Saturday, December 31, 2011

So Goes 2011...

     I don't do so well with goodbyes. I like to make them as short and sweet as possible. But how do you say goodbye to an entire year? How do you sum up such an ending? An entire day of adventures of course!
     After a long week of work, I woke up early to meet two co-workers, Shawn & David, for my first lesson in racquetball. Even though Shawn schooled me again and again on the court this is one sport that I will def be going back to play more of. The best part? You can scream all the obscenities in the world as your running around like a maniac trying to hit or avoid being hit
     I "forced" my friend Shane to eat Unagi (broiled eel) earlier this week so my payback was eating bugs at an Entomophagy lecture during one of the many activities for First Night Missoula.
     Next we were off to a laser lights & science show put on in one of the underground lecture halls at U of M. The show was put on solely using 4 green pen laser lights and mirrors glued to cloth on embroidery hoops then mounted on speakers. As the speakers play music they vibrate the mirrors and produce a laser show synced with the music. Near the end of this, they passed out glasses that refracted light to add to the dizzying effects of the light show.
     Word had gotten out to Shane that I have never, in all my 25 years of life, consumed a McDonald's Big Mac. This was "un-American" in his eyes. A wrong that needed to be righted. So before our next set of adventures, we took off to McDonald's, which was very much an adventure unto itself.

     The mall was putting on fencing lessons, but before was a taekwando demonstration. They overran their time limit, making us unable to do the fencing lessons, but this group was still pretty comical and fun to watch.

     Twelve foot horns from the Alps (someone will have to help me w/ the name on this one) & a bag-piping group rounded out the afternoon.

      After a quick shower and some primping, I was whisked off to dinner reservations.

      The rest of the night is a blur of champagne, dancing, good food, & great conversation. 2011 started w/ a bang in New York City, took me through some awesome places, brought some amazing people into my life as some sadly left it, but in the end, I wouldn't change a second of it.
 See you in 2012...

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Willoughby Environmental Education Area

     I had the grandest of plans for hiking today. Get up early & head into the backcountry for a 5 mile hike to an alpine lake that is supposedly one of supreme beauty. I've been mentally preparing myself for this hike all week, knowing that the recent snowfall would not be of any danger, but would make the going slow for Bosco & I.
     So we took off this morning, but things didn't exactly go as planned. As we wound higher and higher along the forest service road the snow became deeper than I had anticipated. We got w/in about 2 miles of the trailhead parking lot & had to turn around. It wasn't a completely wasted trip as this was my view along most of my drive up the mountain side.

     Not wanting to waste a decent day for hiking, I pulled out my hiking book & turned to the next hike in it. We drove across the valley to the Sapphire Mountains & set our sights on the Willoughby Environmental Education Area. This 40-acre reserve has a trail that passes through 3 distinct habitats: dry sagebrush on a plateau, timbered slopes, & a riparian valley bottom.

     On thing I did not expect was the beautiful view of the Bitterroot Mountains across the valley as the sun was starting to set.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Bear Creek Trail to Bear Creek Falls

     I've never been in an auto accident before, but when I woke up this morning I imagined that this is what it would feel like to be in one. My entire body ached from the havoc I put on it while dog sledding yesterday. I wanted nothing more than to alternate lying in bed and sitting in the hot tub all day. But as I lay wrapped up in blankets a furry reminder sat his head on the bed that he hadn't been out for a good hike all week.

     When I talk to my [insane] running friend, Andrew, about how he is able to run the miles he is he simply tells me "that the body will do whatever the mind tells it to until it simply cannot." So despite the ache in my muscles, my mind tells my body that today would be a great day for a run. Bosco has been very patient w/ me working full time and taking a full course load of classes this semester. So I pick up my hiking book & flip to my next hike.

     An hour drive later I find myself in a snowy parking lot. A well defined path is nestled itself between the forest & Bear Creek & Bosco & I take off down the trail, alternating between running and scrambling when the path becomes too icy for fast movement.

     Only a mile and a half down the trail cascading pools turn into a small, but beautiful ice covered waterfall. I couldn't think of a better way to spend a Sunday. I sat on a ledge overlooking the water flow beneath me thinking about all the things I have to be grateful for in life and, as the year 2011 comes to a close, what I want to improve on in my life in the year to come.