Oh man, where do I even start? So many adventures have happened in the last 3 weeks, so I’ll let the photos do most of the talking. If a picture tells a thousand words, you’re going to have a novel on your hands very soon. But if I can get a few words in around them? I’d tell you that after a recovery week in Stratton, Annie Pokorny took me on some awesome adventures, I flew to Canmore for the wedding of a great friend of mine, and then I flew back east for some good hard training and living with my teammates again. I’ve also started to perfect the art of the 30-minute, pack-your-life-into-a-bag game, and life as a professional nomad on the road is still as entertaining and exciting as ever.
When I first got back from Norway, I was a little jet-lagged and kept waking up too early. I am not a good morning person, but when it feels like mid-day it gets a little easier to get up at 6am and like it. I’m a little embarrassed to say that for the first time this summer I got up early enough to watch the sun rise and it was surprisingly nice to just sit out on the deck with myself, my coffee, and the bumble bees.
For my birthday present, Annie P gave me the gift of adventure, in two parts. The first was waking up early and driving down to Lake Champlain to meet the SMS juniors, who had been camping. We sat on the beach and played games, then rented kayaks and paddled out!
It was pretty windy and choppy, and the whitecaps were coming right into the kayak! They were 2-person rentals, so they took on a lot of water but my kayak buddy Pippin was a boss and did a great job keeping us out of trouble. After lunch in Burlington Annie drove us home, and it was a really fun car ride back.
After a few training days we packed up again and drove over to the White Mountains in New Hampshire, where Annie had some friends working the Greenleaf hut and we had been invited to crash for the night.
To be perfectly honest with you…IT. WAS. AWESOME. I loved everything about this two day trip we did, and wish it could have been longer. When we walked into the hut, it was a blur of color, sound and smells as “the croo” (that’s what they call the hut workers) were singing snatches of song while whisking out plates of piping hot food to the hikers. They were also dressed in crazy mismatched costumes, because that’s what they do on a Saturday. Obviously. The food was delicious, and I decided right away that I loved the hut people and I would be able to fit in with this crowd.
The Croo also had a great sense of humor, and I kept finding little things around the hut that made me smile. The prayer flags strung across the kitchen were actually made from different colored granola boxes. Everything in the attic where Annie and I slept was marked FLEA, an anagram of leaf and how the workers identified their stuff within the hut system. The pantry was creatively labeled, with raisins, slivered almonds and granola in opaque jars respectively labeled as “humiliated grapes”, “repeatedly stabbed almonds” and “that thing you’ve probably never heard of”.
The next morning was so relaxing. The regular guests sat inside having their hot breakfast, while Annie and I snuck outside with a pitcher of coffee. We sat out on the deck, checking out the ridge line of Lafayette Mountain and planning our hike/run of the day. When it was time to go we stashed the pack at the hut and took off running for the next 3 hours.
It got foggy up on top of the mountain but cleared up later, as we descended into a zone that was accurately described by a hut guy as fairyland.
After we got back to the hut, we said goodbye to the croo, grabbed our pack and hiked back out. I don’t have great awareness and foresight in terms of things like hiking boots, so there were a few slippery moments coming back down the rocks. It kept me on my toes.
Once we got close to the car, we unanimously and instantly agreed that no self-respecting cafe would let us in for lunch unless we dunked ourselves in the stream first to clean the mud off. It was so cold, but I’m glad we did because it made the car ride back much, much better.
After that hike back down and running over the mountain rocks, I didn’t know it right away but we absolutely destroyed our legs. I was so sore the next 3 days that walking up the stairs was extremely difficult…but walking down them? Forget about it. I would stand at the top of the stairs, deciding if it was worth it and making sure there was nothing upstairs I needed before going to my room because no way was I going down those things again.
Don’t worry, I’m not always that lazy. I got better and had an awesome week of training with the SMS team. We had a lot of guests with us that week which was really fun! In fact, we still have a lot of guest athletes with us now. Guys from the Dartmouth team came to visit, Kelsey Phinney is with us for a few weeks, Kyle Bratrud has been living and training with us for almost a month, and the Sun Valley team came this week to train before going to the Lake Placid, NY camp with us. Interval sessions have been these awesome hammer-fests and distance sessions are more fun with more people.
But wait! It gets better. My good friend Chandra Crawford got married to her fiancé Jared Poplawski this last weekend, and I went to Canmore for the wedding. I’ve been lucky enough to know Chandra for a few years and in addition to being an amazing role model for girls across North America (I include myself in this group that is in awe of Chandra) she’s a rocking guitar player, great dancer, good listener and storyteller and a wonderful training partner. So getting to be at her wedding and see how happy she and Jared were made me happy, too!
It was also a good chance to catch up with some skier friends that I haven’t seen in a long time. I stayed with the Hewitt family, who was very kind in letting me use their guest bedroom for the weekend, and got to explore around town a little bit while I was there.
The wedding was beautiful and incredibly fun. We danced up a storm and it was a night I won’t easily forget!
And then? Back to Stratton! It was hard to leave Canmore after such a short stay but I know I’ll be back there before the end of the season…skiers can’t seem to stay away from that town. The day I came back to Stratton we had this awesome community pizza party fundraiser for the SMST2 team. It was such a wonderful night – thank you to all who came! What a great opportunity to connect with the community here, chef up some creative pizzas and listen to Andy, Erika and Andy’s Dad’s band play some rocking tunes.
We each designed our own pizzas, but as it turned out Paddy, Coach Pat and I all made up the same one! I was originally calling mine the “New-to-Vermonter” and Paddy called his “Home-grown”…so we met in the middle and called it the “New” Englander. And if you don’t get that play on words I’m sorry, but you’ll have to wonder about that one for the rest of your life. It was a maple syrup base, with sliced apples, cabot cheddar, bacon and spinach, and it was 100% delicious. But designing the pizza was the easy part…Ben and Annie H. volunteered to take on the massive task of prep work and pizza making, and they were chopping up ingredients for 9 hours! HUGE applause to them, please. Thank you.
Which brings us to now, where we’re busy training twice a day, every day. In the words of Taylor Swift, “can’t stop, won’t stop moving”.