After spending just over four months in Del Norte County, I packed up my belongings and made the trek back to Santa Cruz. The mornings along the Smith River were becoming increasingly brisk and large amounts of rain were imminent. Salmon had already been fighting their way up the river since an early rain in September and were holding up in the deep pools to wait out a dry spell before the deluge of rain would come to usher them upstream. I was becoming restless with shortening daylight and lack of friends to spend the dark time with. Work with Smith River Alliance was also coming to a close.
I arrived back in Santa Cruz to the typical mild central coast weather and a great swell rolling into Steamers Lane. Bell peppers are still ripening on the bushes, and an ongoing battle with a gopher in the eggplants is still under pursuit. A laundry list of things to do on the house appeared for me, and everything that went untended throughout the summer was begging for attention. Feels great to be home.
Someday I may be able to feel completely at home wherever I am, but it still makes a huge difference when you have friends wanting to see you and favorite places to go. I immersed myself in yoga classes, the climbing gym, and riding my bike around to various dinner invitations. All a very welcome homecoming, and it’s so warm out it hardly feels like summer is over, which is a good thing, because a feeling of impending doom usually shadows me come November.
I suppose that feeling stems from the dreaded return of school, the end of bikini and shorts season, and no more lazy afternoons soaking up the sun on the beach. Until recently I had no reason to look forward to winter. Sure, there’s usually more surf in winter, but it can get bitterly cold. Then there are all the over-sugared treats that I typically overdose on, and the shutting down of the pool, climbing gym, or whatever else is usually my saving grace in bad weather. This year things have changed. Last winter I learned how to ski, both cross country and down hill, and as part of an article I wrote for Adventure Sports Journal, I recently took indoor snowboard lessons. Yes, you read correctly, indoor snowboarding. I’ll add the link to that article when it comes out, but for now, here’s a photo description:
Not that my fear and loathing of winter has vanished, but it has been seriously abated. While my first inclination is to run to Joshua Tree to climb in 70 degrees temps, going to the snow might actually be an option for me now. I can now choose between being cold in winter surf or winter snow. Though I’m still dreaming about a surf trip to Nicaragua or Costa Rica to submerge in some warm water. Anyone want to send me their favorite warm water destination tips?
I hear the Picton Villa in New Zealand is a nice place to spend the winter!