October 1, 2008

The Last Vestige of Summer

At this latitude Summer tends to end on time. We've been lucky this past week to have an early "Indian Summer" before Fall or Winter has even begun. We were fortunate enough to have a chance to spend time with friends up in Sandpoint this last weekend at their lake place. The days were a bit crisp but I think we got all we could out of these last few days of sunshine.

On Saturday Harwood and I missed Joal as we explored the trail up Gold Mountain for the first time. I'm learning that I like climbing more and more.


It was a nice view of Sandpoint 2/3 of the way up. If only I could find a job there, it would be the perfect place to live.


Bombing down the tight turns on the way down was fun. The score was 2 falls for me and 6 for HJ. Granted, he was going faster and leading the way. All I had to do was look for his skid marks and I'd know when to squeeze the brakes. The real beauty was laying the bike down on literally the last turn before the parking lot, where the wives and kids could witness the bloodshed (I'm promised forthcoming photos on Veep's next post).


They did put down the cards for a minute to see if I was ok. We spent the rest of the morning in town and then headed back to the house to give the women time to take in a road ride. The kids, pretending it was still summer, swam and waded. Rocks were skipped and the kayak took a few laps. Later in the evening, rather than bothering with individual warm showers, the adults also denied the presence of Fall and jumped in the lake for a quick rinse.

Sunday morning I took advantage of the opportunity for a solo road ride from Bottle Bay, through town, and up to Schweitzer. As I rediscovered some good music by The Slip (see left hand column), I played "mountain stage" on the 7 mile climb. I don't think I won the stage, but did make it to the top. Everyone met at the base of the ski hill where I traded my road bike for my 29er and followed Harwood down yet another first run trail to the north side of the road. Even tighter turns with tighter trees, more rocks, and bigger roots. I took the only dive of the ride when I hit my handlebars on a tree and twisted around onto the ground. I bent my rim and felt a little spooked the rest of the ride.

On the way down we came upon a "sweet jump."


I couldn't decide whether to pull a backflip or a triple tailwhip. So instead I rode around the side. Here HJ is checking the takeoff angle and calculating the required velocity to reach the proper trajectory. He couldn't get the math to work right, so he rode around the side as well. Joal would have gone. Where is he when you need him?


The rest of the afternoon we took it easy. I think the jump haunted HJ because at around 4 pm a hammer could be heard in the back of the house as he was building the world's smallest launch ramp with the only scraps of wood on the property. The ramp was placed ever so carefully, and not so securely, on the edge of the dock. The press, kids, and dog then lined up in the viewing gallery. After a short wait, they witnessed this:

The power of the cell phone movie camera. It soon turned into an all out free-for-all mother-picture-taking of kids-doing-cute-things fest.


Eventually things died down. We all pitched in to pack up the cars and clean the place up and then headed down the road for home. The drive was just long enough to allow me to start appreciating my heavy eyelids and sore muscles. It has been a long time since I've squeezed quite so much out of one weekend. And since the weather promises to turn tomorrow, it was well timed.

Fortunately for me I had Monday off to eat some ibuprofen and recover. This is what I saw from my perch on the living room couch.


I have no idea how I'm going to get that balloon down. I guess I'll worry about that next weekend.


  1. I'm hoping that HJ outsources his maintenance because those bearings are going to be a mess after the lake jump stunt. Eat your heart out, Evil Kanevil! (sp?)

  2. Sure, rub it in. Doing skits with Boy scouts at a camporee was way funner than your trip anyway.
    I don't think I've got the nerve (or the rims) to take a jump like that. But I would have launched into the lake, I think, especially if I had that old K2 with me. I like how you described Harwood's mighty dock ramp.
    Your and Van's posts make me sad we didn't go. Next summer, or maybe this winter, we'll have to talk Harwood and Kathryn into staying there and inviting us again.