I’m nothing, if not one to answer the call of someone in need… yes, I'm that self-less. So, I grabbed my titanium tiara and bolted for the door.
Woe to the faint of spirit. This summer the Sierra are buried in snow. The road into the heart of the mountains is closed, gated with a huge metal ROAD CLOSED sign. Our hero was not to be deterred, however, and I stepped around the road's locked gate, hopped on my bike and started to ride.
I'm coming, I sent my message out into the open sky. And then nearly slammed into the back of a plow.
The road crew was making steady progress, but... they were slow. Painfully, lethargically sloth-like. The pass was still miles and miles away. Ever gracious, I curtsied and thanked them for their efforts, but in truth they weren't even close to where I needed to be.
The next day I was back. This time with my bike and my skis.
What was a princess to do but her hero's journey?
So I started off.
There were all the usual hurdles... ogres, dragons, and... dammit I only brought one GU energy gel!
Every hero's journey has a nearly insurmountable final obstacle -- the giant white whale, the slopes of Mt. Doom, Darcy's bigoted aunt, evil king Galbatorix. Mine was no different. To reach the summit of Bull Run Peak, I had to climb the mountain's steep upper snowfield overhung with a huge cornice like a giant tooth.
Tiara slightly askew, I stowed my skis on my pack and kicked steps in the snow up the final 300 vertical feet, too steep to ski, too steep even for skins. I glanced nervously up at that menacing cornice, waiting for it to come crashing down on top of me...
Only, wait a minute. That cornice is way over there, not on top of me. And hey, this slope is looking pretty darn inviting to ski down. In fact (and here I tallied the elevation in my head), I see a 1,500-foot open shot down to the bottom of the valley on sun-soaked corn snow.
Sweet! This rescuing business ain't too shabby.
I finally gained the summit ridge, then topped out. A few rocks marked the very top and I put my hand on them.
Hey, Bull Run. I'm here to rescue you.
Took you long enough. But thanks. I was feeling peaked.
I smiled. Under the weather?
Mmmmmm. (Click here for a flyover video of the journey)