Thursday, December 8, 2016

Last rites.

While it takes more than 2 months to transition from the first chilly mornings to those that are crisp to the ones that are just plain frozen, because the afternoons are so delightful that period of time can seem at once endless and way too brief: last week we rode in shorts and sleeves, last night I rode with multiple layers and finished with frozen beard syndrome.

Impending winter.

As the calendar year comes to an end, so do many of the things we like to do when we aren't doing the things we need to do.

Like poking noses and lenses into interesting flora,

or having daylight for an after-work chunk session,

or being able to float without ice forming on the paddle.

The thing I miss the most in winter is traction -- being able to climb walls while looking ahead, instead of holding breath and waiting for the slip.

It'll only be a few months until the next one, but I can't help but to look back wistfully at the last grassy campsite we had, sleeping on inches thick duff, 

only to wake in the AM, paddle big water, then start looking for the next one.

Some campsites are easily rejected. 

I love winter riding -- love the contrast from what we do the rest of the year, how the places we gravitate to are so varied and specific.  And like any rational human, I miss the places we get to fleetingly embrace in non-winter months.

No coincidence that these places are largely devoid of humanity, comprised mostly of rough, colorful rock, and usually present tremendous views.

Jeny pines for trees all summer long.  I don't notice 'em as much until the leaves are colored and almost gone.  

Winter riding tends to put us deep inland, into the trees and onto lakes, away from rims and ridges, rivers and edges.  I try to pay special heed to these on the last few rides before snow.  

note Greg riding the rim trail, lower right, in the pic above.


We've had 2 or 3 snows already this year.  The first few, after a day or so, looked like the pic below: accumulation in the distance, but nothing underfoot.

The last one came with still colder temps, and has thusly stuck around in the shadows and on northern exposures.  You wouldn't think that a light skiff could change things so much, but it does.  Tires are often if not always coated, and snow + rubber does not stick to cold rock.

That, and the fact that there is always moisture present in the air (when snow is on the ground) means that the brilliant, impossibly blue skies that we cherish don't come around as often.  More likely to be gray with scud or maybe white with overcast.

I know, I know -- cry me a river.

Not so much complaining about where we are, as humming a love song for the times and places of the season just past.

Next?  Embracing winter on bike, afoot, and occasionally even in boats.

Thanks for checkin' in.

1 comment:

  1. Embracing memories and embracing what's to come. Nice perspective!