We’re not going to deny it. We’re rather stoked about it. This brewery - now that we’re letting the taps flow freely - gets cranking when that northwest spring sunshine comes out. Those lucky souls that sneak down during work hours get lounge in the sun with a beer or three before the others can join, and the upstairs patio only grows busier and busier as the work day expires while the sun sets slower.
But there’s an undeniable longing inside of us that isn’t quite ready to give up on winter. Sure: bring on spring when downtown in Fairhaven. But we have some mixed feelings about the melting snow up in those Cascades. We’re in definitive denial, wringing out the last turns of the snow sponge.
So as March turned to April, while the brewery itself was clicking along smoothly, nothing was working as we intended up a ways off of the 542. Our chosen Forest Service road appears at first glance to be plowed, but that was fantasy at best. Once the wheels in the truck start swirling too much with every turn, we wedge a solid rock behind the rear wheels and gear up. After the unexpected three-plus mile skin up the road just to find the start of our planned route, we’re tired as hell - but will deny it ‘til we die.
It’s an early Northwest Spring but feels like a Death Valley drought (temperature is all relative, right?). Even the weather is trying to deny us of our geographic predicament. So as we catch our breath, and come to peace with our last-gasp grasp for winter… rather than merely just measuring the day in denial, we decide it requires it. So we accept this condition. Then hunt for turns.
Our route upwards loses steam quickly - the sun is getting higher and higher in the sky, and with each kickturn we punch into the grove of trees, the curse of the backcountry sinks in: we are working our tail off for every foot of vertical, which will last maybe...ten, fifteen seconds on the descent? And so we gladly decide to quit the uphill pursuit and drop back down into the trees.
We can’t sweat these kind of days. They’re certainly not the ones you read about in big trip reports, or brag about to your buddies. But hell, aren’t these the kind of days where we tend to end up laughing about over a beer?
Our day’s denial reaps reward. We know this zone well: we’ve been skiing off of this favored Forest Service road for some time now, but because we usually have much more success than this, we’ve never ended up on the southern side of this drainage. Which at first, appears problematic. But if we’re already stuck over here, and there’s still snow holding under all this sun...we might as well skin back up the other side and ski this aspect at which we’ve previously only been able to stare and ponder.
So hey. Winter’s gone. Spring’s here. The snow will still be here...you just need to lower your expectations a bit. Maybe wake up a bit earlier, stay out in the mountains a bit longer, and soak it - whatever it you can find - all in. Maybe, just maybe, spend a bit more time out in the sun with a beer. There’s a good brewery in downtown Fairhaven with great rooftop seating... Because denial isn’t the worst place to be, for now. As long as you stay right of the drainage.