The above photo was taken from a windswept ridge line summit above U. S. Basin on Bobbie's birthday hike. We cross country skied to this exact spot once before 32 years ago, and it was etched in our collective memory as a beautiful, but grueling climb. But now, we are twice as old—or half as young, take your pick—and clumping our way on snowshoes, which don't exactly glide with the greatest of ease. Alas, no free rides down to the car on snowshoes. I'm sure a Life metaphor exists in there somewhere, but I'm too tired and sore to go looking for it.
We tried to reprise this trek last year, but ended up one basin over to the north. This time we adjusted our approach and lucked into U. S. Basin, a broad, steep-sided, sun-splashed snow bowl, with a distant horizon line that appeared far and away out of reach.
But this is Bobbie's birthday, and birthdays should be memorable—especially when it is a hallmark event like entering one's
|Saint Paul's backcountry ski lodge|
|U. S. Basin… heading for the saddle|
|On the windswept saddle… just shy of 13,000 feet… and looking south east toward Silverton|