Finishing up the Ski Tour

January 2-3

The last two days of our New Year Ski tour we basked under blue skies.

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I watched the sunrise from our tarp for a good hour.

 

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Then chased the first traces sun…the snow was absolutely beautiful

 

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We skied around a bit.

 

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And enjoyed the stunning views.

 

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Taking a break with the best show on earth.

 

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How can I not kiss this man?

 

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The view from camp isn’t bad on the other side either.

 

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The hardest part of the whole trip was putting on cold ski boots.

 

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But all good things must come to an end.

 

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We skied out.

 

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And headed back towards Bend.

Beneath Broken Top

January 1, 2015

I can officially say I’m hiking the Continental Divide Trail THIS year!

For those that have had to wait years between thru-hikes, and for friends and family that have heard me go on and on about the CDT in 2015 know what a milestone that is. Three more months of work baby!

Back to the trip…last night we skied about three miles before veering off the main trail to make camp in a small clearing near Todd Lake. We opened one of our beers to toast the New Year (and also lessen the burden in what had become a regrettably heavy pack). For some reason I had grabbed my new Western Mountaineering Ultralight sleeping bag (20 degree) instead of my -20 degree bag, and though the temps hovered around the 20s, my feet were still cold throughout the night. It’s hard to sleep with cold feet. But inspiration struck and I put on the down booties I had packed. Much better.

In the morning we lingered over coffee before hitting the snow.

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The day was crystal clear.

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And we were lucky to follow tracks most of the way up Todd Ridge.

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Our lunch spot proved our first good glimpse of Broken Top.

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We made sure to fuel our bodies with the proper nutrition.

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And I had to rock the hikertrash hat!

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Unfortunately temps rose just over freezing and the sunny patches of snow started to get sticky.

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Madness! I stopped to scrape and wax about 10 times in the next hour or two.

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And we finally called it good in a sunny meadow with a magnificent view of Broken Top.

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And celebrated with another tasty brew.

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The snow up here was more wind blown and between the stashes of pow were thick icy layers.

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We set up our new Hyperlite mid and dug in a freaking awesome camp complete with snow sofa and table.

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Peak to peak.

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As the day came to a close we enjoyed a brilliant sunset.

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And as the light faded we kept busy with a rousing game of UNO.

 

A New Year…Starting 2015 by Sleeping on the Ground

December 31, 2014

Kirk and I had been watching the weather forecast. I had two weeks off of work and in addition to hibernating from the overwhelming pace of life I’ve gotten myself into lately, I wanted to spend some of it outside. When a few days of sun were expected around the new year, we decided to ski into the Broken Top area in the Three Sisters Wilderness (AKA our backyard).

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We both enjoy winter camping; I spent several winters working and camping outside when I first moved to Bend to work in wilderness therapy, so was no stranger to the extras needed to stay comfortable and warm when the temps are low. Kirk, well, Kirk is a hardy soul who doesn’t let things like cold keep him from the mountains. In other words, amazing!

Since he had to work a full day today, we planned on a night-time ski in. The moon is practically full so we probably won’t even need headlamps to ski. The fresh snow and cold temps from the most recent storm pretty much guaranteed great snow conditions for a tour, bring it!

My pile of stuff was growing. Shovel, probe, beacon, and skins, check. Extra layers, extra ground pad, cards, and the usual gear, check. Lots of goodies to bring in the new year: chocolate, beer, pumpkin cream cheese muffins, gummies, check.

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We didn’t make it to Dutchman Flat snow park until about 8pm, but we scored: a cloudless, starry sky and a glowing moon. Hefting both of our packs on in the parking lot, we moaned under the weight. Those extra beers and pumpkin cream cheese muffins didn’t sound like such a good idea anymore, but the moment passed and we headed off into the night.