Sun was streaming into the bedroom when we woke up. Lil Mountain Ash threw the doors open and the breeze blew in. Together we stared at the wood pile, already cut and stacked for next winter. And it dawned on us: we are free.
For the first time since 2005 we’re entering spring with nothing to remodel. No plans to draw. No septic system to design. No walls to frame, electric lines to trench, siding to hang or windows to shim.
To celebrate we headed up to Ned to meet Josh and Dave for a quick backcountry tour. It’s the time of spring snow, consolidated and soft from sitting under the northbound sun. We’d abandoned the backcountry for too long. Used to be we spent a couple days each week in the National Park climbing or skiing. I’d forgotten the incredible pleasure of it. And the work. Holy shit.
Skinning up to 11,000 feet is like trying to blow up balloons with a steel band around your chest, all while keeping up with stronger friends. The four of us skied through sun, squalls, minor whiteouts. The roil of an impending storm turned the mountains gray. But here’s the thing: it’s a shared discomfort. And ultimately, a shared celebration. When you’re in the mountains with the right people you never feel like you’re pulling the load alone. People wait. They share. While you huff and struggle on some off-camber slope they’re silently attentive.
The mountains turn friends into families. It’s been years since I felt that. Not forgetting again.