I’m trying a different, humorous, writing style this time. What do you think? Drop a comment.
It was a crazy thought that came to me as I was falling asleep. “I bet I could go snowboarding tomorrow.” Now, in Utah this isn’t that crazy of a thought. Ski resorts are usually open starting around thanksgiving and close around memorial day or even longer. For example, you can tell someone’s legit if they have an “I flipped the bird on July 4” T-shirt. (The bird is this cool, secret name for Snowbird ski resort). But due to the current most threatening global emergency that is climate change (COVID-19 doesn’t count because the virus is allergic to snow. It makes their little virus tentacles swell up) a resort wasn’t an option for me on July 3.
So, I knew that in order to pull this off I was going to have to get high. I’m talking Kid Cudi, Up Up and Away. I packed up a few things before I could settle down enough to sleep. It’s hard to drift off when you’re afraid the dream giants will steal your ideas for themselves, so you have to make a reminder for yourself. You won’t think I’m crazy when I tell you it worked. I saw my full pack and totally remembered the wild idea I had to snowboard in July.
One of my biggest flaws is that I over-pack. Now, if everything had gone to plan, I would have been just fine. You see the plan was to get high by driving my car as far up the mountain as I could. Then get even higher by hiking. I hoped to see a glacier from the car so I would know which way to hike. Then, I could get there as the sun was going down which we all know is the best time of day to take snowboarding photos because the snow is melted just right for the sun to bounce off it and make rainbows in your photos. After a sweet photo session, I would set up camp in a hammock covered with a tarp near a small fire and eat the chicken breast, rice, beans and corn I had lugged up with me. Then after a spot of peppermint tea to fall asleep with, wake up before sunrise for more photography and snowboarding before packing out.
Now, that was the plan. If you can guess at which point it fell apart, I’ll send you a jar of skittles and if you can guess how many skittles are in the jar (if you cheat I’ll know) I’ll send you a bag of my favorite quinoa. Or, just let me finish my story. I successfully got high enough to see snow from my car. I parked and started working on tying my snowboard to my pack to make it easier to carry. It was at this point that I realized the pack weighed about 70 lbs. So, I went to the bathroom and did my best to dehydrate myself a little bit. With the excess weight shed, I started hiking. I’m not sure what made me happier, the thrill of what I was about to do or the looks of wonder and awe on the faces of the people I passed. This didn’t fade until I started to set up camp. This is when I realized the one critical thing that I hadn’t brought. Bug spray.
You see, bug spray is critical when starting a fire because it is a natural accelerator for the flames. Plus, then the smoke has fumes of repellent in it and that keeps the bugs away. Without the help of the bug spray, I was left to start a fire with just the lighter I had brought. It wouldn’t work even though I had just used it that morning. I was halfway through taking it apart to fix it when I realized that I have no clue how it worked and was being foolish because I had a jet boil. So, I made a small torch out of some dry grass I found and used the jet boil to start it on fire. I was eager to get the fire going because in the children’s book “Hatchet” the main character is viciously assaulted by mosquitoes until he figures out how to start a fire. This was my only hope for survival at this point as the bugs were finding their way into my mouth and biting my soft palettes.
Once I had proven that I could start a fire, I put it out so it wouldn’t burn the forest down while I hiked to get to my glacier. It was wonderful climbing 800 feet up unstable rocks with a much lighter pack. Now it was only 50 lbs since I had left much of my gear at camp. The glacier was small, but the emotions I found there were large. I played for a few hours and recorded myself with my trusty GoPro. You know what? Here, enjoy this video of myself playing on the snow.
This video was also intended to be a commercial for Ride snowboards, but they haven’t gotten back to me on licensing negotiations. I’ll update that here when it happens.
Having finished exploring, meeting new friends, and educating a puppy named Nova about snowboarders I packed up to return to camp. Once there, I realized that the bug situation hadn’t improved. It was worse. I quickly started a fire hoping it would bring some relief. If it did, I couldn’t tell because it started to rain. It was at this point that I realized I was alone and therefore was free to make my own decisions. I bravely decided to finish eating the food I had cooked and packed up and left. This is why I over-packed. I didn’t end up using 20 lbs of the gear I had struggled to bring with me. As I was driving home, this was all made worthwhile when I encountered the sunset below. I received it as a message from the snowboard Gods thanking me for worshiping them on a day when no one else in the whole world would.