Let go, Old Man Winter!!!

Spring is upon us…you would think.  But nooooo…Old Man Winter is hanging on for dear life here in Montana!!!  It’s almost mid-April and we don’t have any buds on the trees that dare come out yet because it’s been snowing every four days or so!  Tomorrow and Friday are supposed to bring in some heavy, wet snow – up to 18″ of it.  For the sake of the trees, I’m glad they’re not leafed-out yet or we’d have broken branches and downed power lines everywhere (not that we won’t have those, anyway).  We’re having our March weather in April this year, I guess.  This seems like it’s been such a long winter!!!  This is the longest winter I can remember in quite some time!  I need it to warm up, dry off some, and let the sun shine for a while!  I want to go rock climbing outside!!!  I NEED TO GO ROCK CLIMBING OUTSIDE!!!  I want to sit outside and do some artwork and take some photos of the green surroundings of spring and enjoy not having 40 layers of clothing on to keep warm!!!  I hear the wind outside right now, and it was supposed to rain fairly heavily last night into this morning, so we’ll see what it did and/or does.  I don’t mind the moisture – we need it – but I need it to be in the form of nice warm raindrops that I can stand outside and enjoy instead of cold, half-slush ice balls that pelt you and freeze you on impact!!!  It’s time for it to warm up!

I’ve been poring over my Ten Sleep Canyon guidebook, looking for routes I want to attempt when the weather turns and my climbing buddies and I can plan a trip or four down there!  I’ve found an area that I really want to explore, and then a route here and a route there that are in areas that my friends could have some challenging climbing in as well.  Mainly, I want to spend a little more time down in the Canyon this year and get my outdoor camping setup sussed-out and tested.  I’ve upgraded several components and ideas about how to camp with a BiPAP and get some much-needed recovery sleep so that several days in a row of climbing doesn’t wipe me completely out.  I need to lose weight, too, so I need to be able to go outside and ride my bike!!!  Yes, people around here ride their bikes in the snow all the time, but they’re commuting and I don’t want to have to worry about the snow while I’m riding my bike!  The traffic is enough to worry about!  Not getting run over is a priority of mine!!!  Billings, Montana is not a bike-friendly town at all.  One takes their life in their hands every time they drive one the street in a vehicle, much less on a bike!  I have a climbing buddy who got hit on his bike at the end of last summer and he broke a lot of bones.  Lots of surgeries.  It flipped him clear up over the hood and cab of the vehicle and he landed alongside a dead antelope in the bed of the pickup that hit him…  That’s the kind of thing I’d like to avoid.  Death and bodily injury can keep their distance and I’ll be perfectly fine with that!  I’m under enough duress while riding my bike!  I need to get in shape, though.  If I had more money, I’d pay the membership to another gym as well as the climbing gym so that I had a pool to swim in daily.  Climbing and swimming would be a powerful combination!!!  I’d still rather do those things outdoors, though!  Ah, imagine that…  After a great day of climbing and crushing some routes in the hot sun, hiking to a small nearby lake where the water is cool and fresh, and jumping in for a relaxing swim with friends late in the afternoon…  Let go, Old Man Winter!!!  Spring’s a-comin’!!!

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