Family Day at Tuckerman’s Ravine

May 13, 2011 at 6:34 am | Posted in attitudes | Leave a comment
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Yesterday I went up to Tuckerman’s Ravine on MT Washington with my three younger daughters.  To get there you need to hike with your skis and boots, water and food up to the base of the ravine.  It’s not a really hard climb till you get to the last .7 mile.  Then it is all rocks, snow, and ice.  But we were all very comfortable on this hard spot.

On the way up, Jamie and Jeanee somehow found a couple of cute boys and up they went with them.  They had a great time chatting, which of course makes the trip that much more enjoyable and easy.

Jilly and I were a bit slower, but not by much.  I told Jilly a very long and detailed version of The Little Blue Engine That Could.  I really love telling these kinds of stories while hiking.

This was Jamie’s first real physical adventure since her ACL reconstruction operation last January.  She had her physical therapist’s OK.  She was very strong and actually less tired or stiff than others at the end of the day. (Maybe because she wasn’t allowed to carry anything??? Or because she was actually that strong????- I have to say I think the latter.)

Jeanee climbed up to the top of the left gully, past the choke.  She was the leader of a group of five.  She was amazing.  She just calmly went up- making it up there without any difficulty at all.  The gully had a few snow chutes.  This is where the top snow goes to make a stream of snow.  It’s actually a small, in control avalanche.  So the skiing up there is really tricky!  Jeanee came down with complete control and ease!  BOTH times.

My dog, Lyona, was with us.  She is a small bishon/shitzu mix dog who in the winter has a very thick, long coat of hair.  But she just had her spring shave on Monday so had to wear a sweater yesterday.  It was a nice contrast to see the little “Cutesy” dog running up the mountain just like a dog is supposed to do.  Anyway, she was following Jeanee up the left gully when a skier started down.  She jumped in the snow chute and slid ½ way down. You could see that she was laughing and wagging her tail.  Funny dog!

Jilly went up to the bottom of the rocks and had a good couple of turns from there.  She thought once was enough- not the skiing but the hiking up.

I went to the bottom of the rocks with Jilly.  I loved it.  But for some reason I had this fear take over me.  I skied across for a while and then finally had to make myself do this jump-start to get turning.  The snow and pitch were different than what I am used to but not so difficult that I needed to be afraid.

Then I went up a second time.  I was on my way up the left gully but decided I didn’t really want to go there.  So I climbed across the bowl just above a section of brush and below a section of rock outcrop.  It was an adventure in and of itself.  At one point there was a rushing stream under the snow.  So I had to figure out how to go across it without going deep through the snow.  Then at the end there just happened to be a small 8-foot cliff- and a crevice.  No easy jump off.  I did manage to find a way to hold onto the scrub and crab crawl out.  BUT one of my skis got away from me.

It fell in the crevice!

But ever resourceful as I am- I asked a tall man coming up if he could help me.  He was not exactly overjoyed with the idea, but felt a bit compelled.  Because of his length he was able to fish the ski out a bit so he could pull it out the rest of the way.

Again I had the same stop fear I had the first time.  And this time I knew the snow and pitch.  SO I stood there in the middle having a talk with myself.  Right out there in front of anyone- in particular my daughters.  I really had to ask myself why was I scared? Why was I holding myself back?  Had anything every happened to anyone I knew personally in Tuckerman’s?  Had I known plenty of people who had hurt themselves in very easy conditions?  I had this talk with myself for at a couple of hours- Maybe even the whole day. (In reality it was only a couple of minutes) I began to wonder about myself.  What was wrong with me anyway?  Why was I so scared?  And then I remembered my story to Jilly.  The Little Blue Engine That Could.  I had told this story to Jilly to give her entertainment and strength to get up the mountain and here I was – her 52-year-old mother who needed to listen to the moral of my particular version of the story.

My version the engine finally gets up and over the mountain using her attitude with her whole heart and soul, as well as everything she did to be prepared.

So I knew I was prepared.  I had the skills and strength.  All I needed was my attitude of heart and soul love for skiing.  Once I got myself figured out, I jumped off and had a great set of turns.

There is really something so special about Tuck’s.  The spring songbirds are tweeting away.  The air is soft and cool.  The other mountains are all green and lush.  The water is gushing all around- even waterfalls within the bowl.  It’s similar to glacier skiing but not exactly like it. It’s a very unique and special way to spend the day.

After that we began our descent.  We could ski about 1/3 down and walked after that.  At the bottom we stretched doing yoga.

At one point we were all unloading our packs and putting the skis in the cat when all of a sudden we couldn’t see where Lyona was.  I whistled.  Began to look around quickly when she looked up from the middle seat of the car where she had gone soundly to sleep.  She was saying, “Really more?  I LOVED it but now it time to sleep!”

Great day and, as always, great people we met on the way.

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