Monday, February 7, 2011

Most Memorable Outdoor Moments

I spent some time recently thinking about my favorite moments outdoors. Funny, when I finally pulled together all these memories I discovered they weren’t about the biggest summits, longest treks, or glorious wins- although some are- most are about those tiny moments of freedom, pure exhaustion, or ridiculousness… So what about you? What are your favorite moments outside?

Crossing the Pemi

Racing to the shower station in a thunderstorm
At the tail end of my bike touring trip through Maine, we arrived late to our campsite in Acadia National Park. We were tired, hungry, and in desperate need of a shower, but with a huge thunderstorm pulling in the ½ mile bike ride to the shower station was starting to look daunting. Three of us braved the ride and decided it required us to go fast- really fast. So in a moment you probably would not share with your mother- we rode our bikes against 30+ mph winds, torrential rain, and giant- HUGE- puddles to take a freaking shower. It was stupid, but really fun.

First Rappell
As some of my long time readers may recall, I started my passion for the outdoors by attending Boy Scout camp as a kid. We didn’t just do archery at this camp either. Weeks were spent backpacking through the White Mountains, paddling through large lake systems, and pedaling down- or mainly up- old logging roads. My first rappell was terrifying and involved a lot of shaking and debating. Eventually I lifted off and trusted the rope, myself, and my belaying partner. I’ve been chasing down this incredible high ever since.

First Winter Camping Trip
My first winter camping trip was with the Boy Scouts in the Whites. Mt Madison. Freakin’ freezing night. Woke up the next morning completely shocked- I was alive! I didn’t freeze to death overnight.

My first mountain bike race win
After placing second and third race after race, I was hungry for a first place. As I started to learn about my strengths and weaknesses in racing I determined my best chance for a win required a particular type of course. The fast double track courses left me gasping for air. I just wasn’t fit enough to spin the big ring with the roadsters turned mountain bikers. I needed a course with lots of technical terrain to reach my goal. I also discovered that my slow starts (I take thirty minutes- easy- to get truly warmed up biking) were impacting my placing. On the start of the race a massive thunderstorm had come through and I was determined to get under the cover of the trees rather than standing in a field on a metal lightening rod called my bike. Needless to say- I got my strong start and since the course was the technical stuff of dreams I also took home my first and only win.

My many attempts to hike the Wapack Trail in one day
One winter I was determined to hike the Wapack in one day. This 21 mile trail is long- but not particularly steep and with the snow- I figured less negotiating pesky rocks that are strewn about this trail. Well let’s just say it took me three, maybe four times to successfully trek this trail in a day. But that’s another story.

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