The end of an era

Trip Start Jan 23, 2008
Trip End May 23, 2008

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Friday, February 29, 2008

Today February 29th, a significant day. Because this is a leap year, this day only happens once every 48 months. However, this day also marks an event that has not happened for 170 months.

As of tomorrow, Bill will break his streak of skiing every month.

The irony in all of this is that there is no lack of snow here. In fact, our attempt on Cotopaxi was foiled by TOO MUCH snow. The trick was skis. But Bill did not go down without a fight. We canvassed Quito, visiting outfitter after outfitter looking for skis to beg, borrow, or buy. Everyone was very nice (if not a little mystified) and suggested that perhaps this OTHER outfitter probably had skis. One guy even suggested that in Guayaquil there were lots of skis to rent and even buy. This was a bit within spitting distance of snow-covered mountains has no skis, but the steamy costal city hours away from snow would have skis. We did NOT follow that lead. We dutifully connected the dots around the city, and actually found 3 pairs of skis along the way.

One belongs to a guide who is too fond of them to rent out (understandable). The other two were actually part of a window display at one of the outfitters, some classics from the 80īs or so. But the guy we talked to would not make a deal, and we never could reach his boss for a final appeal.

So we came around full circle but had to leave empty-handed for the volcanoes. Along the way, it was suggested that perhaps there might be skis up at the refugio on Cotopaxi. But we had heard this line too many times to get hopes up.

Ironically, there WERE skis at the refugio. 200 cm straight skis from the days of disco. But no boots. So close, but no dice.

It was probably inevitable that our year of travel would interupt Billīs turns all year, but itīs a bittersweet day nonetheless.

Fortunately, the spirit behind this adventuous pursuit and unique record is indominable and I know that Bill will continue to find creative ways to play outdoors for a long long time to come.

Cheers to you, Bill Frans!
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