movies like that anymore. Plus a Warren Miller video or two “because if you don’t do it this year, you’ll only be older when you do“!
Know how much I want to go Heli-skiing? That’s totally random I know…….I’m just throwing it out there in the universe. Cuz ya never know…..heck who knew I’d walk to Canada!
With the end of the hiking approaching, seeing pictures of hikers completing their hikes I have been reflecting on my own experiences. Looking at old PCT pictures and getting all teary. Maybe it’s just all the Pearl Jam and Martin Sexton I’ve been listening to that brought on all the feels.
I got a lot going on in my little corner of the world currently, don’t we all huh. The currents are shifting and as usually I am just gonna ride it out. Over the last 3 or so years figuring out “what to do next’ has been easy…another trail of course! The choice was easy as I was comfortable there or at least familiar. But if growth starts outside our comfort zone…I got to mix it up a bit right?
Bears, rattlesnakes, heck even bold squirrels are not as scary, to me, as stepping into a new adventure. There are so many unknowns, but thus is life, mine anyway.
So, I’ve decided to take a position in Tahoe for the winter! (i had to go back and change that period to and exclamation point) Been saying for years ‘I’m gonna ski more’ so what a better way than- total immersion! It’s gonna be hard, cold AF, new people, new experiences, new places I have never been. I’m not even sure where I will be living or with who? The uncertainty is exciting and scary all at once. On the upside I am looking forward to taking a swing a snowboarding (again), checking out that Rim to Rim trail (in snowshoes probably) and whatever else they got going up that way! Look at me getting out my head and my own way. This should be interesting. What you got going on this winter? Get outside!!!!