My word for 2019 is “courage.”
Today I got to put it to the test. And here I am, writing a blog post, so you know it didn’t turn out too badly.
It started this morning when I got in the car to drive to Whitewater. The intention: Evening Ridge and the Whaleback from the steep side.
The first darn brave thing I did (in my opinion of course) was drive on snowy roads all the way to the trailhead – 1.5 hours. Yes, I know – people around here would do it with a coffee cup in one hand and a donut in the other while singing along to The Judds – but hey! This is me! This is the one flake of snow falls and I’m petrified person.
So I got there. And then I started up. I took careful note of the snow conditions and all seemed darn good. So up I went following what appeared to be a pretty fresh ski track. This was excellent news.
When I got to the saddle, I stopped for a quick snack. Five skiers passed me – we wished each other a happy day (did I mention sunny skies?) and I requested that they leave a nice track for me to follow. They said they’d do their best.
And they did. They left a lovely track until about 20 minutes before the Evening Ridge summit. And darn it. They took off their skins and shot down the hill.
Well then. I broke trail to the top. And because the snow was a bit crusty and fairly nicely consolidated, I didn’t break through far and putting in a new trail was fun. So this was good.
From the top I took the ridge down and then up to the Whaleback. And this is where my courage was tested. I took careful note of the cornices and tree wells. It’s a narrow ridge as you start up so I had to choose my route with care. The biggest issue was the wind – it had blown the entire upper slope into sharp snow ridges that practically required a damn ice axe!
I was scrambling up (yes, using my hands) and, because it was snow, sliding back down of course.
At least 4 or 5 times I considered turning around. How close was I to a cornice? I know I was near to the other steep downward side. But darnitall – I wanted the top. I knew how good I would feel if I saw it through.
And I did. I stood on the top, waiting for a break in the heavy wind to reel off a couple of photos. Then back down – so much easier. And finally, at about 1 p.m., a well-earned lunch on top of Evening Ridge in the shelter of trees.
I loved the day. I love that I tested myself and worked hard for the goal. Most of all, the beauty dazzled me. And being alone on the trip? I need that solo journey every now and then. It was a good day.