JoshuasTravels — my 16th and final winter break

my 16th and final winter break

Written by . Posted at 9:40 pm on January 3rd, 2007

I got back to Missouri two weeks ago. I should have sent this out a week and a half ago. I have no excuses, but I will say that my last semester is going really well, and I’ve been very busy in all the right ways. Without further adieu:

So here I sit, in the Amtrak waiting room at Kansas City. My train’s been delayed and won’t be here for another three hours, cruelly postponing the last leg of my journey. I must admit I’d rather have the last leg delayed than the first leg, but that doesn’t make it much easier. After two full aero-flights (both complete with screaming babies), an overnight stay at KC International, and the wicked realization that no matter where I sit down, I always seem to be seven feet away from a cell-phone-yapping middle-aged women who’ll carry on completely inane conversations just to pass the time. Not to communicate vital or even interesting information, but as a time-killer, and extreme annoyance.

I recognize that travel is an inherently social exercise, and I’m happy to partake in the worst humanity has to offer, but – after all this – I’m somehow ready to be back in Kirksville.

Anyway: my trip. Let’s start with Utah. It’s hard to believe that I finished up finals three weeks ago; it seems like ages ago. But I know I did, because I found myself in Salt Lake City, skiing at The Canyons, drinking at Squatters, and having a very good time with my very good friend Kelly Wikstrom.

If you’re in Utah (it’s said) you’re either a Mormon or a skier. I fit into the latter category, and had a blast tearing up and down ski slopes, roaming around Temple Square, eating the foods you can’t get in Kirksville, and drinking the micro brews you can’t order there, either.

All that was only first three days of my trip. Eighty-odd hours later, I strapped my ski boots to my backpack and boarded the last plane to Portland.

What, exactly, could I say about family that hasn’t already been said? It was great to home. It was great to see me madre, padre, and hermana (I don’t know the espanol for extended family, but them, too). It was great to see the lush greens of my home state, to smell the wet of the newly fallen rains, and so on.

I was, luckily, able to linkup with a few of my old compatriots and sample the hip Portland scene. Most of that is better explained through the linked pictures, although I will say that is was damn encouraging to see faces that I hadn’t seen for years – faces that I hope to see more of soon.

Ten days in the Beaver state and I’m proud to say I spent three of them doing that thing I do where I strap snow-planks to my feet. But this best story of the trip? Here it is. But first you’ll have to look at some of the pictures from spring break last year (the Illinois to Colorado trip), and notice the band aid on my face. That band aid was because of raw skin. The raw skin was because I was playing with matches, and wound up burning myself. In the face.

Up until now, that was the Dumbest Thing I’ve Ever Done. So here’s the deal: as we were leaving Timberline Ski Lodge, I volunteered to grab some of the equipment we Fentos left up towards the top of the lodge. The plan was the grab the gear, clip in, ski down to the waiting car, de-gear (it’s a really really bad idea to leave your ski coat on for the drive back), and take off. Easy right?

I got the gear, clipped in, and started to ski back. The low light levels were impairing my ability to see the car, though, and I stopped. After a minute of hard looking, I spotted it about thirty feet down slope of my current position. So I put ’em parallel and sped down. Somehow, between the sun going down and the exhaustion from a full day’s skiing, I judged the the difference between where the snow stopped and the road started to be – at most – a half foot drop.

A half foot? No problem, and I’ll just look that much more badass doing it with an armful of equipment over one shoulder. So I drop over the ledge, and I don’t land. And then I land. Hard. And go from a mostly vertical position to a mostly horizontal one, popping out of my binding and absorbing most of the impact with my little bit of my left shoulder and a lot of my face.

I let loose an immediate utterance, a popular anti-euphemism for what happens after you eat, caught my wind, worked my way into a kneeling position, and looked back to see that the ‘little half foot drop’ looked about six feet taller from my new perspective.

So, in conclusion: old dumbest thing? Matches in the face. New dumbest thing? A face-smashing low-speed jump into a drop taller than myself.

That seems like a perfectly good place to stop talking about the Oregon trip. A few days after the New Dumbest Thing, I flew back to Utah for some unfinished skiing. Very few people drink like non-Mormons in Salt Lake, and the New Years was a lot better than I expected. Every time we went out, really, was more fun than you’d expect.

But we went skiing more than we went out, and we hit up Snowbird, Solitude, Wolf Mountain (instead of PowMow, aka DerTain, aka Powder Mountain), and the always classy Deer Valley. The snow was always absolutely incredible and totally common to Utah, the people were chill as If You See Kay, and anything else I could possible say would only detract from the majesty of the pictures that were taken. I return to the Midwest with a slight ankle hurt, a tweaked spin, a serious sleep deficit and almost 200 new pictures.

Joshy Ski

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