Not making eye contact with him I grabbed my backpack off the backseat slipping my snowshoes under the straps. I locked my car and headed off across the road without looking back.
Well, at least not until I reached the top of the first hill. I turned to look down at the parking lot hoping he would have moved on only to see the lone, most likely bored officer staring back at me through binoculars.
It seemed clear that one of us was doubting my abilities- but it probably wasn't him.
I pressed on out of his sight over the ridge to where the Powderbird helicopter was cutting through the sky like a flying lawnmower running heliskiers deep into the backcountry.
It had been over 2 years since I have had cause to use them. I was anticipating having to learn all over again. Feeling the bruised ego of the first day out on the edge of the New Hampshire woods where in borrowed boots and borrowed winter clothing BC taught me to snowshoe.
As it turns out snowshoeing is just like riding a bike. Which I'm not so good at either. For the same reason too, I tend not to pay attention to what I am doing.
So I moved along the ridge trying my best not to face-plant every time I managed to trip myself.
Out on top, it was beautiful. Like walking on the ceiling. The mountains standing like the peaks of a frozen crown.
I learned a few things too.
Moose tracks are deeper than you might think they are. They also tend to lead to moose.
If for some reason you choose to kneel down while wearing snowshoes- you're basically fucked.
Stepping through a snowdrift is called post-holing but stepping through a waist deep snowdrift and getting a snowshoe trapped in a tangle of scrub oaks is called a situation.
But when you reach a point where all the other tracks stop and you are still moving on. No matter how small or personal, when the only path up the mountain is yours it is hard to be humble.
On the treck back the ridge line stretched out like the spine of a white dragon. I had turned my left ankle enough times I felt like one more might do it in so I focused on my rhythm.
I put everything I am & everything I am not aside to concentrate on walking solo. One foot in front of the other. It felt so smooth, so easy it was almost like skiing.
And then what had looked like an impossible distance to recover rolled into the final ridge overlooking the parking lot... where my car sat alone. No one was waiting for me. No one wondering. No one else doubting or believing. Just me, never here, never gone, never missed.
Over in Big Cottonwood Canyon, a heliskier was caught in an avalanche. With the help of Canyon Rescue he survived.
Beyond the wall of doubt is silence. To understand the force of what lies beyond silence must be the reason man created god.