show me the way to go home

I’m tired & I wanna go to bed

I had a little drink about an hour ago and its gone right to my head

wherever I might roam, on land on see on foam, you can always hear me singing this song

show me the way to go home…

As I skinned my way up a mountain side along Rabbit Ears pass above Steamboat Springs this past Monday, this song flooded my mind. Sometimes, I think my grandfather checks in to remind me he’s still here. Somehow, in spirit, it may be in the backcountry or as as I’m driving along the many long and winding roads I travel, he’s here. And the moment the lyrics filled my mind – for no rhyme or reason – I knew I was in the right place.

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This past weekend I was a bit under the weather, but I was determined to get outside. I spent four long days racking up screen time and I was not about to give into a silly stomach bug when a 4-day weekend lay ahead of me. So I pushed back.

Friday: I cleaned. I cleaned this ancient old dirt-in-every-crack farmhouse until I couldn’t stand. It felt good, I felt refreshed. But I went to bed early…

Saturday: I skied. I felt heavy and achey as we climbed Lobo. But the skies were blue and the day was calling. We even stopped for Mexican food to sooth our tired legs. That, though, was the last straw. For the remainder of the night, I winced in pain, writhed in bed. If it wasn’t the bug, it was the excessive cheddar my body was rejecting.

Sunday: I woke with a mission – don’t let the night before get me down. I still felt sick. I felt foggy and uninspired by the heaviness of my head and body. I figured the only way to get out of it was a road trip. Moab? Toas? Steamboat by way of Denver.

I found that if I didn’t drive and I didn’t stand, I could enjoy myself. We started in the valley and traveled mountain roads hitting restaurants in search of something to ease my discomfort and thrift stores to score vintage Patagonia threads from Salida to Leadville and up over the last pass until we saw the city ahead of us. I popped enzyme pills and drank Jamaican-brewed ginger ale hoping the pain would subside. It came in waves at this point…

We made a quick stop downtown and I had an idea: hot & sour soup is a surefire way to kick any illness that’s got you down. I “googled” nearby Asian cuisine joints and found a hidden gem. With a comforted belly and clearer mind, I took the wheel for the final leg to Steamboat.

The amount of charismatic mega fauna was unreal! The drive from Silverthorne to the pass featured more deer, elk, and hare than anything I ever expected. It was a white knuckled drive to say the least.

Monday: It was as if the day was made just for us. No pain, no discomfort. I awoke inside my sleeping bag in the comfort of Chateau de Subaru craving coffee. My body had not craved anything in 3 days. Today was my day. While Sam ran the pups, I made the two of the most delicious and well-deserved mugs of Aeropress coffee. Steamy, bold, and just the right amount of kick to get us going – it was 7AM and we hit the trail before the hour ran out. We decided to skin in part way, ride the downhills, and adorn the skins one more time to attempt a south-facing slope.

An “attempt” is a good word to describe our descent. We pulled off the skins and Sam went first. What A Show! That guy can keep his balance, but after seeing him struggle (for the first time ever on telemark skis), I was quickly losing faith in myself and my ability to get down this slope vertically.

Short end to a long story: My face met with extensively crusty snow. But! Once I got my ski back on, the snow un-caked from my glasses, and myself upright, I enjoyed the final leg (relatively unscathed).

After some deliberation (not extensive, surprisingly), we decided the pups still had some energy (and my pride wasn’t too badly bruised) and it would be in everyone’s best interest to check out a nice looking east-facing slope. And that’s when it hit me: As I began skinning up yet another slope, I hear my grandfather’s whistled melody in the back of mind. Though the lyrics weren’t as literal in that moment, I sure did feel like I had to be drunk to be continuing on down this unknown path.

I belted the lyrics out loud and pushed on. And luckily so – the run we were about to take was pure butter. Joe knew it, and he knew I could push on to find out for myself. And what I found was worth every snowflake that crammed itself into my pores, teeth, and glasses thirty minutes before.

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The photos we took didn’t come out well. But the images I have in my mind are clear as day – a bluebird day of skiing in the Rockies. Can’t beat it. Thanks for pushing me on and giving me a melody to follow.

rY.


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