Friday, December 26, 2008

A white and slippery winter

Wow...it's been a while since I've posted :) I've been keeping up with all of you, but life has been busy and unexciting enough that I haven't been keeping up here.

Life has been much of the same, lots of working (though I'm getting better at taking some time off in the evenings) and not much on the leg front. After waiting to no avail for a call from my new doctor, I called and made another appointment a few weeks ago and got seen again. This time he had me run on a treadmill for about a mile and a half and examined me before and after to see if that shed any light. Not too much, but he wants to go forward with a piriformis diagnosis and get me PT for that and for a weak ankle that might also be contributing. I was supposed to get a perscription for the PT in the mail last week but, as of Saturday, there was nothing, so hopefully it'll be waiting for me on my return.

All of CA (and more or less all of the country in fact) has been battered by storms these last few weeks, which made for some gorgeous scenes of 'winter wonderland'. Imagine my surprise driving to school last week and seeing snow all over the surrounding hills and mountains. We had gorgeous views from the playground and much excitment over a puddle that had frozen over during the night ("It looks like glass!!!!" One of my students shouted with glee, holding up a shard of ice and then hurling it onto the asphalt to let it shatter). The snow didn't last long but really made it feel like winter.




On Ed and my journey down to So Cal to visit my family for Christmas, we made a stop in Visalia, Ed's hometown, to visit with his brother and sister in law and to celebrate the holidays with them and his mother. We decided to take advantage of Visalia's proximity to Sequoia Natinoal Park, and planned a snow day for Sunday with a romantic overnight in a small cottage in the town of Three Rivers.

Ed, his brother and I, after picking up chains for his car, headed to the Park, despite a storm advisory for the area. We paid our park entrance and headed up the mountain. After about 15 minutes of driving it began to rain. As the temperature dropped the rain froze, and small balls of hail poured down on the car. In not too much longer, it became a thick blanket of snow.

At about this point, the car ceased to do exactly as it was told. Namely, it started sliding around a little. Now, I am not exactly the most adventurous person out there. Especially when it comes to a feeling of being out of control. We continued to inch along the rood, hoping for the promised turnout to apply the chains (well, cables actually) that we had purchased, but soon I could take the slipping around no longer. Becoming just a teensy bit hysterical, I demanded we stop the car where it was, in the middle of the road, and get those cables put on.

Standing in the steady snowfall with the cables laid out on the ground, we began appreciating too late the first directions "please apply cables to the car before the actual need arises, to ensure proper fit." Ends up, neither Ed nor Ed's brother (not to mention myself) had any idea how to put these things on. As the directions became soaked with falling snow, I saw the wonderful sight of a park ranger vehicle pulling up behind us. "You folks need help?" he asked. I immediately jumped in, telling him we would love assistance. With a few quick explanations, we soon realized we had been trying to put on the cables completely wrong and started anew, getting them secured in 15 minutes or so. With a friendly wave, the ranger was off and we climbed back into the safe and now snow capable car.

Or so I thought.

Despite the addition of cables, the back wheels (that were wearing the special gear) were going in a different and somewhat horizontal direction comared to the front. Naturally, I didn't take this sensation calmly. We stopped at the official chain spot and the boys tightened up the chains and I suggested, with the snow still coming down heavily, that we should turn around. I was convinced that it would be much better as we got further into the snow area so on we went.




our new driving conditions

the snow coming down
Trying to keep my panic to a minimum, I clasped Ed's hand as we continued up the beautiful snowy mountain. As we got to a turn in the road, the wheels lost traction and we got stuck. Ed got out and pushed and got the car moving again. Again I suggested that perhaps, with the storm, stranding ourselves on a mountain wasn't be best idea. Again, I was turned down. We got stuck one more time (and freed once again by Ed) and inched ever closer to our new, closer destination of the Giant Forest Museum.





a roadside observor

I told the boys that I would be asking a Ranger for a ride back down the mountain, as there was no way I trusted this car to make it down the mountain, which was acknowledged with a smile, and, finally, we arrived.




Well, it was gorgeous. After sitting in the museum, warming up and calming down, we headed out on a beautiful hike through this winter wonderland. The weather had lifted, with even some blue sky poking through, and we spent the next hour exploring a trail that went around a large meadow. Our trail shoes worked fine on the snowy trail, and the walk helped calm my nerves.



I relented to riding down the mountain again with the boys, on the condition that if the car slipped on our way down the hill in the parking lot, I was getting out and hitching a ride with a more capable vehicle.

Of course, the car did fine. The ride down was uneventful and unslippery, thanks to some effective salting and plowing of the roads, as well as the break in the storm. I read a book on the way down, my adrenaline decreasing with every twist in the road in which the car stayed firmly planted to its ground.

We made it to our final destination safe and sound and happy. It was a beautiful and overall enjoyable day in the mountain and it reminded me that I need to work on letting go sometimes and just enjoying the ride.

2 comments:

Southbay Girl said...

Addy, sounds and looked like a wonderful day-minus the car and chain issue!!! I liked the observer!!! Glad you had a nice day!

Christine said...

That does not sound like a situation where it was unreasonable to panic. But I'm glad it all worked out and you had a good time.