It's been 20 days since my last post, which I realize is the source of great disappointment to some and complete indifference to others, but I have a reasonably good excuse. On February 13 I headed to Canada for a repeat of last year's hut trip and didn't return until the 23rd. It's taken me all week to re-acclimate, plus it hasn't gone unnoticed that interest in cross country skiing falls off precipitously about the middle of February every year. My first post of the year generated 250 views while my last post has about 65. Local races are over, the ski trails parking lot is nearly empty during the week and I strongly suspect that some of you slackers are playing golf, God forbid.
So, anyway, I was compelled to jump in the Subaru with Steve and Chris for the almost 1800 mile round trip pilgrimage to Dezaiko Lodge north of Prince George, B.C. You can learn a lot about people while being held hostage in a compact SUV over the course of four days and what I learned is that Steve seriously needs to work on his border crossing techniques. To wit: to avoid an ass chewing from the border guard it is best to have your passport ready when you arrive at the window, even if there are no cars in front of or behind you. Second, when the guard inquires about firearms, the first word out of your mouth should NEVER be "uuuhhhh". And third, know how to operate the car's electric windows for chrissake. When the guard requests that you roll down the rear window it is bad form to randomly push inoperative buttons while muttering under your breath "jeez, that seems like the right one, huh, maybe there's some sort of lock" as your spouse takes over communicating with the guard who is growing ever more skeptical by the second.
A hut trip provides a prime opportunity to work on social skills in a cramped space over the course of a week. Little skills like learning to play well with others, sharing, not farting whenever the spirit moves you, keeping your sweaty, stinking feet off the coffee table, and not giving utterance to every random thought that enters your mind. To my surprise and dismay, it turns out that other people have something called "feelings" and they generally resent having those tender things stepped on in random fashion. It's hard enough to comply with social conventions on an occasional basis, but seven days in a row is a true challenge. My best guess is I earned a score of "Mike is trying, but needs improvement", but won't know until this fall when invitations to return are handed out, or not.
The biggest reason for going is the potential for untracked, endless powder. Last year we were hosed in a big way when the wind started howling on the third night and crusted over nearly everything with the exception of a few random tree shots. This year the tables were turned and we were greeted with bottomless powder that persisted through the first three days before it started to firm up a little and get a slightly windblown in some places. Overall, though, conditions ranged from good to excellent and the week was the stuff of dreams.