Tuesday, March 13, 2012

A World-Traveling, Skiing, Fly-Fisherman

Well, I think it goes without saying that I have been neglecting my blog. This had to end!

Since I last checked in there have been many things happen in Muddlerland. It's tough to decide where to pick back up from, so how about I start from the date of my last post, November 18th I believe it was. Since the 18th of November I have skied, then skied some more, worked a little bit, then um.... went skiing, and then I think I skied some more! Unfortunately, winter this year has been less than lackluster. Warm temps, high winds, and low snow have made for a pretty miserable winter of skiing here in the Rockies. Fortunately, we had made plans to ski France back in the fall, and Europe has been getting hammered with snow this winter. Let me tell you about my trip...

Well, we left Denver on Jan 17th bound for Warsaw, Poland. We were headed to Warsaw to meet our friend Maciej and his cousin. Before we could leave DIA, we witnessed the first of many ridiculous things we would see on the trip. Did you know the cockpit windows on a jet opened? Yeah, we didn't either. We watched this unfold as we were drinking the first beer of the trip in the airport bar in Denver.

Our plane departed Denver and we were headed for London. London Heathrow is a bustling airport and the most we saw was the inside of buses, dreary weather outside, and then the terminal where we had a pretty short wait for our flight to Warsaw.

Arriving in Poland was a little nerve racking. We really had no idea if anyone was actually going to meet us there. The only communication we had with Maciej was intermittent Facebook messaging. We also just about witnessed a fight in the customs line between a couple Polish people. Luckily, as soon as we got our bags we spotted Maciej's smiling face in the crowd. He quickly hailed us a large cab (we had tons of luggage. Two ski bags, three carry ons, four suitcases, and a loose pair of ski boots). We were whisked away to the train station and had a three hour ride west to Zielona Gora, Poland. Maciej's cousin, Marcel, picked us up and we headed to his apartment. By this time I had been awake for 32 hours, I was too excited to sleep on any part of the journey. Maciej and Marcel wanted to take us out on the town. What were we to say? Beer sounded good!

Just a few highlights from our two nights in Poland.

1. The first night at Club Demon, Brady won the mechanical bull riding contest. It was funny hearing him give a victory speech in a Polish nightclub in English.
2. I couldn't help myself, I had to sing some karaoke! Again, in English in a Polish nightclub.
3. Food! We had lots of traditional Polish food and it was all DELICIOUS!
4. WOMEN! We were all blown away at how beautiful Polish women were.

Well, it came time to head to France. We knew we would be driving and that it would be about a 20 hour drive. We also knew what we would be riding in, a Ford Focus. And we also knew how much shit we had to fit in that tiny vehicle. Five grown men with all their luggage, ski gear, tire chains, water, beer, food... think it was cramped? Absolutely. Although we did come up with an ingenious way to keep our beer cold. Stow it in the ski bag on top of the car, position zipper for easy access through a rolled down window, and VOILA! The ride didn't seem as long! All of this made for a pretty interesting car ride...

Somehow we made it to Valmeinier, France without killing each other, although we were all a little loopy upon arrival. The night before we arrived it had snowed over three feet. Getting to our place was a nightmare, and waiting to check in was even worse.

We arrived at the resort around 11 am, and were told we couldn't check in until 2 pm and there was no skiing that day. At 2 pm we were told that we couldn't check in until 4. We waited until 4, checked in, and everybody crashed! Did I mention this was my 25th birthday? We didn't even party, at least not that night. We more than made up for that...

I'll let the pictures do the talking, but we skied powder for 6 days on big mountains in the French Alps. All the French skiers stayed on-piste and left three big mountains full of powder for us to enjoy!

Terrible form in this picture... I'm a better skier than this!

We departed Valmeinier and headed for Geneva, Switzerland. After the car ride from Poland, Paul and I were thanking Brady for making arrangements for us to fly back from Geneva. Two hours in a car that full is much more enjoyable than 20. We parted ways with Maciej and Marcel and got a cheap hotel. Then we went out on the town. Geneva is sweet, but WAY expensive. Luckily we got a 24 hour Public Transportation Pass from our hotel. We walked around old town Geneva, saw a marching band, rode around in a boat, and visited Saint Peter's Cathedral. Oh, and naturally we drank some beer, too!

The trip was once in a lifetime. There was nothing about our time in Europe that wasn't incredible. But, I was very glad when we got back on US soil! What did I do when I got back? I went skiing!

So far I've gotten in just under 60 days on the slopes. Like I've said previously though, the winter here in the Rockies sucks. We had about 2 weeks of actual winter weather and then it was gone. The past two weeks have seen temperatures in the mid to upper 40s, bright sunshine, and most importantly - no snow. So what's a man to do when the skiing sucks this time of year? Go fishing!

I've fished the past two days, which has been the first time in FOUR MONTHS! INSANITY! Anyways, the fish weren't very cooperative and the weather didn't help. High winds, bluebird skies, unseasonably warm. I managed to hook 3 fish and land 2 of them in 2 days. It's all good though. I had a good time being out there. Saw some wildlife, too. There is a group of 3 deer that I see every time I fish a certain stretch of the Colorado. They are all does and always hang out in the exact same spot. It's like clockwork!

This is the only fish I caught yesterday. He ate a lowly San Juan Worm. He put up a decent fight for being so skinny! I'm just glad he came along and ate my fly, I was starting to think I'd be skunked my first time out in 2012.

This is the only fish I caught today. A beautiful rainbow that put up a good fight after he ate an egg.

In the winter this little guy is known as an Ermine. During the summer, he's a Lesser Weasel. This is only the second one I've seen, and let me tell you; THEY ARE FAST! Really cool little critters, though!

Aside from shitty winter weather that is affecting the skiing and will effect water levels this summer, I have nothing to complain about! I've been a fisherman, a skier, and a world traveler in the past 4 months. Oh, and I've worked a little on the side! My buddy George is heading out here next week and I'm going to ski Jackson Hole the first week of April (they've actually had some semblance of a winter).

Life is good in Muddlerland!