I had no earthly reason not to follow in my husband's tracks. None.
We celebrated the first day of 2021 by cross-country skiing. We had blue skies with barely a cloud. Cold enough temperatures that the snow didn't stick, but not cold enough to be unpleasant.* Best yet, it was one of that rarest of Wyoming days: no wind.
The trailhead was, as usual, packed. We parked at the rest stop instead, where I slipped through one split-rail fence, hiked across a wind-scoured field, and stepped over a break in another one. We skied the ridge between the fence and Headquarters Trail, a wide expanse of uncut snow. In spots, I'd float on a hard-blown crust, then suddenly feel my foot plunge into powder.
My husband was, of course, ahead of me. He's the athlete while I'm a bit soft around the edges. I'm always the one trailing behind when we're out.
Breaking trail on cross-country skis is harder than following a set trail, or even following another skier. I could have followed behind him and gotten more glide where he'd laid down tracks. I would have known where I would sink and where I would float.
But I didn't. Fresh snow is simply too tempting. I zigzagged for no good reason and ducked around trees. Our tracks must have looked like a little kid ran back and forth. Truth be told, I felt like a kid doing it.
I am told that I "knew my own mind" from my youngest days. As I grew older, I picked my own path -- not the one of least resistance, by a long shot. I've fallen into deep snow more than once in life, but I've always gotten back up.
Breaking trail is harder, but oh so worth it.
*Although truly, bad weather is usually a function of bad clothing.