It runs in the family: an affection for beauty that cities AND mountainous places have to offer. But my sister and I are like yin and yang in this regard. She makes NYC her home and travels in high style. I’ve tended to travel on a shoestring budget, been known to stay in the desert or the mountains until I run out of money. Sometimes we come together to travel, and rip-roaring adventures ensue.
A few years ago, for example, we drove Iceland’s ring road together. I had the stopover in Iceland because I’d purchased the cheapest flight to London, and it was included. She, however, had been curious about Reykjavik and bought a ticket to join me. We camped at Eurotrash campsites along the road (my idea) and then stayed in a swanky city hotel and fine dined when we returned to civilization (her idea). After I left, she stayed another day to shop. It worked.
Last weekend, here in Vail, Colorado, we had another sisters’ weekend, this one motivated by my sister’s desire to climb Mont Blanc in August. Mont Blanc is Western Europe’s highest peak, but there is still enough snow up high on Vail mountain to provide a good training ground. So we set out in the morning sleet and walked up Golden Peak to do some ropework practice. Higher up, we strapped on the crampons and got out our ice axes to practice self-arresting in case of a fall on steep (or crevassed) terrain (click YouTube link below to view a brief dramatization).
Overall, it was a long day out that included around 3,000 feet of climbing, a fox sighting, some whimpering, and a big German dinner at Pepi’s when we returned to town.