The Adventure Van had some new additions added to its arsenal including snow chains, snow shovels, and snowboard/ski racks as we headed out early in the morning. We got into Mammoth Lakes mid-day and started our 10 mile hike through the foothills of Mammoth Mountain, trudging through ankle deep snow, across frozen creek beds, and over fallen logs. After our hike we headed over to our house. We all got settled and gathered in the kitchen to prepare dinner which consisted of bbq chicken, grilled asparagus, and salad. The evening concluded with SMORES and a wild game of Scattergories.
I experienced some cravings for alcohol when we sat around the campfire at night. I continued to tell myself that I do not need alcohol to have fun. And when that didn’t work, I would say something out loud to the group for support. They were experiencing similar feelings.
We were up early, bundled up, and ready to go on the slopes at 8:30am. We had a few clients signed up for skiing and snowboarding lesson, while others were “old pros” and headed off in a group to tackle the slopes. We spent the day riding trails out of the Canyon Lodge area with names like “Roller Coaster”, “Avalanche”, and “Side Show”. At the end of the day we met up at the lodge and compared bruises and bumps and shared our excitement about the day. The night concluded with a fire in the fireplace and lots of processing about life.
Another early morning at the slopes. The clients were getting more comfortable on their skis and snowboards and each run brought on more confidence in their abilities. We finished off the day and went back to the house to get changed for a night on the town. We had a huge feast at “The Smoke Yard” where we all enjoyed the best steaks on the mountain. The clients were able to have an enjoyable time with each other and many commented on how nice it was to not have to drink to have fun.
We all woke up sore and excited. We decided to try a different part of the resort today and headed over to Main Lodge. There is nothing like rushing down the side of a snow covered mountain from 11,000 feet with the ice cold wind blowing across your face, your jacket billowing in the wind, and your mind and body making thousands of tiny adjustments every second. This was a “high” we all agreed was better than anything else we had tried in our lives. Our day unfortunately had to end and we piled back into the van and started the long drive back to Orange County. It was a pleasant drive back as our group had gone from being strangers at the beginning of the trip to a strong unit that bonded over the course of four days through shared experiences, very open and honest conversations, and a strong desire to move in a positive direction in our lives.