Monday, November 16, 2009

Snowy Weekend in Tahoe - Part I

This past weekend I had the great pleasure of traveling to Tahoe with friends to celebrate Ed's birthday (Happy 29!) and on of our other friend's. As I have so many pictures, I've decided to split the post up into 3 parts so that the posts aren't as ridiculously long :).

Our trip began after work Thursday evening. We all met up at our friend Bill's house and got ready for a long evening of driving ahead. With the fear of potential snow on the forcast, we decided to take a car that had chains, just in case, though luckily, that ended up to be unnecessary. Tahoe is about 4 hours away, and left at around 7pm.

Normally a beautiful drive, we could barely make out the features around us as we traveled northeast across the state. However, we could eventually tell that we were rising in elevation and suddenly, I started noticing pockets of now along the road. Soon, the hillsides were coated in it, as well as the trees. It was a gorgeous sight, with the many stars that we could see twinkling above.

At around 11pm we arrived at the cabin, stepping out onto icy ground and cold temperatures. But, we were excited to be here. We were amazed by the beauty of the cabin, but we were tired. After getting settled, we soon headed off to bed.

The next morning we awoke to crystal blue skies and now capped peaks surrounding us.

After a quick trip to the store to stock up, we had a leisurely breakfast, enjoying a lazy morning. By the time we were done with breakfast, it was almost noon! We noticed that you could actually see the lake from our cabin, a lovely surprise. Ed and I decided to relax with a book while our cabin mates played a game, and then it was time to be active.

Of course, Ed had already done his research and decided that it would be fun to head up to the Tahoe Rim Trail for some good running. I entreated on my friends to hike with me so that I could still experience the trail, albeit a slower pace. However, we made one small error in envisioning our trail running experience:

Snow. Luckily, everyone was a good sport, and we headed off for an adventure. Ed took of right away, aiming for a 10 miler, while we planned on a 2 hour hike. We had dressed warmly and the snow wasn't too deep, so it seemed like a good plan.

While we couldn't see the trail, the footprints in the snow seemed easy enough to follow. It was quiet out in the woods, with only a few others enjoying the crisp (and by crisp I mean freezing - literally) weather. While we initially tried to stay on the TRT, we soon gave up - it just wasn't well marked. Instead, we headed off with some other sets of footprints on a thinner 'trail' that took us to a beautiful, more open area.

We enjoyed seeing the animal tracks in the snow and guessing their owners.

We also had some fun making some 'tracks' of our own. Bill even got motivated enough by the fluffiness of the snow to leave an angel behind on the side of our trail.

Of course, he paid for that in coldness later, but it was very fun in the moment :). As the trail started to get steep and slippery, I voted to turn around, and back we went. We did have a fun surprise, though, about halfway back. Ed! He had caught back up with us and was enjoying his run, even with freezing hands. I gave him my gloves (which apparently didn't help much) and then he was off again.

We felt like we were getting close to the end, but the last part was deceptively long. Eventually, though, we made it back. There were a few sections in the last part that weren't snowed over, and walking on that dirt made me appreciate how much easier it is to hike without the snow. While I really enjoyed the cushiness of walking on fresh powder, it certainly is more difficult. Back at the car, we waited just a few minutes and Ed came up the trail from the other side. He had completed his 10. With just a few steps between myself and a nice warm car, I made the tactical error of misjudging the slipperiness of the road. Even with a warning offered up by Will about the dangers of the road, I still fell. Even more embarrassing, it was in front of a family. The woman quickly called to her son, "Go see if that woman is okay!" I called out to the boy and mom that I was fine before he could run over. Cheeks reddened, I headed more carefully to the car, rubbing the sore palms of my hands. For the rest of the trip I was very careful around ice.

As we were about to leave, we took one look out over the meadow, taking in the setting sun and the icy mountains in front of us.

Back at the cabin, we were ready to warm up. The boys put a log on the fire

and I got started making my healthier but still delicious chili. It's a cooking light recipe and never fails (at least it hasn't the two times I've made it). It's pretty easy and seemed like the perfect food for a cool wintery evening. I read while it cooked, and in what seemed like no time, we were sitting down for a piping hot meal.

I realized how fun it was to cook for more than just Ed, and laughed as both Ed and Will had 4 servings of chili. Good thing I doubled it!

Once we couldn't eat any more, we cleaned up the table, kept pouring the wine, and played cards into the evening.

It was a wonderful first day in a wintery wonderland


Glenn Jones said...

Beautiful! I so miss the mountains....

Jean said...

Wow, snow!!! Even though I am from Minnesota, it is always somewhat jarring to see snow when we currently don't have any! :)

What a gorgeous place, and it sounds like a fantastic time was being had by all. And your chili looks delicious!