Very Well Then

Contradicting myself, always contradicting myself

You’re My Favorite Thing – XC Skiing

Posted by verywellthen on November 12, 2008

When it rains here in Blue Heron Valley, it can sap one’s soul.  The clouds diffuse the already weak winter light, the wetness makes you shiver.   My strategy to stay sane in all of this is to think, if it’s raining down here, it’s snowing up there.

Up There is the Cascade Range.  Within a 90 minute drive of my house are several skiing areas.  Most winter weekends will find me heading that way for my favorite of all outdoor activities — cross-country skiing.  

I’ve downhilled.  I’ve snow-shoed (is that the present perfect tense verb of shoe?).  I’ve skate-skiied.  I’ll take an xc tour any time.  Workout, range, efficiency of snow travel, it’s adventure, fun, invigorating.  It’s also a fading sport.  Snow shoes have given a no-learning-curve option to snow exploration and few take the time to learn the basic skills of xc.  It’s not all that tough, but it takes a few outings to figure out a balance to at least trudge along.  I’ve been doing it over a decade and am hardly graceful — especially if you throw in some downhill.  

I take beginners up to the mountain as often as I can.   I endure the slipping and falling and the simplest of paths, so that others might engage in the sport.   I’m finding fewer takers.  

My one constant, never complaining companion is the Dog Electric.  She’s been amazing all these years doing double digit miles in deep snow without the benefit of skis.  She’s getting old enough that the hip pain sidelines her for days after a deep snow or long day.  If it’s both a long day and a deep snow, there can sometimes be trouble getting her home, and painful-just-to-watch gloom of seeing her try to get around the house the next day.  But I don’t want to stop taking her.  The joyful motions in the wayback of the WAYBAC machine when we hit snow line and the unbounded joy of her first hitting the snowpath means she loves it.  

I learned long ago that things to do that make my dog happy, make me happy.

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