I'm standing high on a mountain in California on a hot summer day, my hiking boots planted at the top edge of a large patch of snow. One of the last remaining from the winter. I take in the scenery. The snow-kissed Sierra Nevada Mountains. The stoic evergreen trees. A verdant mountain meadow below.
Then, with an Elvis-like flick of my hips to get going, I let my feet skid. I go slipping 'n sliding on the ski-season leftovers. My arms swing wildly, helping me keep my balance. But I fear coming to the end of the patch and pitching forward when my feet hit dirt. So I sit down to stop. Elegant!
What a great trip. A multi-sport tour of Lake Tahoe that included mountain biking, hiking, inline skating and kayaking. I had a wipeout during that trip due to a loose brake on my skate (my fault for not checking and tightening the screws for, oh, about two years). That spectacular fall led to major road rash. About 10 inches of bruise and scrapes on my left thigh.
But when you're with a group, even with people you've only known for a few days, people rally around you. One guest, a doctor, taught me how to clean and dress the wound.
Others were sympathetic and helped me with various things. Many wanted wound photos for posterity. I helpfully obliged. I'd post them, but you might be eating breakfast as you read this...
The best part about a multi-sport trip is that if you don't want to do one activity for seven days, there's always another. I really didn't want to put my skates back on after that spill. So I didn't. I still enjoyed biking and kayaking. And dinners with the others.
Allan Wright, who owns Zephyr Adventures, is a peripatetic kind of guy. He changes his trip offerings frequently. In 2008, the Lake Tahoe multi-sport wasn't offered. But an Oregon multi-sport was. That biking, hiking and canoeing wine adventure is going on as we speak, finishing up today.
A Spain multi-sport wine adventure in September includes biking, hiking and horseback riding. A Chile and Argentina multi-sport wine adventure in November already is booked. Well, there's alway next year...
Photos: Ellen Perlman
Tahoe hiking, kayaking, skating, biking