So Monday night Eddie and I get nice and drunk, and meet this not-gay male couple from Dallas. We weren't sure what exactly was going on there, but we weren't about to ask. One was Irish and apparently married... but we just got a vibe. Interesting. Anyways, the other guy was an avid cyclist, so he and I talked tri's and crit's for a good hour or so, me getting progressively drunker. Finally, Eddie and I left, downed a bunch of vodka and Sprite at the hotel, and crashed out watching Role Models (classic cinema, in case you haven't caught it yet).
Tuesday was our first day to hit the slopes. I love traveling with other people who are independent like I am, because I hate having to feel guilty for wanting to do my own thing. Which I often want to do. Granted with Eddie I wouldn't have minded having him along for the snowshoeing because he's one of the few people I feel "gets" me and wouldn't be a bad hiking partner... but all the same, getting to go off by my own up the mountain was an amazing experience. That being said, the snowshoes looked a little intimidating to me at first!! Giant vinyl soles with big metal spikes on the bottom? Eek. Looked a little hardcore. I got a cursory explanation on what to do with them from the rental guy, but he was more concerned with the snowboard and ski renters so it was pretty much figure it out myself.
I managed to find the trail - Bull of the Woods - up towards Wheeler Peak, and proceeded to strap on the shoes. They looked complicated, but were actually easy enough to get on. Kind of like Chacos for the snow. Once I did get them on, though, I was definitely a little freaked out! Going uphill on the snow was a new experience for this Texan girl, and the first part of the trail was pretty dang steep! But wow, was it beautiful. There were little rivers and huge, beautiful fir trees all along the path, and the higher I went the thicker and cleaner the snow drifts got. No one else was out there - I understood why the ski instructor I talked to said I was "brave" for trying the snowshoeing thing out on my own. But it wasn't frightening, even though it isn't every day I scale the side of a mountain. It was just really peaceful and quiet and still and totally different from the vibe on the slope over with all the lifts. I made it about halfway up the trail that first day, and practiced a little bit with the "real" snowshoeing - venturing off the trail and out onto the drifts. It wore me out way more than expected. That night, Eddie and I found an amazing restaurant down near our hotel, and ate a huge dinner with good wine... then went back and crashed. Between the sun and the altitude and the exercise, we were done. Normally the two of us can talk for hours, but after the first night, we didn't do much talking on this trip.
Day two of snowshoeing was even more phenomenal. I made it to the top of trail, and the views were spectacular. I could have gone all day, if I hadn't known Eddie was waiting for me when he was done snowboarding. The weather was perfect - clear blue skies, 65 degrees, dry. And the snow kind of took all the sun and threw it back at you so everything was just bright and clean looking. By the time I was halfway up the slope, I'd stripped down to my base layer tank and sports bra and tied everything else to my pack. I got some solid tan lines that day.
I love hiking because it's good thinking time. When you're all alone with yourself and creation and you've got that great mental and spiritual focus that comes from physical exercise, you can really get some mental clarity. I'm always more peaceful when I'm out in the woods or on the trails by myself - it's like the part from that Lord Byron poem:
There is a pleasure in the pathless woods
A rapture in the lonely shore
There is society where none intrudes
But the deep sea and the ocean with it's roar
I love not man the less but Nature more
...Or something like that. It kept coming to me the whole time I was making my way up towards Wheeler Peak. It reminded me why I'll always have to live close to some place where I can be away from everybody. I didn't want to leave. I wanted to go back to the rental place and ask if they were hiring anyone to lead snowshoe tours. I could find a cheap apartment to stay in. Forget the MA. I'm tired of school.
Eddie and I fell asleep watching Fool's Gold that night. It was lazy and nice.
We wandered around town a little on Thursday morning and then hit the road. I'm tired of typing now so I'll gloss over the trip home. It was good. There's not many people I can spend ten hours in a car with.
I'm already ready to go back. Who wants to visit New Mexico this summer?