I'm back folks! I hope you didn't miss me too much. To try and make my long absence up to you, I'm going to make this extra long entry about my trip to Whistler and Seattle. Okay, I imagine most of you can see though that and are thinking that I would have make this a long post no matter what, and you're right. You guys are just too smart for me. See how I smoothly worked in that complement to my reader base? Maybe I'm the smart one here...
It all started with a long-long flight to Seattle, or should I say a long flight to Dallas followed by a long flight to Seattle. Don't ask me what kind of crack smoking monkey schedules a flight from Boston to Seattle with a layover in Dallas. What I do know is that monkeys under the influence of illegal chemical substances should stop making flights. Anyways after those flights, Eric and I drove up through Vancouver to Whistler. When we finely got to Whistler after our 19 hours of travel we slept. Boy howdy did we sleep.
We all woke up early the next day with a pleasant surprise. Four inches of fresh new snow! We were stoked and headed up the hill. After a series of chairlifts we got up to the very top of Blackcomb Mountain. The new snow created some awesome powder at the top of the mountain that we were plowing through and then Eric went down... When he got back up he pulled off his glove and I saw what was the most swollen thumb I've ever seen. We stopped at the ski patrol and bandaged up his thumb and then got to the bottom of the mountain. Eric went to the doctor. Newy and I decided to go back up the mountain since there wasn't much else we could do for Eric. Up on the mountain we had great snow conditions. Late in the afternoon we came down the mountain and checked on Eric. The doctor said he had torn some muscles in his hand and he probably shouldn't do any more snowboarding this week.
On the second day, Eric decided he would stay around town and take some pictures. Newy and I decided we'd go up the mountain for some riding in the 18 inches of snow we got during the night. This snow without a doubt was the best snow I'd ever snowboarded in and I do mean in not on. There were times when I was up to my chest in powder. I'd go off a little jump and come down in a trough where the snow was built up and there would be an explosion of white. A second or two later I'd be able to see again. It was truly an amazing day of snowboarding. I didn't want it to end, but eventually my muscles stopped working properly and I had to call it a day.
That night we ate at the Blackcomb Pizza Grill. After a hard day of snowboarding anything tastes good, and wood baked pizza tastes heavenly. Later that night Eric and I were soaking my soar muscles in the outdoor hot tub with snow falling on our head. Eric decided he needed to get in on these sick snow conditions. That night we figured out a way we could protect his thumb from further damaged. That night like every night I was in Whistler, it snowed.
On the third day Eric, Newy, and I headed out to play in our 10 new inches of snow. The conditions were even sicker than the day before. I took what is probably my favorite run of my life this day. It was off the top of Blackcomb Mountain and I cut across some steep rocky slopes into some undisturbed powder in the glades. It was an exquisite run where I weaved between trees through waist deep powder all the way down to the bottom of the chair lift. Eric's hand was fine, but his feet started to hurt too much to continue snowboarding. Newy and I were exhausted from all the snowboarding and skiing we had been doing for the last three days so we called it a day around lunch. After lunch Newy had to leave to go and catch his flight. That afternoon Eric and I hit a few geocaches in the area which was a nice way to keep our legs stretched out. Later that day we were in the hot tub again and were talking to some of the locals. They claimed this week was getting the best snow you ever see in Whistler and that you get a week like this once every five years or so.
The next day was our last day to go out. Eric and I were both showing the wear of the past three days of snowboarding. Eric rented some skis so his feet wouldn't hurt so much. I was surprised at how good my muscles were doing, but I had some bruises on my legs were the top of my boots meet my legs that hurt a fair amount. I talked to some of the workers at a snowboard shop and they said it was probably because I had my boots too tight these last three days. I loosened up my boots so the bruising wouldn't get any worse. Eric and I headed out for our 5 new inches of powder. It was a great last day of boarding. We even got to save a man who fell off a cliff. Well sort of... What happened is he skied off the side of the trail and fell nearly 15 feet straight down. Some people on a nearby chairlift shouted that there was a man down. Eric and I joined the down guy's friend to help pull him out which we accomplished just before the ski patrol people got there. If he hadn't hit that tree he would have fell another 15 feet into a river and I imagine things would have been much worst, but thanks to that tree everything turned out fine.
After a full day of snowboarding / skiing we went to a nearby tubing park. On my first run I had them "give me all the spin you can muster". I was fairly impressed with the amount of spin they managed to get into the tube I was on. Good stuff. On the last run Eric and I raced. I started out with a much quicker start and was celebrating my victory about half way down the hill, but he somehow edged out a victory at the line by a few inches. I suspect he had a bit more momentum at the bottom. Next time I go tubing I'm going to fill my pockets with lead.
The next day (Thursday the 19th) we drove back to Seattle. There I met up one of my best friends from my sabbatical at Glacier National Park. I was super excited to see Emily again, and from the story she told me about what she had to go through to get to me she was also excited to see me. First off you need to realize Emily doesn't have the most reliable car in the world. It's an electric blue 76 Plymouth Valiant. Luckily it did start so she was able to start her odyssey to me. She was hoping for no rain since her car leaks, but the odds of that were slim since it's been rained in Seattle for the last 28 days. Not only did the rain gods not listen to Emily's wish, they laughed at her. Actually I imagine they laughed so hard they must have been crying because during her drive over was some of the hardest rain we had while I was in Seattle. Because of this she had to turn the wipers to high speed. Evidently this mode doesn't get tested too often on her Valiant because shortly there after her passenger side wiper blade went flying off. Being deterred by neither the waterfall in her car, nor the missing wiper blade Emily continued onward and eventually made it. After updating each other on the past year, we headed to out to Freeport and saw the sights. The highlights were a giant troll under a bridge eating an old VW bug, and a statue of Lenin brought over from Russia.
The next few days we did some hiking, exploring of Seattle, geocaching, and general hanging out. The whole vacation was a blast.
I'll be posting a link to many more pictures for this trip in a few more days when I get all of the pictures from everyone gathered together. I hope you enjoyed the reading!