This winter, MTF worked to coordinate with local photographer and enthusiastic trail lover, Ross Downard, on a photo shoot to capture the wintery magnificence of the Round Valley trails. With week after week of high pressure pushing into the season, we’d almost written off hopes of capturing much needed winter action images to fill our digital library. But, on Monday the 14th of March, luck turned. With fresh snow flocking sagebrush the night before, there was a last-minute call to rally. Because the crew was coordinating the transportation of Ross and his equipment to a scenic, inner-valley location, most of the trails remained un-groomed that morning. Cloaked in the near-zero temps of pre-dawn, I carefully picked my way up to the Gate to Nowhere through three inches of powder covering the icy track beneath. Then, with numbing fingers and stiff legs, awaited the crew.
Twenty frigid minutes later, the crew showed up and the shoot commenced. On Ross’ prompt, I worked my skinny skis with little grace and poor form over the exceptionally soft, minimally manicured track along Cammy’s ridge. Finally, on a slight downhill section, I caught some glide – and then a ski tip in the ungroomed margin of the track. In that moment, when effort gave way to reward, when I was just starting to find stride, an extraordinary face plant came to full execution. Through an adrenaline haze, the crew’s distant, concerned shouts vaguely registered. Gathering rattled senses then confessing that only my pride was bruised, laughter erupted. When Ross sent photos a week later, we knew this was one of those rare, yes embarrassing, bloopers caught on film and it warranted public sharing.
From this event, I took a few life lessons – because that’s how I learn best . . . the hard way. A poignant lesson derived was this: even when life is gliding along smoothly, when focus is right on track, there are always unseen obstacles lurking in the periphery. Sometimes they catch you off guard and it’s a quick stumble. Sometimes it’s a total faceplant. Regardless, the trick to recovery is the same: first, exercise resilience – get back up, brush off and move on down the trail. Second, surround yourself with people who lift you up.
As I gathered skis and poles upright, brushed the snow from my face, then looked down the trail, what I saw was more humbling than a full scale yard sale. I saw the wide-eyed, concerned faces of the caring, wonderful people who are part of the MTF team. Utterly amused by this harmless trail calamity, they burst into hoots and howling laughter – with me, not at me. What better balm is there for a slightly bruised ego than sharing a belly laugh with the people you work with, care about, over a magnificent blunder.
May you be the cause of genuine, kind laughter this month.
See you out there,
Lora Smith, MTF Executive Director