“The real value of adventure rests in the journey.”
A recent ski trip to Tam McArthur Rim inspired this thought.
We snowmobiled to Three Creeks Lake; a destination that sits beneath a towering rim with thousands of lines just waiting to be skied. A true backcountry paradise in Central Oregon.
I set out on this adventure to backcountry ski in an amazing place, but knew there was a deeper meaning. There always is.
We arrived at the lake around 22:00 and I slammed my snowmobile into a steep snow drift only to get it stuck. I yelled some vulgar words of anger and frustration failing to enjoy the learning process. Getting your sled stuck is an inevitable experience, but right now? Fortunately, my sister was there to calm the storm and lend a hand. I learned a thing or two about getting un-stuck and accepted the fact that this is not the first nor the last time it will happen to me.
Lesson One: Look at each experience good and bad as an opportunity to learn something.
Our camp was set with a view of the lake and towering rim above. As we drifted off to sleep snow fell from the night's sky and temperatures dropped well below 20 fahrenheit.
We awoke the next morning to sunny skies, fresh snow and and lines just waiting to be skied. The first clear day after a multi-day storm. Good day to take it easy and tour the rim.
Our day ahead would prove to be long and challenging.
We ascended the rim in the late morning and as temperatures rose looked for a safe pitch to ski.
In the early afternoon we made a collective decision to tour the whole rim. In the hours that followed we were met with some of the most amazing views of the Three Sisters that I have ever experienced. Hours began ticking by and we both fell into a silent presence only found in the mountains.
Anticipation started to grow as we approached the final pitch of our ski tour. We spent time assessing the route below, how we would navigate to the top of our drop in point and checking our gear.
The turns that followed were more variable than almost any snow conditions I have ever experienced in one run, likely a result of sun baking parts of the slope all day. The final 500 yards of our run were filled with hoots and hollers as we flowed into our final trek out.
Lesson Two: Exercise will bring a meditative mind state to you.
Fatigue began to set in as we put our skins on and prepared for the final miles of our tour. I continued to remind myself that we were not back to camp yet and anything could happen.
Lesson Three: Stay conscious of the fact that most accidents happen on the way down.
Nothing would happen except a huge feeling of accomplishment as we towered the final ridge line that would drop back down to Three Creeks Lake. We spent the evening cooking a delicious camp meal of doctored soup and macaroni (that is such a thing) and sharing laughs about the days adventure.
Our final evening at the lake was cold. Real cold. The stars were nothing short of amazing, but we awoke the next morning knowing that our adventure in the high country was over.
Thursday morning we packed up camp and sledded out of the wilderness destined for Smith Rock. My Tam McArthur adventure brought so much gratitude and richness to life. I felt like my recent decisions have been moving me in the direction of my dreams and things just feel right.
As life continues to flow I am finding the more present we are, then the more open our mind is to learning new things that often sit right in front of us. Things that have the ability to change our lives in an instant.
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