Tuesday, January 1, 2013

On Top of the World in 2013

More and more, I find myself seeking for experiences that are extraordinary.  In what I have seen and experienced of the world, I gravitate towards the authentic and unpretentious.  Why?  Because empirically, those are the ones that shape us, those are the ones that enrich us, and most of all, those are the ones that stay with us.  And the other thing I have learned is that those experiences WILL present themselves to you.  You just need to be ready to recognize it and walk right into it.

New Year's is a huge thing for me.  I'm not normally superstitious but I suppose that my Filipino-ness has been so ingrained in me that I still hold to the tradition that whatever you're doing at the stroke of midnight on the first of the year is indicative of how the rest of your year will look like.  I have spent at least one NYE on the plane and I could have sworn that my travel miles grew exponentially that year.  Although I must admit that I have given up on jumping up and down deluding myself that I will still gain an inch or two vertically.

One of my most magical experiences this winter was a hike in fresh snow at Mount Rose Meadows - sans snowshoes.  The bonus was a couple of chickadees feeding on my hand.  It was such a surreal moment that I and The Dutch immensely enjoyed that for Christmas, I got him a pair of snowshoes.  I picked them up at the local REI and as I entered the store, an announcement at the door caught my eye:  New Years Eve Midnight Snowshoe Hike in the Sierras.  We were spending Christmas in Canada but New Year's was still wide open.  Somehow, a typical NYE party consisting of dancing and boozing to usher a new year in did not appeal to me.  In contrast, a midnight hike in the snow in the woods to a ridge top?  That's more like a recipe for something unforgettable.

So guess what this girlfriend did.

Little did I know that we will get a series of snowstorms leading up to NYE.  Little did I know that it will be 9 degrees Fahrenheit (32 degrees is freezing) on NYE.

Still it remains, it is one of the best, unimaginable ways I could have ever spent welcoming a new year.

We had headlamps but the moon reflected so brightly on the glimmering snow that they were not necessary.  The forest was dense at times and snow still weighed heavy on some of the evergreen branches.

The ascent was challenging (500 feet elevation gain in 20 or so minutes?) but the vistas at the ridge top was stunning.  We had a clear wide view of Donner Lake, the distant fireworks of a couple of ski resorts, not to mention front row premium seats of the stars and the moon.  Glasses of champagne were passed around and as we counted down to 2013, I felt a sense of wonder and gratitude.

This evening will be tough to beat.

I woke up this morning after only four hours of sleep yet I was happy.  I had dreams of silvery woods covered in snow in the moonlight.  I catch a glimpse of the lingering snow outside and I think to myself that I will never look at snow the same way again.  The world is a beautiful place and if nothing else carries over to the rest of the year spare for this thought, then I am set.    

Happy New Year's Day to everyone!  May this year be our best yet!  Here's to more fearless adventures with the people we love!

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