snow Tag

It’s funny, how people are wired differently.

I walked into my local coffee shop, and the barista greeted me with “So, where are you going to next? It’s about that time for you to be off again, isn’t it?”

…I think you know you’re wired for a life of adventure when even the guy who makes your coffee sees it.

Which, in a really roundabout way, reminded me that I never got around to writing about the Mt Blanc adventure… and while I will get around to a proper recap one of these days, this will have to tie you over. :)

I will say there’s nothing quite like it – especially the final day: waking up at an un-Godly hour, still half-asleep, eating the most expensive bread for breakfast, walking out into the pitch dark, freezing morning, and seeing the zig-zagging trail of headlamps that resembled ants on an ant-hill, leading the way to the summit. So quiet. So beautiful.

While I think we all struggled with mental battles of our own, we trudged on. It was a repetitious one foot in front of the other. Steady breathing.

It’s interesting, before I left, a friend told me a quote by Sir Edmund Hillary (of Everest fame) – “It is not the mountain we conquer, but ourselves.” And as cheesy as it sounds, I suppose it’s actually quite befitting.

We weren’t setting out to break a record or be the fastest (I actually have no idea what our final time was) or climb it to achieve some level-up in adventure status. It was always about our personal desire to achieve something, and by reaching the summit, we conquered our goal, saw the months of early-morning runs and hours spent training pay off. We proved to ourselves it was possible and had an amazing adventure along the way.

And that’s exactly what I love about adventure. We aren’t pros or Alpine legends – we’re real people embracing the opportunity to step out of our comfort zone and do something kind of epic.

  

I think the cold got to us a bit at Zion.

Maybe camping in below-freezing weather with a fireball-spitting heater does something to the brain… I don’t know. Regardless, we took advantage of the side effects of the frigid weather, and had an immense amount of fun at the expense of the giant icicles that had formed on the walls along the trail we hiked. Icicle walruses – how could we resist, really? (There were also icicle unicorns and wolverine re-enactments… so many possibilities!)

Zion in the winter seems like a completely different place. Bright blue skies were replaced with a constant threat of snow and instead of people everywhere you turn, I think we saw a total of maybe a dozen others. So silent. Yet somehow in its emptiness, the stark contrast of the giant red walls and the bright white of the snow combine to make it stunning in its own way. It’s an almost eerie kind of beauty.

The night we arrived there was a full moon – the crazy bright kind that casts scarily definitive shadows at 2am. It’s such a strange thing to look up and see the mountains almost as bright as the stars. So, despite it being quite a bit below freezing, we stocked up on tea and I took another crack at star trails. There were some interesting results with the gorgeously odd lighting, but I think my favourite part was how the longer we sat in the dark, the brighter the stars seemed to shine – I love how that works!

  

Somewhat begrudgingly we decided climbing was out of the picture since everything was coated in a layer of snow or ice (or both), so instead we planned to conquer a surely stunning sunrise hike…for which we overslept and missed sunrise. Oops. Even so, the view was still beautiful! It even started snowing just as we were getting to the top, which was pretty stunning!

From there, we slid back down the trail, raced the snow-storm out of Zion, and headed onwards to the Grand Canyon…