132: Storm Watch

(On the road to the Wilderness Lodge.)

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.

(Still making our way to the lodge.)

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.

(It’s a wonder we got there at all since I had to keep stopping to take pictures.)

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

(The check-in place at Wilderness Lodge.)

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.

(First look at the ski trail on the west side.)

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.

(Outside of the lodge.)

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.

(My skis.)

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.

(Starting out.)

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.

(Hillocks, or mounds, in the snow.)

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.

(Small hills and curves.)

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.)