The Hawk Special: pack up your bike the morning of, and jet out of work on it, headed straight for the Marin headlands. On the way, stop for the biggest burrito you know about and head into paradise. Once you're across the bridge, the golden hills beckon, the campsite a beacon nestled in the trees at the top of a big hill. Watch the sun set while you eat your burrito with friends, drink whiskey with your friends and sleep under the stars (or fog). Awake with the chirping birds, treasure the rising sun with your coffee, then bomb down the hill, cross back the bridge and go back to work.
I had the good fortune to get back to my old stomping grounds of the Pacific Northwest, and the better fortune to still have a great group of friends ready to get outside and see the world. With the winter winds a blowing and a generous amount of snow on the ground, the best thing to do was to strap on some skis and see where the took us.
Sometimes for a true vacation you need to get away from everything, even the things you love the most. With our plans to backpack The Lost Coast jolted at the last minute, my buddy Ari (a climber) and I found ourselves up in Tahoe for a week with neither climbing gear nor bikes.
Aaron, like a true historian, is thorough and digs deep, rarely content for casual chit-chat and one word answers. He sparks the type of conversation that can make the two hour car ride to Guerneville seem to short. Luckily we had a day on the trail to come. We loaded up on citrus and hummus from the farmer's market; and bread and snacks from the pastry mecca that is Wildflower Bakery in Occidental and made for the redwoods.
I went three years without touching ski to snow - the longest period of the time since the four of five years that passed between my birth and the first time I laid eyes on the endless expanse of white that I'd learn to love as a winter wonderland.
The fourth of July may be about barbeques and beer but its also about the thread that runs through all of America; liberty. Liberty is well fueled by the three Bs of course (barbeques, beer and bikes) and what better place to indulge than the great outdoors. With a cabin in the family, Tahoe was undoubtedly the destination.
"Come to Yosemite tomorrow," Ari suggests. There's no need to think about it, no need to second guess, no need to plan. The time for a good adventure is now, it is always. Yosemite is one of my favorite places on Earth, I'd be hard pressed to turn away from a weekend in such a sublime temple of granite walls and momentous trees.
When you're living the good life, a lot of good opportunities can be thrown your way, and for some sad reason, you can't have them all. Last weekend I had to choose between some sweet social occasions and reunions, or a mountain bike extravaganza in the national forest outside of Santa Barbara. It was a head scratcher, but adventure called. Actually, it screamed. I've been working in the city now, and at times it is claustrophobic. I needed an escape.
The prospect seemed legitimate enough. Wake up early. Snowshoe up a steep hill through deep powder to a small valley on Mazama ridge to the SE of Mt. Rainier. Deep powder meaning the 8 feet of new snow from the last week. Sweet. Better that than the rain we'd been hounded with all week down in Tacoma.