Not to sound cocky, but it's rare that I don't catch people skinning in front of me. I figured when I arrived at the 'bou this morning, and saw an old beat up hatchback, that I'd make quick work of the fool and get first tracks. But alas, no. I skinned along at a nice consistent pace, with Stella in tow, through the chilled cold and sparkling landscape, but never caught the mystery skier in front of me. Followed the track – along with one coyote track – past the mine, up the first part and then saw that the skier diverged to the south. I figured they were taking the easier track up, but when I reached prayer flag hill, I saw something impressive. A lone skin track, an aesthetic route,winding up over timberline to the south, and then perfect S-turns down an untracked mini-bowl on the side of the mountain. It was a beautiful sight to behold, artwork on the mountain if you will, and I felt a little clumsy with my own mundane effort to the usual spot. The skiing was fine – blissful in fact – but I got the feeling that there was something unique to that skin track to the south. And that the person who laid it down was indeed a unique individual.
Reading up on the blogs tonight, I found this more true than I knew. Or maybe I did know it subconciously, and that's why I didn't opt to follow. Some wounds heal slowly, and some may never heal, but it was good to be on the same mountain side with a person who at one point in time was probably my best friend.