Elaine and I signed up for a two month intensive backcountry ski season preparation program and we did our first workout today. Ouch! That said, it feels good to be an athlete again, get that runners high, live exceptionally clean and go to bed with that relaxed feeling that only a great workout can provide.
We have an interesting phenomenon around here. I think there is a juvenile Golden Eagle living here that has been raised by a family of ravens. They seem to hang around together all the time, and I swear I saw a mother raven trying to feed the eagle. The eagle obviously flies very different from the ravens, and I get the feeling he or she will be leaving that family soon. While the ravens flap, the young eagle coasts through the air, abeit not with the confidence of an adult Golden.
Golden Eagles are amazing creatures – we saw a lot of them in Denali. Apparently they can see a mouse on the ground from a mile up. I remember one morning, before we slung on our packs, we saw a Golden overhead, circling. He flew in this pattern for awhile, and then, without a flick of the wings, started rising, scoping the land. And then, nearly out of sight, he suddenly veered from the rising circle, due west, straight towards ice covered Mt. McKinley. It was an incredible moment. Already this trip is fading into dreamland – so wild, quiet and beautiful a place it almost seems unreal.
Congrats to Elaine for completing her first ever "ski all 12 months" season. We went to Skyscraper Glacier and enjoyed a nice 800 vertical foot swath of corn snow. I suppose skiing in the high mountains is as close to eagles as we'll ever get.