Monday, January 30, 2006


A few days before the flight-instructor test, we took a little break from the studying and went for a snowshoe in the mountains. The all-study, no-gym approach these last few weeks left me gasping for air on gentle, rolling trail that alongside a mountain with relatively little elevation gain.

This was New Year's Eve, and the hike, along with heavy doses of Tanqueray and the Captain, helped me relax a great deal. The temperature was in the 50s up in the mountains -- this was near Keystone Ski Resort -- and I peeled off many layers only minutes into the hike.

The trail was probably less than two miles long in one direction. At the end, the trail just stopped in the snow before a vast clearing. (See picture). We debated the merits of pushing onward and blazing our own trail. Ericka said, "I don't know, maybe there's avalanches down here." I scoffed. "No, it would have to be much steeper for that to happen."

Decided we were too tired to explore further, we turned around. It was about this time a gentleman jogging on snowshoes approached. "You guys should be careful," he said. "There's a lot of avalanches on that clearing ahead. It can get pretty dangerous."

Spared an idiot's fate, we returned to our lodging for a night of free-flowing drinks at 9,000 feet. It was a great hiatus from studying, which incidentally kicks off again today. I'm going to start banging through the material for my instrument instructor's certificate. With any luck, it will take me about a quarter of the time the initial CFI studying did.

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