Have you ever run into someone after a number of years and been totally surprised? You know, they have either gained or lost a ton of weight. Or they look hella old, or instead of being a boozehound they are clean cut and professional?
When you see someone every day, the changes are gradual and you may not notice at all. If you are an oblivious guy (like me) you may not even notice radical changes. Shoot, at the Holy P, I was the only guy, I started listening for the ladies I worked with to say something like “LOVE the new hair!” I scored many a brownie point commenting after hearing this. (Monica totally caught on and called me out on it! I owned it! I call it survival of the fittest, NOT cheating)
But when you haven’t seen someone for years, the change can stop you dead in your tracks. That’s what happened to me last night, but NOT because of a person.
The snow is finally falling in the mountains here! This means we are finally able to go snow shoeing. We both have owned shoes forever, and have talked about going each and every year. Saturday is the day!
OK! Time to go out and grab the gear we need!
A little back ground first. As you know, I have named myself Mountainstroh. This is because for many many years I was hiking and making attempts to climb mountains. In 1995, when I first went to Camp Muir (10,000 ft up on Mt Rainier) I looked like this.
I was in glorified tennis shoes (we called them street hikers back then) and my back pack, plus much of the gear inside (except for the bowling ball (yes bowling ball)) was borrowed. Shoot I think I may have been wearing cotton socks (cotton kills!)
As the years went on, and I attempted more and more things, my gear grew. By the time I was on the Talkeetna glacier,
I had improved the quality and amount of gear enough that I did NOT have to rent or borrow anything for my last attempt on Rainier in 2007. Back then I could outfit an entire scout troop if I had to!
So I climbed up into the loft of the shed to gather what we needed… And then it hit me. WOW how the mighty have fallen….
I found my boots and snow shoes easy! They were right where I left them, but then it started going downhill. My gear was spread out all over the loft and there was very little of it left. I’d be lucky to find what I needed to go sledding, let alone take on a montain.
No, there wasn’t a break in…this was all my fault. Well mine and a couple of kids. The Mathmajor took up hiking and overnight camping last year. So I am down a backpack, sleeping pads sleeping bags and tent. But that’s ok, as they are getting use.
However, I can’t count how many coats and sets of gloves I now do NOT have after loaning them to both Mathmajor and Manchild. Somehow they’d get left somewhere after school. Yep gone.
Then, because I have been lazy, it was hard to find the matches of things that WERE there. (I am not Finally found 2 sets of matching gaiters (keeps the snow out of your boots) my warm hat and 2 pairs of gloves, warm pants and fleece tops as well.
It just made me sad for a bit. I really had no plans to try Rainier again, but seeing it that way is like watching Top Gun, and then seeing what Val Kilmer (Ice Man) looks like now. I still have a killer mountain parka, crampons, Ice Axe, great back pack, climbing harness and an entire collection of carabineers of different sizes plus my double insulated plastic boots.
I will also finally attack the loft (once it is not raining and I can spread stuff out outside) and gather the remaining items to see exactly what I have. But, bottom line, Mountainstroh won’t be seeing things like this anytime in the near future.