We all need a break from the water now and again, and recently profiled SA Sailor Chick of the Week Jen Edney has been busy this winter taking her ‘relaxing’ break from sailing (while climbing a snow-and-ice-covered 13,000-foot peak). She’ll be back on the water aboard Dragon for the Miami to Havana Race in March (as will our own Senior Editor), but until then, enjoy this landbound piece from the Red Mountains of Southern Colorado. Keep an eye on Jen’s latest photos like the one above over on Instagram.
I wake up in the darkness. The sun has not yet risen and the world is almost silent. I hear the fire crackling as the smell of coffee drifts up to the loft where I’ve been sleeping. I climb down the ladder to greet the new day, trading in my sea legs for ski legs. Grabbing a cup of coffee and my big Patagonia puffy down jacket, I head outside to breathe in the fresh mountain air. I Inhale. I exhale. I close my eyes.
Step, breath. Step, breath. Step, breath. Five women stepping in sync with our guide, silence beyond the crunching of the snow underfoot. The pace is brisk; beads of sweat are starting to form under my beanie. I’m breathing hard and my mind is focused. It’s a magnificent winter wonderland out here. The mountains surround me, and I get a similar feeling to when I am on a boat offshore with only blue water and the horizon as far as the eye can see. I try to remind myself to lift my head, look around and take in the scenery as we head towards the summit of McMillan, about 12,805 ft, our goal for today.
The past two days have been a buildup to the big climb, with some serious class time, field work, safety lessons… but not devoid of entertainment, laughter and heartfelt moments. Our guide, Karen Bockel, an AMGA Certified Rock and Certified Ski Guide—also described as an “Extraordinary Baddass”—expressed her love of manual labor in the form of chopping wood and digging snow pits, always with that big grin on her face. Her love for the mountains came through with everything she said and did, and her energy set the tone for the rest of us.
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