Sunday, April 13, 2014

Sand, snow, and lots of pictures!

For the first time this year I didn't come home at all during the World Cup season.  I stayed in Europe from the beginning of November through World Cup Finals.  It was a long winter with lots of excitement, plenty of highs and new experiences, and some disappointments too so by the end of March I was tired both physically and mentally.  The Olympic season was incredible but the energy and focus preparing for the Games was exhausting and I needed a break.  Time for April vacation!  I was happy to leave my skis behind and Elsa and I headed south to Arizona for some desert time.  It was a classic Sargent sisters vacation which means lots of activity, nonstop action and adventuring and not much relaxing but still exactly what I needed.  The change of scenery and quality time with Elsa was refreshing and despite packing in two or three different hikes and bike rides every day, I felt more energized and recovered with each time.

Sisters trip!  Thanks Els for a a great trip!
The red rocks of Sedona were incredible!

Sedona is famous for vortexes or places where energy connects from the Earth.  I dragged Elsa out on a couple different hikes to vortex locations and was eager to feel the blast of energy but unfortunately it was a little less intense than I imagined.  
Fun to get back on the bike and my butt was pretty sore after over four hours of riding our first day
Can you spot me on the slick rock?
Our next stop was a two day backpacking trip down the Havasu canyon which is on the edge of the Grand Canyon
We hiked 10 miles into the town of Supai, a Native American village which is the most remote village in the lower 48. 
Then we continued down the trail to a series of incredible waterfalls.  Havasupai means blue green waters and that was exactly what we found
No thanks! Hiking to the last waterfall involved a scary ladder down a rock face and my fear of heights got to me and I chickened out.
From there we continued on to the Grand Canyon and camped on the South Rim.  We wanted to camp at the bottom of the canyon but we were too late applying for a permit.  So instead we headed out for a one day hike from the Rim to the canyon floor and back up again, 16miles and over 10,000ft of the elevation change.  The Park Service strongly suggested against our plan posting warnings stating "You will persish."
It was fun to look down below and see the trail ahead.
Oooh aahhh
Amazing colors!
We quickly made it down to the Colorado River on the steep South Kaibab trail
My favorite cactus
Elsa set a fast pace hiking out and including snack and lunch breaks and countless photo opps, we were back up to the rim of the Canyon in under 6 hours.  I guess we didn't need to pack the headlamps.

From Arizona, I flew home which was travelling back to winter since there is still lots of snow on the ground in Vermont's Northeast Kingdom.  At first I just enjoyed relaxing at home and had sworn I was absolutely done with skiing.  But when the first day of decent snow conditions arrived, my love of skiing shone through and I was hurriedly scraping my skis.

April 12th skiing at the Craftsbury Outdoor Center!
Look at those tracks
The field at the top of Ruthie's Run
I'm sure there will be a few more dirt spots after this recent wave of warm spring weather but there will still be skiing in Craftsbury for a long time to come!
I ditched the skinny skis for some metal edges one day and went on a backcountry tour with my parents. We had a really fun tour skiing on the crust and then through the spring corn as the spring sun warmed the snow. 
My dad has skied almost 70 days this year and he's still going.  He led the pace and charged up the hills. 

Happy Spring!