Today, I took the opportunity for some of my favorite winter cross-training: skate skiing! Skate-skiing could quite possibly be my perfect sport, if only I were more coordinated. (It seems to require something which we ultrarunners frequently know little about: grace.) Skate skiing combines my favorite part of telemark skiing (a little gravity-aided speed in an amazing setting) with a favorite part of running (a serious aerobic workout).
This morning's adventure suffered from a few false starts, the worst of which had me arriving at Royal Gorge XC resort only to discover that I'd left my boots at home. Doh! I wasn't about to make the 20 minute drive again, so I headed home, grabbed my boots (which were sitting out on the driveway!) and headed to Tahoe Donner--a smaller resort, but closer to home, and with plenty of trails to satisfy a slightly out-of-shape runner such as myself.
I decided to make the trek up to Hawk's Peak, the highest point at the resort. After about ten minutes, I had left all of the tourists in the flats, and settled into the long, steady climb. There is little more brutal than skiing uphill, and I was quickly stripped down to my t-shirt, huffing and puffing. Up, up and up, the trail went. The sun shone brilliantly, and the snow sparkled blindingly back at me.
Eventually I reached the summit, and, as with most of my day, there wasn't a soul around. The wind up there was brisk, and I quickly donned my jacket while I took in the view. All the morning's frustrations with just getting my skis on and starting my workout completely melted away. I slowly, deliciously absorbed all of the 360-degrees of beauty before me, grinning ear to ear. I found myself wondering about the fact that so many people spend this morning indoors, in a house of worship. I don't mean to judge those who make that choice. Certainly not! It's just that, for me, if there is a god, then this is surely where she and I converse.
The trail climbs steadily upward.
Someone left a message for me at the side of the trail! It was a peaceful day, indeed.
In the distant background, you can see my destination: Hawk's Peak.
View from the summit: Anderson Ridge.
View from the summit.
Red-faced, tired and happy at the summit.