Monday, December 31, 2012

2012, The Hospital Bed, And Mr. Should Have

This year was all about finding adventure wherever we were, whenever we could, however we could.  Come to think of it, that might be a decent way to live a life.

We are a double headed monster here at Nor’easter Backcountry: part mountain biker, part skier.  And like most New Englanders we’re opportunists.  We’ll take what we get, throw some maple syrup on it and eat it up with a smile on our faces.  That said, this was definitely not a sugar-on-snow year.  This was the year of the mountain bike.  The anemic snowpack led to a quick thaw and bone dry trails as early as March across the North Country.  We would have complained, but we were too busy mountain biking our faces off.

Not a strip mall.
It’s fitting then, that our first adventure of the year was a family trip to Florida with yours truly.  Although I had done this trip a number of times, I made a deliberate attempt to get off the couch, put down the mojitos, and seek out some wild spaces.  I celebrated this quest by dubbing the trip: Flor’Easter Backcountry.  I mountain biked on the East Coast then joined up with my buddy Dave and explored the surprisingly active mountain biking scene on the West Coast near Tampa.  All in all, I discovered there’s more to Florida than golf courses and strip malls.

In February, the Nor’easter crew ventured to Utah where we explored the sidecountry around Solitude and Brighton.  The adventures culminated in a tour by Brad, Justin and Gered onto Pioneer Ridge.  There they challenged a steep colouir to a game of “I dare you toavalanche on me” and were rewarded with some pretty spectacular powder skiing- and their lives.   To celebrate their feats of athleticism and bravery, there were drinks out of plastic buckets, snow angels and hot tub nachos. 

As most of the East was complaining of a meager snowpack, Gered, Brad and I ventured toNorth Twin slide in March, where we mountaineered, skied and met a machete wielding stranger. 

North Twin.

April rolled around and Justin, Brad and I celebrated the change of the seasons with a Northeast Kingdom Doubleheader.  The rare combination of skiing powder at Jay Peak in the morning, and mountain biking at Kingdom Trails in the afternoon was the perfect passing of the proverbial baton.

Doubleheader day.
My April adventures continued as I followed my wife on a business trip to Southern California.  All of my early season mountain biking paid off as I (unintentionally) embarked on a fourthousand foot, thirty mile mountain bike odyssey along the trails of Big Laguna and Noble Canyon – and lived to tell about it.

The Big Laguna.
Similarly, Brad braved gangs of baboons to explore the wilds of South Africa by mountain bike, touring Tokai Forest near Cape Town with an international crew.

Opening climb up Wheeler Pass
Monarch Crest Trail
Gered left New England as well, taking his first ever trip to Colorado in July where he competed in the Xterra National Off-Road Duathlon Championships.   Not satisfied with his level of suffering, the very next day he learned the meaning of pain when he attempted the Brekenridge 100 mile mountain bike race, which started at 9,500 feet and ended in horrifying pain. To numb mixed feelings about his first career DNF, Gered wiped the slate two days later with a 40 mile point to point traverse of the Monarch Crest Trail in Salida (also learning that Salida is not Spanish for "salad").

October saw Brad and I make last minute maneuvers to put a plan that had been simmering for the better part of two years into action as we day-hiked Bondcliff with theassistance of mountain bikes.
One of many spectacular views on Bondcliff.
Later that month the entire Nor’easter crew gathered for the CircumBurke race in the Northeast Kingdom. Gered crossed the line first overall, Brad finshed in the top 10%, while Justin and I… Well, we finished.

And finally Gered and I capped things off in December with a fifty mile mountain bike ride in the suburban wilds of Lexington, Weston and Concord, MA.  This trip was a culmination of two years of my after-work explorations onto the hidden singletracks of MetroWest Boston.

And oh by the way, I became a dad in July.

Looking back, there could have been a lot of excuse making when December rolled around as to why we missed any one of this year's adventures: bad snow year, new fatherly duties, business trips, etc.  Somehow we all managed to live our daily lives, while at the same time finding adventure where, when, and how it was presented to us.  All we had to do was reach out a little to grab it.

As Justin likes to remind us: someday you’re going to be in a hospital bed thinking back about the things you did and the things you didn’t do.  Hopefully that day isn’t tomorrow, but if it is, are your excuses going to be enough to quiet the “I should have…” voice? 

Here’s to another year of adventures, staying out of the hospital bed, and telling "Mr. Should Have" to take his video games, internet and television  and sell them someplace else.


  1. one word...I am jealous...nice work this year!

  2. Thanks Grant. You had some big adventures as well. Can't wait to read about what this year brings for you.