Spring is the time for us competitive winter athletes to take a break from racing and training and recharge the body and spirit. Sometimes we take a short-term job to earn a little cash, or if we are lucky, we might get to travel somewhere summery and warm. Either way, it is important to distance ourselves from our sport.
April and May are wonderful months for watching the countryside evolve from snowy to brown to verdant green. The change begins in the lowest river valleys and slowly crawls, over the course of several weeks, to the highest ridges. I wandered between desert canyons, high mountain valleys, and everything in between. Every place I went was at a different stage.
In mid-April, I visited Escalante, Utah to explore canyons with some Outing Club buddies from college. Many flowers and buds were opening.
We snaked our way through narrow slot canyons.
Taking a break in a wider section of canyon (L to R: me, Kevin Miller, Phil Wagner and Jessie Griffen.)
One week later I was back to skiing. This time on Grand Mesa (western Colorado) with former Dartmouth teammate, Glenn Randall.
Watching spring come to Craftsbury was a treat as well.
Sometimes skiers will hike for hours to find a tiny patch of snow in October. I guess rowers feel that same excitement in the spring. A couple of days before Easter, Troy Howell (master of Craftsbury's boathouse), spend all afternoon clearing a hole in Great Hosmer's ice.
Craftsbury Village begins to turn green.
Canadian Geese seem especially abundant this year. This pair was perched on a beaver lodge in the Black River, just off of Sam's Run.
Hannah picking Fiddleheads (young Ostrich Ferns) for dinner. Fiddleheads have a slightly nutty flavor and are delicious served with butter, salt and a touch of garlic.
Wild Ramps are another yummy spring green with an onion flavor. Anna, Hannah and I picked a bunch for Sterling College's graduation dinner.
At the end of April, I took a temporary job working as a crew member at Dartmouth’s Moosilauke Ravine Lodge at the foot of Mt. Moosilauke in NH’s White Mountains. Originally built as a ski lodge in 1938 out of giant local timbers, this rustic establishment offers multi-course meals and rustic bunkhouses during non-winter months. Crew members take turns cooking, manning the desk, serving, dishing, doing repair projects, and generally whatever needs to be done.
The first week of work involved unpacking the Lodge from its winter hibernation. We scrubbed every surface imaginable, including this cabinet of spilled food coloring.
We also had to troubleshoot lots of broken things, such as our water line. The other spring crew members from L to R: Caitlin Johnson, manager Jessie Griffen, Max Bogrin, and Ben Page.
Last weekend I drove to Lake Placid for my first National Team training camp of the year, and I left Moosilauke feeling reenergized and inspired. I am very grateful I had the chance to spend some time at the Lodge immersed in a welcoming community of confident, competent and creative individuals. I also enjoyed seeking out lingering ski-able snow that was pock-marked by moose tracks, and early morning runs above treeline with an invigorating cold wind pelting ice against my cheeks. These sorts of experiences make me feel most alive.
an unfinished, in fact barely begun poem inspired the other “Lodglings”
(these are aspirations beyond the obvious biathlon-related goals)
I aim to be a problem solver;
A women of ideas;
A Ms. Fix-It who’s self-sufficient,
And takes on all her fears.
When people look me in the eye,
I hope that they will see,
A lively spark of joyish lark,
Just spilling out of me.
Enjoying a rare large crowd during the early season at the Lodge.
Day by day I watched Trout Lilies, some of spring's earliest flowers, burst into bloom along the Carriage Road trail.
Enjoying the view from Mt. Moosilauke. Don't let the bare summit fool you- below treeline, many trails held good snow well into May and the ski up was awesome.