Well, "cheating death" may be a bit overly dramatic. Cheating my doctor is probably a bit more appropriate, but I did ski at Beartooth Pass today.
For those of you who don't know, I have a couple of things that intersected today. The first thing is that eight weeks ago, I had foot surgery to repair the big and second toes of my left foot. That went fine and you can read about it in this thread. When I had surgery though, the doctor told me that I wouldn't be able to do anything aggressive on that foot for 12 weeks because the plate and screws he put in the big toe to fuse the joint needed time to heal.
The second thing going on is my consecutive-month ski streak. Since I skied at A-Basin on May 1 (the day before my surgery), I was hoping to get the okay from the doc to ski again at the end of June. 6 weeks ago, the doc wavered on the 12-weeks deadline because my bones looked like they were healing well. Then ten days ago, I saw him one more time and he said the x-rays looked good enough that if I went somewhere lift-served and skied very daintily for a short time, I should be okay.
That leads us to today and Beartooth Pass. They're still running the two lifts (and will through Sunday), so I got up really early this morning and drove to Beartooth. It was a very cool day because my route takes me through Yellowstone National Park, out through Cooke City, Montana, and on up Beartooth Pass. While driving through Yellowstone, I saw not one but three different mama bears with cubs (all black bears, no grizzlies), elk, bison, and deer. Best of all, though, was a wolf that walked right out of the woods about 15 feet from my car as I was driving fairly slowly a little south of Canyon Village. It was a big, white wolf and it walked right by my car and back into the woods. My camera and big lens were sitting right on the seat beside me, but I didn't have any time to get a photo before the wolf was gone.
So, I arrived at Beartooth around 9:30am, just as the sun was starting to soften the snow. A couple of the liftie/ski patrollers (thank you, Jasper and Ron) were nice enough to take photos of me. The conditions were flat-out excellent, as you'll see from the photos.
Me at the top before starting out:
Big crowd on the hill. I was the only one there until some youngsters in a moguls camp showed up a little before I left. That's me down below:
Gorgeous conditions and gorgeous scenery:
How cool is this???
Just to the right of this photo, there was a herd of mountain goats grazing on the hillside.
After I finished skiing, I walked over and took some photos:
And just on the other side of the pass was this massive former glacier that I've skied in the past. Plenty of snow for my August or September turns (or both):
And then, just to make the day perfect, I ran into a blanket hatch of giant stoneflies and caddis flies along the Yellowstone River as I was driving back through the park. These hatches are legendary but I've never actually seen one in full bloom. I've never seen so many big bugs:
One on my thumb:
Covering the trees:
Filling the sky. This isn't snow, it's all bugs:
My foot feels really good, I managed to ski month number 177, and I got to see all kinds of cool wildlife.
What a great day!