2018. How did that work out for you?
Tell me about your best/favorite day this past year. Bonus points for an accompanying picture. Just one.
Ready, set, GO!
It was a group of days. I packed up my horse for a 6 day trek returning to a favorite secret spot along the continental divide. Didn't see another human the entire time.
I chose the weather well. I actually had my loaded packs waiting in the garage for a good weather forecast.
The first two days day we traveled about 8 miles (i had left the trailhead at 5 pm so had to make a spike camp on the way) from a campground to a high pass on the Idaho border, from about 6,500 to 10,000 feet elevation. We passed three shining alpine lakes along the way, and many waterfalls. The last mile was so steep, I had to grab my mare's mane to keep from falling backwards out of the saddle. After lunch atop the divide, the trail dropped another half mile to a lake at 9,200 feet. Here we made camp for the rest of the trip, riding out during the day and return to camp before dusk.
I'd have to say my favorite day of the trip--and the year--was our last day at the lake. It had been extremely cold and very windy (but no rain) until this last day, when it finally warmed up enough that I could take a (very short!) bath in the lake. The wind had calmed, and i spent a lovely hour drying myself in the sun beside the lake, watching the sun dance on the water.
Uncharacteristically, we didn't see as much wildlife as we had in years past. We heard and smelled elk, and there was plenty of old bear scat around, but no face to face encounters with mountain goats, marten, porcupine, or elk herds as in past years. It was the height of the rut, and the bull elk would start bulging at 3 pm each afternoon and go on until dark.
I rode out just ahead of a big winter storm. I rented a heated cabin with a hot shower in the valley with a corral attached for that first night out of the mountains, and in the morning the valley was fogged in and there were several inches of snow on the ground.
I can't tell you how satisfying it is to cheat winter like this. it always feels like I won a poker game with nature. Maybe that was the best day.
Here's a few pics if I can locate them... to follow....
I have been reflecting on this year..I feel tired and when I looked back I realized why...Just the first week of January had me with a gas leak on the 2nd, a blizzard on the 3rd and my Dad passing on the 6th.
Before I fractured my arm and after my Mom broke her hip, I did manage to squeeze in the most magical experience...A friend made a call to all her friends and we responded....The group gathered for a hiking trip in Switzerland.
Just being in the most beautiful space with lovely people, all of us dirty, sweaty, unfashionably dressed...It was the best..We had such a great time we have already booked our next trip for August, hiking the Dolomites in Northern Italy.
Oh, and Oldest got married!
Pique, that sounds idyllic and beautiful. Glad you had good weather for it. I’d love to see pictures.
Bee Lady, that group photo of you and your friends is great! You all look so happy. And the pic of your son and DIL is adorable. Looks like a good year.
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Last February. My son was off for the week, and Rachel couldn't get away, so just he and I went on a little holiday down to Florida. Yeah, we did touristy things like Nasa and Disney, but my favorite day was our first day there.
We landed in Orlando and went to the rental car agency where I let my son pick which car we'd get. He choose a bright green Kia, I think.
Then we drove about an hour east to the coast, and I took him to Merritt Island, the town I moved to when I was almost exactly his age.
I drove him to my old elementary school, and even pointed out the rooms in which I suffered through 4th and 5th grade. (Special suffering since school started in AUGUST and there was no AC then until you moved up to the 6th grade wing)
I then drove by my old Jr High and showed him where I stood to watch the very first space shuttle launch. (yeah, you could see it from the school yard. Not on the launch pad, but after it went up a little bit)
We then drove down towards the southern tip of the island and I showed him my old house, pointed out my room, and showed him where a couple of childhood friends lived, where my bus stop was, etc.
Then we grabbed lunch - nowhere special to me, all the restaurants I remembered were long gone - and then went to the mall because he needed something. This is the mall I remember cruising with my friends when I was just a tween. I showed him where the record shop was that was my favorite destination.
After that we went to our hotel on Cocoa Beach. It was just 100 yards south of the part of the beach we used to go to when I was a kid. It was unseasonably warm that week - highs in the mid-80s. So we went in the ocean.
It was his first time really playing in waves. He had been to oceans plenty of times, but he was always either too little to experience the surf, or the ocean was too cold to enter (like Peru last December). The only time he had really been in the ocean is either just up to his ankles or in quiet waveless coves in the Caribbean.
He was so excited playing in the water, he could have stayed in there for 5 hours. We didn't go in until the sun was heading behind the strip of buildings behind us and it started to cool off quite a bit.
So in one day I experienced the nostalgia of seeing my old town, home, and schools for the first time in many years, AND I got to show it all to my son AND he got to enjoy the waves, really enjoy them, for the first time in his life. And of course the whole trip felt like a special adventure since it was just the two of us. Something we'd never done before.
I don't have any photos of him at the beach, they would have been awesome, but I knew it was just me and him and I wanted to swim with him so I left my phone in the hotel. I got pictures of my old schools and house, but none with him or I in them. I did get this picture of him doing this little bungee-bounce attraction at the mall I used to visit as a tween.
That's a sweet day, Jon, and one I think both of you will remember for a long time.
Such special time with the kiddo, jon! I could see all of it as you described it. Lovely!
|Republican Party identification has begun requiring intellectual vacuity. |
-- Jennifer Rubin (she's a conservative for those who don't read much)
Favorite day? Well, how about this past Thursday (the 20th).
This is where I was ...
Long story short. Last year, we wandered down to Bonaire during the week before Christmas. My eldest has his open water certification. He got it when he was in school at Miami. My youngest and I wanted to learn the basics.
