Monday, December 10, 2012


The absence of articles in the last four months is a result of the extreme fun I have been preoccupied with.  Now that I'm settled in for the winter, I can finally take a second to reflect and break it down.

After a very chill and isolated, yet extremely pleasant summer in the high country of Colorado, I made my way out to the Tahoe area to work at the fall edition of the Stanford Sierra Conference Center…again.  Aside from the excellent working conditions I mentioned in an article after my last stint there, the place, is a perfect opportunity to elongate summer in high country.

While, I find the high Rockies quite suiting for most of my intents and purposes, it really only boasts two usable seasons:  winter and summer.  Fall, at two miles high, is non-existent.  Sure, the aspens turn gold and then loose their leaves, but that process usually takes about four days and can happen in early September.  The Sierras, on the other hand, offers it’s consistent and predictable dry summer conditions well into October.  I took full advantage. 

End of "very chill and isolated, yet extremely pleasant" time.  
For a change of scenery, I headed to the Tahoe area three weeks prior to beginning work.  For the first time in five years, I returned to and spent most of that time at one of my favorite campgrounds not far from Truckee.  Three, blissful weeks were filled with reacquainting myself with the trails, where I originally started mountain running and biking, and finding new spots to park the van and access the goods. 

Fully-charged, I made my way to the south end of the big blue lake and then to the south end of the little blue lake, where I spent the next two months in full-on, non-stop, go-mode. 

Maybe it is the shortness of the season, the endless opportunities for mountain recreation, the perfect weather and/or the abundance of like-minded co-workers, but for me, camp, is not conducive to sleep.  While I have recognized that I no longer suffer from FOMO (fear of missing out) tendencies, still 4-5 hours of sleep a night was usually all I could fit in.  This despite the fact or maybe because of the fact, that I am a non-participatory member of the party scene out there.
Last and coldest swim of the season.
This fall marked my third season at this special place and my experiences improve each crack at it.  Possibly from my lack of full-time employment in the last year, but I found my shifts to be legitimately fun.  I could hardly detect a difference in my attitude on or off the clock.  Very special relationships were developed.  Some of which were with bad ass partners, with whom, I would swim (in the lake), mountain bike, or climb the chute (a magical crack in the earth, serving as a natural staircase up the mountain that looms over camp) at any available opportunity.  The short time frame and the large group of co-workers equates to the fact that I was really just getting to know people up until the final moments. 

The Chute...a full-body endeavor.
 The short season came to an abrupt end, but the fun did not stop when the conference season did.  For the second year in a row, I joined a group of co-workers on a pilgrimage to Big Sur when we finished.  Just as the Sierras were getting pounded with snow, we escaped to mild weather for a week of camping on the rugged central coast of California.  This was incredibly chill, finally allowing  me to catch up on sleep and cook for myself, which was valuable in getting ready for what is next.  The spectacular sunsets served as the main source of entertainment and photo opportunities each day. 

Big Sur-ness
I left Big Sur, new favorite person in tow, and made my way through Arizona and New Mexico (a small taste of areas I have yet to explore) to Denver, where I spent Thanksgiving with my fantastically-fun extended family.  After a week in Denver, I headed up to Crested Butte, Colorado, where I am employed for the winter.  I spent a week here in my van deciding where to live and managed to move into a place in Gunnison (30 miles south of Crested Butte and connected by a free bus) the day before my job started and sub-zero temperatures and snow arrived.  Last week, I squeezed in a few sweet runs and rides in an awesome network of trails, just outside of Gunnison, pre-snow.  As of today, I’ve had two days of orientation for my position as a lift operator and have taken a few mellow runs on my snowboard. 

As it continues to dump outside, I am taking advantage of my day off to relax, before I resume the full-on, non-stop, go-mode, that I have a feeling I am going to be sustaining for a long time to come.