Saturday, February 26, 2011

More Snow...a Lot More Snow

On the way back to the cabin from Homewood, we stopped at the ski rental store and turned in my skis for snowshoes. At that point, when I was feeling, oh-so-not-part-of-my-skiing-family, I really just needed the promise of doing something I would really enjoy, even if it was going to be a solo trek. It seemed like some snow hiking and a peaceful afternoon to myself might be just what I needed.

It was snowing when we got up on Thursday, making Daddy decide not to take our fledgling skiiers back out to the slopes. So, there would be no peace in the cabin. Daddy put the chains on the van and we had breakfast at my favorite little spot in Carnelian Bay. And we went back to the cabin. As soon as there was a sign of the snow letting up and with the rest of the family all zombiefied by one screen or another, I put on my snow gear, swiped Daddy's nice sunglasses and set out with my camera.

Ahhhh. There's nothing quite so beautiful and quiet as the woods in the snow.Walking in snowshoes can be hard work, but I was much more in my element than I'd been for the past couple of days. I took photos of the cool little things I saw along the way.One of my boots was giving me problems, but I managed to ignore it for the most part. That is, I ignored it until I suddenly realized I'd dropped Daddy's expensive sunglasses in the snow where I'd last stopped for photos and I really needed to go back for them. Fortunately, I hadn't gone too far, but by then, my boot was really killing me. I triapsed back up the hill, found a piece of the glasses sticking out, grabbed them and headed back the way I came. Now, I was really going to have to head back to the cabin. I couldn't keep my socks from slipping and the rubbing on my left heel. I got a little lost with all the trails in the snow, but fortunately not disoriented. I made it back within half an hour or so.I arrived back at the cabin to find Daddy creating a sled run on the hill across the street. I was relieved that the kids were finally back outside. And sled runs are fun!Until this happens...That doesn't even look so bad, but then this happens. and sledding is done for the day. Too bad. I missed most of it. But with my foot still hurting, I couldn't have made it up the hill anyway. And no wonder it hurt!Maybe I should learn to pay better attention when my body's trying to tell me there's a problem. Ouch!

We knew there was a storm blowing in later on Thursday and that it was supposed to last through Friday, but we stayed in our cabin because a) I'm cheap and we'd paid for it and b) I really wanted to visit some friends on the way back and Thursday was a school night for them so we really needed to swing by there on Friday. It retrospect, it probably wasn't our best choice. This was our driveway on Friday morning.I hurried to clean up the cabin and feed the kids breakfast while Daddy went out, excavated the van, reinstalled the chains he'd been able to remove the previous day and packed the car. Still, we weren't out of there until just after 9 o'clock. The road wasn't looking so good.But CalTrans' website said the highways were still open and we'd already been told the next renters would be coming regardless and we had to get out. So we left. The road up to the main freeway was dicey and by the time we actually reached the freeway, they were turning traffic around. We were stuck.Stuck in McDonalds. Turns out there are worse places to be. McDonalds has cheap coffee and free WiFi. We hung out for an hour or so. Daddy's iPhone went off with a Facebook update from one of his friends.

She wasn't going skiing because they'd closed Alpine Meadows. It was going to be a lazy day at the cabin for her. Oh, really? I thought. "Think she'd let us crash with her if we need to?" I asked?

I hastily composed a quick message asking if her cabin could be our emergency backup. She replied. "ABSOLUTELY!" They weren't far away either, so we readied to leave McDonalds, which was getting crowded, and head to her cabin. The storm was still pretty ferocious as we left.We ran into a long line of cars waiting for the freeway to open and couldn't get past to the road we needed, so we turned around and headed for another street that would connect us with where we wanted to go. Should have known better, of course.

The road to hell, I'm convinced, is paved with steep, snow-covered hairpin turns.

We reached the uphill hairpin, but had to slow too much for an oncoming car and couldn't make it. The van wouldn't move. We backed down the hill, so a four-wheel SUV could get past us. It had a hard time making it too, but cars kept coming and we had to keep moving back and back and finally into a snow bank where we couldn't get out.

Fortunately, people in the mountains seem to be pretty nice and very helpful. A good samaritan in a big red truck came by and offered to help. He also had a shovel. He and Daddy dug us out of the snowbank and having had enough of the hill, we turned around and went back to the main road.

This time, we made it to the turnoff we needed and slowly made our way to our friend's ski rental cabin. The snow was so high in her neighborhood, it was hard to find, but we made it sometime between noon and 1 o'clock. And there we stayed, learning that the friends I'd hoped to visit had stomach flu plaguing their house and keeping an eye on the highway webcams and the CalTrans road conditions pages for hours...partaking in our generous hostess's tea and hot chocolate and feeling thankful for saving our leftover pizza from a few nights before and bringing it with us...for just this occasion.

Right about 3:30, there were signs that the main highway was open again. Cars on the webcams appeared to move and as soon as the CalTrans page said 80 was open, we packed up our stuff and left, with Daddy's friend and her boyfriend blazing us a trail in their GMC Denali.Although it started snowing like crazy again by the time we made it to the highway, we got there without incident and started the slow trek through the mountains towards home. By now, it was 4 o'clock and we were just leaving Tahoe.

It was a long drive into Auburn, but it was nice to finally see the sun again, hitting the snow-covered trees. (If you look carefully, you also be able to tell that our drive probably wasn't nearly as long as the drive in the other direction.)We stopped for dinner around 6 and arrived home around 9:30, exhausted but happy to be here...where there was a reported chance of snow while we slept.

No comments: