There were simply too many people.
I had woken up early, hoping to hit the slopes before the crowds moved in, but unfortunately, other families had similar ideas. The snow was a granulated mush, making snowboarding more vexing than usual. Bald patches of earth peeked through, and after a couple hours, the snow had taken on a dirty-brown tint.
I was frustrated. In my opinion, enjoying nature goes hand in hand with getting-away-from-it-all, a nearly impossible task in the Northern Virginia area. I tried to enjoy the sunshine and crisp air as I made one last run down the mountain, avoiding fallen children and gangs of college kids.
For Christmas, I unwrapped a can of bear spray – a pleasant reminder that I have much more of the country to explore and many more parks to discover. For those of you who aren’t entirely bear-literate, here’s an important fact: American bears (commonly referred to as black bears) are much less aggressive than their grizzly bear cousins. So far, I haven’t ventured too far into grizzly territory, but during the second part of my trip, I know I need to be prepared.
And that means it’s time to start planning, yes? I ordered a 2017 calendar online today, ready to map my route, figure out the order, and determine which adventures I want to have.
Of course, I’ll have to leave room for some surprises!