We had dived a couple of times on one-day quickie courses just to get a taste. I have been a space junkie since the Mercury program, and diving is the closest I'll ever get to the feeling of weightlessness in outer space. Those one-day experiences were sublime.
So, we signed up for a certification course and got through the first 60% of the PADI process for certification as an open water diver. Finishing that 60% gives you a basic Scuba certification that permits you to dive to 12 meters with an instructor.
This year we decided to return and finish out the rest of the course and get our open water certification. That allows you to go to 18 meters (60 feet) without an instructor. We had a wonderful teacher ... Thanks Andrea!
So, after finishing off the "final exam," and spending a day finishing up our confined water training, we completed the course successfully. Our first open water dive after that was here at Leonora's Reef off of Klein Bonaire.
Leonora's Reef Picture
Then we set our sights on the wreck of the Hilma Hooker. That's the picture. The ship lies on its side in 100' of water. The stern is in 60' of water and the bow is deeper. The dive boat tied up to the mooring ball attached to the hull of the wreck. The photo is of the stern, and you can see the mooring line coming off one of the port holes.
We descended immediately to 60' right to the stern, where the rudder and propeller are intact. You can see them in the photo. I went as close to the rudder as I could before getting called back to the larger party, which was making its way along the hull toward the bow. As you go toward the bow you get deeper. I tried to stay at my 60' limit, but failed ... I wound up in about 65' before I noticed Andrea motioning me to get back up to my 60' limit. My youngest was poking around at 70' and my eldest had descended to 75'. Cheaters!
Lots of stuff beginning to grow on the hull (sponges and corals). Lots of large tarpon (5-6 footers) hanging around the deck area.
After about 15 minutes on the wreck, we continued on to the nearby reef and slowly ascended to 30-35 feet. After almost an hour under water we did our three minute safety stop at 15 feet and came up.
Old dog learned new trick.
Piano*Dad, that is very cool!
I got my SCUBA certification many moons ago (I was 12) and at the time the sport limit was 100 feet. There’s a wreck in Tobermory, Ontario called the Forest City that begins at 60’ and angles down to 120’. The standard dive is heading down one side of the ship along the deck and then immediately heading back up the other side. There was a ten minute or so safety stop to decompress, if I remember correctly, even though the dive itself was super short. My dad and I dove the wreck together when I was maybe 13 or 14. I wonder if Tobermory still has charters out to the wreck now that the safety recommendations have changed?
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I might have told this story, but when I was right out of college, I went down to Miami to work on a project for about a year.
I was hanging out with a couple of coworkers who went scuba diving all the time. I looked into certifications, but they all took 4-6 weeks. I was in a hurry, as I was missing trips with these guys every weekend. I had heard that there were intensive classes that could certify you in a weekend and looked around for one of those.
Then someone pointed out that there was a guy at the client site who moonlighted as a dive instructor.
I remember the conversation - "Hey Joe, is there any way you could certify me in a weekend?" He replied, "Jon, I could certify you in 5 minutes". I gave him $60, and he signed my dive card. I was a certified diver!
We didn't dive with an organized group, we rented our own boats and my buddies had much of their own gear. We just rented tanks and went. So I was 'newly certified' and went out with those guys, who did in fact teach me a few things, but not enough. For example I never practiced clearing water out of my mouth and putting the regulator back in - until I had to do it one day at about 120'. No one had ever explained how to do it, so I had to work it out in real time.
I remember the recreational dive limit being 130'. At least that's what we considered the limit, it's not like I ever read a manual or anything.
We often dove the Bibb and the Duane, two coast guard cutters sunk off of Key Largo. To get to the bottom of the Duane, you actually hit 135', just beyond the limit as we understood it. Of course we did that, we were 22.
2018 is in the books! If New Year’s Eve was the best day of your 2018, it’s time to write it up. I’ll choose a winner on Friday. Give me your best 2018 day, whenever it was.
Just one perfect day. A quiet day on a deserted but gorgeous beach on the shores of Lake Michigan between Saugatuck and Holland, Michigan.
Our beach of choice (Saugatuck's renowned Oval Beach) was inaccessible due to road construction. I little searching turned up a small beach in a township park north of town. Reviews warned of a strenuous climb up and over towering dunes to get there. But, hey, we're out of shape middle-aged guys, so, why not?
Early September weather in the area can be erratic. So, the day started off extremely foggy, and the high was only headed to about 70 that day. By late morning when we arrived, the air was still thick with fog.
We had known there would be lots of stairs involved in getting over the dune from the parking lot. It turns out that was a bit of an understatement. There were about 150 stairs going up the dune, then another 250 going down to the beach. This would have been a nice cardio workout, except the stairs had been overblown by sand in numerous locations, including one section with a rise of about 50 feet. That just made it tiring.
But, the exertion was worth it. We had the entire beach to ourselves until well into the afternoon. We walked the beach, sunned ourselves (once the fog had mostly burned off), and took a few dips in the rather chilly water.
What made it perfect was the beauty and solitude of the place. My picture shows the last remnants of the fog before it lifted, gently lapping at the towering dunes along the shore.
It was the best beach day ever in 2018.
I enjoyed all your stories, and couldn’t settle on one. So I put you into a random number generator, and the number is 2. That’s Bee Lady. Congratulations, decorator of the month!
I do love that picture of you and your hiking buddies.
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Great contest and submissions! Just wanted to let everyone know how much I enjoyed reading your stories.
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