Saturday, December 13, 2008

Mountain Life

Hudson Bay Mountain, Smithers, B.C.

I grew up looking at this mountain. Our modest house on 15th Avenue in Smithers, B.C. had huge windows across it's back so that no matter where you were you could not escape seeing the mountain. I never appreciated it of course, I took for granted that I lived in a cozy little valley it never occurred to me that not everyone had a mountain with a glacier on it in their backyard. I left Smithers when I was 14 and eventually moved far away to LA. To get to the mountains from LA you had to drive a great distance. I did it a few times and always enjoyed it but it wasnt until I moved to Washington that I realized what mountains really meant to me. After my divorce in 2001 my neighbors took me skiing. It was one of these acts designed to regain my former self. I found myself feeling euphoric as I rode up in the chair looking at Shuksan rising behind me and seeing the deep valley below. The skiing itself was gruelly using my big quad muscles to hold myself up feeling that familiar burn as I turned down the hill. I felt like I was in my body doing something I had always done, it felt like home.

Driving up to Mark's the other day with a snow warning hanging over us I spied Mt Judge Howie to the north east of Abottsford. The Judge is sharp and juts up and is already covered in snow. Golden Ears next door is the same and as I look at them I can feel my excitement building. Winter is here and soon it will be time to head for Baker. Mark loves to ski too and now we are getting Pearl in on it too in a more serious way. She is physically more capable and mentally prepared for skiing now. We all get a bit giddy driving up there, it's a great family activity for us. Skiing on Sundays was what I did with my family growing up. I compare it to attending church, we did it with a similar religious fervor.

I have been checking the snow report and Baker is opening tomorrow. All hail the mountain for it is in our Canadian blood and we are drawn to it. And remember to keep your tips up just for good measure.

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