I’m going to try to get my post published early today. I have a lot to do so we’ll see how it goes. The weather folks have been yammering on about The Big Winter Storm for the past several days. Round One came through last night and early this morning. The sound of it woke me up around 2:30am. I couldn’t figure out what it was at first. It was a whooshing, shooshing, tinkling sound. I finally got up to look out the patio door. Being dark outside, I didn’t see much so I opened the door and realized some sort of frozen precipitation was falling. Whether it was sleet or freezing rain, I’m not sure. Very likely sleet from the sounds of it and the way things looked this morning.
In case you don’t know the difference, sleet is snow that melts in the sky and refreezes before hitting the ground. It’s a lot like hail. Freezing rain, a condition MUCH worse, is snow that melts and doesn’t refreeze until it hits a cold surface (when the temperature on the ground is below 32°F), causing a glaze of ice to cover everything. This usually results in limbs falling off trees and power outages, not to mention (but I will anyhow) slick surfaces.
Round Two of the The Big Winter Storm is expected to arrive this evening in the form of freezing rain. If all goes as predicted, that could mean a power outage which also means no water as well as no heat. To get ready for that, I’ll be filling up pitchers, bottles, and the tub with water so we can cook, drink, wash up, brush our teeth, and flush the toilets. (When the pond isn’t frozen, we can use pond water for that last purpose.) Cooking can be accomplished on the gas stovetop since we don’t need electricity for that. M will be hauling in firewood for heating purposes.
I also have to get outside for my daily adventure and feed the birds.
The Weekend Ski Trip
As stated in a previous post, M and I made our way over to a ski resort (The Wilderness Lodge) in Pennsylvania on Sunday morning. I don’t think we could have timed it any better. The fresh snow we’d had overnight had been cleared from the roads, and it provided wonderful cross-country skiing conditions for us. When we checked in the woman who took our money and gave us our ski passes mentioned that the forecast had been for an inch of snow and they got about seven inches instead. With everything covered in snow, it sure was a beautiful ride.
After checking in and before putting on our skis, I took a couple of photos. Then I put the camera away. Not being familiar with the trails, and not being confident enough on skis to take it along, it seemed a good idea. M and I decided to stay on the west side trails, behind the lodge, because (we were informed) those would be the easiest trails for beginners. Even the intermediate trails were not too bad and we were able to handle them.
After about an hour of skiing, we went to the lodge for some lunch. I did not bring my camera with me inside the lodge. I wish I had. It was a very winter skiing type of atmosphere. Nothing fancy. There was a roaring fire in a round fireplace as you enter the eating area where people put their gloves and mittens to dry out while they warmed up.
We had a delicious meal (soup and sandwiches) along with some hot tea. We decided to stay away from the bar, the beer, and the wine since we were going back out for some more fun in the snow. After refueling our bodies, we bundled up again for another round of skiing.
This is where things got a little risky. I decided to take the camera. I put it under my coat and hoped for the best. If we had decided to try different trails, I would not have taken it. But we did okay on our first time around the beginner and intermediate trails so I thought I could risk it.
I didn’t remember the first and biggest downhill portion as being as long as it was. I suspect that’s because I took it very slowly the first time around. As I was going down the second time, I wondered where the big hill had come from. About three-fourths of the way down my skis crossed and I went flying forward, crashing into the snow. Thank goodness I managed to land in such a way that both the camera and my body were fine.
There were plenty of people out and about but most of the time M and I had the trails to ourselves. Of course that wasn’t the case when I fell. There was a group of about six people coming the other way to witness it.
With the fall out of the way, and being none the worse for it, I was able to carry on without the nervousness that initially plagued me and have some fun skiing and taking photos. It was so beautiful back in the woods that I really wanted to be able to capture some of it. I’m glad I took the risk.
It was also remarkably quiet in the woods. It was so quiet that when we stopped to listen, all we could hear were our own inhalations, exhalations, and heartbeats in between the occasional whoosh of snow as piles of it, large and small, fell from the trees.
It took us a little longer to go around the loop the second time. We avoided the trail marked “cardiac hill” except to stop and take a photo of M looking as though he just finished coming up the hill. By the time we finished we were both thoroughly and wonderfully exhausted.
The Wilderness Lodge is about 40-50 miles south of Erie, Pennsylvania which is where we went next to spend the night at a hotel there. We had a lovely dinner at a pub near our hotel and then, being so worn out, we crashed around 9pm. That worked out well as we were up bright and early on Monday for our next adventure. You’ll have to wait until tomorrow (or until the power comes back on if we have an outage) for the rest of the story.
It’s time for me to head outside to deal with some chores, storm preparation, and meet my daily commitment. If anything of interest happens, I’ll be sure to come back and update this post. (I don’t really expect that will be necessary.)
I woke up very early on Sunday morning to a winter wonderland. The overnight forecast was for a light dusting of snow. As usual, the meteorologists got it wrong and we had a few inches of fresh powder. What made it more remarkable than previous snows is that it was the kind of snow that sticks to everything so the trees were all covered in what looked like confectioner’s sugar. It was a beautiful sight.
I had hoped to go out and take a few photos but didn’t find the time. M and I, a few days before, had decided to pack up our skis and boots and check out the cross-country ski trails at a Nordic ski resort in Pennsylvania. We had no idea at the time of the amount of fresh snow Mother Nature would provide.
It looked like this when we started out:
And stopped along the way to find things had changed a bit:
But found we had really entered different territory when started along this road:
I am so thoroughly, utterly exhausted (gotta find a better word for that so I can avoid the adverbs) that you’ll have to wait until tomorrow to hear the details.
It was an extraordinary adventure. I saw things I have never seen before. And I saw myself in ways I’ve never seen before. Best of all, M and I got to share all this newness together. It sometimes amazes me that after all this time we still manage to keep things new, as if we’re just starting out on our adventure together.
On that romantic note, I am signing off for the night. See you tomorrow. (And for those who asked/wondered… There WILL be snow.)
Today’s walk was hard work. The snow is just about up to my knees in most places. It’s at hip level where the drifts have formed. Trudging through it is a good cardio and strength workout.
I was thinking that I don’t really want (or need) anything for Christmas. I’m trying to downsize my ownership of stuff. But after today’s walk I’ve changed my mind. A pair of snowshoes would be nice, especially since I am committed to getting outside every day this winter (and beyond).
M wants cross-country skis. Those would come in handy, too. I think, though, I’d feel better balanced with snowshoes. I have not yet taken the camera with me when we cross-country ski because I fall at least once, something that is probably not good for the camera.
It took me about an hour to work my way around the pond and back into the woods. Normally, when there is no snow, I could make it around in about 15-20 minutes at a brisk pace.
I saw lots of birds on today’s excursion into the great outdoors. Mostly chickadees and cardinals. There were animal tracks at the back of the pond. Having no experience with tracks or tracking, I’m not sure what they were. Birds have left their scratch-like tracks on the edges of the pond, probably looking for a drink.
That’s about it from the Bogs for today. I’m off to reward myself with a cup of hot chocolate. If you hurry over, I’ll make a mug of cocoa for you, too.