By: Jess McMillan
Written on May 15, 2012
Our #VolcanoTour stats to-date.
Dav placed the first X on Mount Lassen 10 days ago. It was hard to imagine how the trip would evolve with one lonely X. There are now ten X’s on the back of the Land Yacht. I’m proud of every single one of ‘em, too. Each represents not only a volcano skied, but also a unique adventure – an adventure with new friends, challenges, and memories that we will share forever. The Volcano Tour has been the ultimate road trip, and near perfect weather and the many friends who have met us along the way have really been the icing on the cake.
Every volcano has been different, but every morning feels the same – so much the same that it’s starting to feel a lot like Groundhog Day ...
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We are parked at a trailhead. Dav and I are curled up in our sleeping bags trying to get as much sleep as possible. I go to bed knowing that if I fall directly asleep, I will get 4 hours and 17 minutes of sleep. Every minute is precious time to recover from the previous day’s exertions. It is always dark when I hear the sound of Dav’s alarm go off. “Beep, beep! Beep, beep.” A sigh from Dav follows as he rolls over hoping for a few more minutes of sleep. It’s time to get up. I peel my eyes open and force myself to jump out of bed. It is dark and I always land on something as I jump down from the Grandma’s actic of the RV. I have landed on a ski boot, a backpack, and even an ice axe, as I stumble to the back of the Land Yacht to boil water for our morning coffee. I’m not trying to be quiet. I bang pots, I trip over gear, and I hope to wake everyone up. With all of my efforts, it’s the smell of fresh coffee that always gets everyone moving. Some mornings there are only two of us, and some mornings there are ten of us. I enjoy looking out the window to see who is sleeping in the parking lot to join the tour for the day. Regardless of how many friends will be skiing with us that day, chaos overcomes the small space for the next forty-five minutes as everyone prepares for the day. An hour later, we’re out the door and the adventure begins.
Chris dreamed up the Volcano Tour a couple of years ago. He wanted it to be a roadtrip of a lifetime; reconnecting with old friends, checking out all of the sights to see, and of course, fun! He gathered all of the ingredients: Spyder’s Land Yacht, the volcanos, and the support. If you build it, they will come.
Chris told me he likes to collect mountains. A lot of people collect coins, guns, and cars, but Chris collects mountains. When he told me this, I envisioned him dashing from volcano to volcano taking a solo moment at each summit to admire the newest addition to his collection. It was an inspiring visual for me. As the trip has unfolded, not only has Chris inspired me to reach the summit of thirteen volcanoes, he has also inspired many others to join us along the way. I’d like to think that Chris still gets his moment of solitude at the top of each peak, but I know he loves the energy of all of the friends who share their smiles with him along the way.
We have come a long way, and there are still three X’s missing from the back of the Land Yacht: Rainer, Baker, and Glacier. Many people believe Chris has an uncanny ability to get perfect weather. I don’t know if it’s luck or if he is blessed, but so far we have had perfect weather. I’m starting to think he may have Mother Nature on speed dial because the forecast looks even better.
We begin our approach of Mt. Rainer tomorrow … at 14,411’, it’s going to be the test of the tour!