After spending all afternoon skiing with friends in-bounds, I drove home unsatisfied. So I changed clothes, slapped a pair of skins onto my lite weight rando boards, buckled into my AT boots and headed out the door again, at 4:30pm. The Sunset Tour was on.
I'm really lucky to live up against USFS land, and Blackwood Ridge climbs 2000' behind my cabin. By myself, no pack, no partners, I put the heal lifters on high, headphones in my ears, and turned up the volume. After the first 600' the angle eased and I dropped the lifters and lengthened my stride. 45 minutes - my supposed turn around - came and went and I kept climbing. Views of Lake Tahoe and the peaks of the West Shore opened up around me, and the sky started to turn shades of blue, purple and orange as the sun neared the edge of the world. It dissappeared just as I reached the ridge's highpoint.
To my south, I can see the local ski area, and the spring corn is quickly turning into death crust in the fading light. So I tucked my skins in my belt, buckled down my boots, and locked in the heals. Lots of kick turns, stem-christies, and a few actual full turns later I was back in bounds, after hours, on the cat track to the lodge and a 15-minute walk home in the dark while the sweat cooled on my back and my legs quietly complained. Satisifaction kept me warm.
This was nothing about the down. This was all about the up.