I have always wanted to ski late in the year during a big snow year. 2017 was that year. It is a truly amazing experience to hike up and ski off the top of a mountain in 70 degree weather. The sun bright and hot. The snow hard but not yet slushy in the morning.
We made our way up to the top of this undisclosed mountain along the Pacific Crest Trail. A mile in we ran into a group of six hikers with packs. As usual custom along hiking trails we stopped and drank some water and chatted a bit. These were six people hiking the PCT all the way from Mexico to Canada. They had all started out doing the hike solo but formed a group over time. One person from Oregon. Another from Albuquerque. Another from Israel and another from New York. I asked them if they could let me know one of their most essential tools in their pack. Something they value most of all and could not do without. They first said what all people who backpack say. “Just too much shit. You do not need much in the end.” Then they stood and pondered and then one of the older hikers said, “You pack your fears. If you are afraid of being thirsty, you carry too much water. If you fear hunger, you pack too much food. If you are afraid of being cold, you pack too many clothes.” Some heavy trail knowledge – just in the nick of time.
“You pack your fears. If you are afraid of being thirsty, you carry too much water. If you fear hunger, you pack too much food. If you are afraid of being cold, you pack too many clothes.”
We kept heading up the mountain. At times using skins and skis. At other times hiking straight up. We made it to the top and ate lunch. The top of the mountain is a unusual place. Life was exploding with bugs, birds, rodents, birds and butterflies. 9100 feet. At one point a tiger swallowtail butterfly cruises by and you have to wonder what she is doing at the top of the world.
Here are some photos from that magical day.
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