Sunday, April 21, 2013

No. 5: Go Cross Country Skiing

Without a doubt, this was one of the funnest before thirty experiences we have had to date.  Jennive and I have been cross country skiing before, so this was nothing new.  The true point of our list isn't to do thirty new things we've never done before, though many of them are.  It is simply a list of experiences we want to have with each other before we turn thirty.  Some of our experiences we had before creating the list were so good, we wanted to relive them again.

Jennive and I were both introduced to cross country skiing as children.  We don't own skis, so we aren't professionals by any means, but we aren't novices either.  I would classify our collective experience as intermediate.  For this before thirty experience, we selected Harriman State Park in eastern Idaho as our destination.

The day was mostly clear, though a bit cold for March.  We started off slow on a trail following the Henrys Fork of the Snake River.  We stopped often taking pictures, talking, and relaxing.  We followed the river for a short distance and then broke off to the main trail.  The trails were all pre-groomed; so we just set our skis in the tracks and shuffled our feet.  We went as far north as the Railroad Ranch before heading back.  It wasn't a far or difficult distance.  It was just right!

There was a little bit of wildlife out and about.  We saw several trumpeter swans in the river and flying overhead.  There were also geese and ducks out on the water.  We saw a few fox and muskrat tracks down by the river.  Incidentally we didn't see any wolves, which is a good thing, because forgot my miniature glass bottles and tape at home...!

In all we were out on the trail for a little more than two hours.  Our time together was well spent.  We enjoyed breathing the fresh air and hearing the silence of nothing.  I am a big fan of the Idaho State song.  In it is a perfect description of how I feel each time we visit: "the majestic forest where nature abounds...where ideals can be realized...a legacy we'll always prize".  The beauty of this remote area of the world is surreal.  I am grateful to have experienced the majesty of this landscape every day growing up.

Post Script: As a child, I was fortunate to live four houses away from my grandparents.  I have many many memories of my Grandpa Hawkes.  We did so much together.  Among my favorite experiences is cross country skiing into The Place.  The Place was what grandpa called an area of land he owned hidden among the dry farms in southeastern Idaho near the Teton Mountain Range.  The old wood skis we used weren't anything special.  They were kind of a crude introductory compared to the clamor of equipment available at stores now.  But it wasn't about the skis, or even skiing for that matter.  Looking back, it was about the time we spent together.  Grandpa taught me so much about life on those short trips.  A few years ago Jennive and I were invited to go dog sledding with him.  We went and created one of our fonder memories of time we spent together.  Below is a photo of Grandpa Hawkes, my uncle, and his son dog sledding with grandpa.

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