Thursday, January 22, 2009

To the Snow

If we have learned one thing about DC it is everything is always outrageous. With that thought in mind and the upcoming massive crazy inauguration planning getting nuttier every day it was time for an escape. After it became clear that the city would be shut down it was no use for Keith to attempt going to the office. The schools opted to close for Monday and Tuesday which made this past weekend a perfect one for taking leave. It was finding a place to go that was the problem. The one thing we agreed on was where ever we ended up it had to have some snow. Preferably lots of snow. All around us snow fell. But none here nor nearby. After a little interwebbing we found the best place to go within a day's drive.

Our trip to Salmon Hills was someplace we thought would be a way for us to spend the weekend outside enjoying the wonder of winter. A way to forget about the fanfare and insanity that surrounds DC. Especially in a place that actually has snow and looks like winter. This part of Upstate NY is known for being the snowiest place east of the Rocky Mountains. And was it ever! I have not seen snow in this quantity since we left Colorado. Our journey began with a 5am departure. By the time we reached Pennsylvania evidence of snow began to be seen. Little by little the amount of snow cover increased. When we reached the town of Redfield it was spectacular. Farmland covered in snow. Deep snow all around. Yes. We were in the right place. Leaving so early in the morning is difficult. Everyone is sleepy and hardly wants to go outside in a cold car. Once we were surrounded by the snow we forgot about being tired and cranky. All we could think about was getting on our gear to get in a few hours of snowshoeing before the sunset. The lodge was packed full of people. Hundreds of snow loving people were skiing all around. It was hard not to be excited.

It snowed everyday we were there. Not much at once. Maybe no more than an half inch at a time. It was just beautiful to see it fall. The girls were so fascinated with the vastness of the snow. Never in their lives had they seen such deep snow. Snow deep enough for me to get lost in. With that much snow it is difficult to not smile and laugh and feel like a child. We spent Sunday and Monday cross country skiing. Sunday was a big struggle. The girls were put in skis far too large for them and caused some long painful climbs uphill. After lunch we had them refit. In smaller skis they were enjoying it much more and had better control. Our days were spent skiing from 9am-noon with a lunch break and then back on the trails 2-4pm. We went hard and strong and had so much fun. Sunday we kept to the trails close to the lodge doing several loops. Olivia fell in love with large hills. She favors the downhill skiing like her Father. I and Leah prefer the diversity of cross country, mostly the flatness. I like going down hills but my body prefers to have a break in the hills. Monday was our big adventure. One for which we were ill prepared. Keith is so generous with our time. He is always under the assumption that we'll do things faster than we can. Our trail of choice was the one that led to the lake. It took 3 hours (When Keith asked for the time and I told him noon he looked at me and said "Oh, I didn't think it'd take us that long") to get there because we kept taking the longer trails to keep going. By the time we reached the end of the trail we were so hungry that we ate every last bit of food in the backpack. If we had thought things through we would have made lunches. I was quite surprised with the girls. They managed to keep going despite their hunger. I think we figured it to be about 7km trip. Possibly farther. That trip wiped me and Leah out. After lunch Keith and Olivia went back to the trails for another 2 hours. I spent time reading and knitting. Leah explored the lodge grounds making snow trails and slides.

I won the award for the most wrecks. I attribute that to my lack of paying attention. And the girls suddenly stopping dead center of the trail. Usually they would be there saying "Great job mom keep on coming down" while I would tell them to move, hoping they would move out of the way, but one would end up falling down taking up the whole trail. It was challenging. I am still learning that last minute turn move. Either way wrecking is not so bad in deep snow. Actually it's funny. The girls would take a poll to determine the wreckability of a hill. There were some big hills with sharp turns and forks. It made for some entertaining times for Dad. He just sent us down and followed behind to "clean up the bodies" along the way. The girls still do not understand why being in the middle of the trail was a bad place to be. They are kids so where you are doing what you do is the best place to be.

I was sad to leave. I love snow and I can't get enough of it. This trip gave us a taste of winter that was filled with fun and plenty of laughter.

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