We are settled in for the long trek home. Over the mountain (literally) and through woods (but first, the desert) from Northern Idaho to Western Washington we go. On a good day we can make it in 5 1/2 hours. Considering that today is one of the most travelled days of the year, it’s unlikely we’ll make it in that time.
Oh, and hey, I just checked the pass report and it looks like it’s going to snow up there all day. Good times. Have I mentioned that this coastal kid doesn’t like snow? Certainly not to drive in. Not really to play in. Snow is best viewed from a lodge, sitting before a crackling fire…with a hot toddy in hand.
Thus, yesterday the husband, the in-laws and myself headed to Silver Mountain ski area for a chunk of the day. To ski? Haha! You’re funny! Nope. I had visions of frosted trees running through my head. You know the photos I’m talking about? Acres of green trees that, in a crisp white line, break to snow covered trees (Unfortunately, I didn’t quite capture that as I would have liked. I think the snow wasn’t quite heavy enough…or the photographer not quite with it).
Silver Mountain has a gondola that goes up the hill, down that hill, up another hill and drops you at a central area where you can ski, tube, learn to ski, or hop on a dizzying number of chair lifts that will take you to even higher hills from which you can chuck yourself off. All in the name of fun.
The gondola is 3.1 miles long. The longest in the US. And as you go up, up, up the Silver Valley unfolds beneath you, then the view broadens to allow glimpses of distant Montana peaks. It’s impressively beautiful. Until the car you’re in silently glides to a stop for no apparent reason, then gently swings in the wind…a great distance from the ground. My hands immediately broke out in a sweat and I cast a worried look at the husband. A couple minutes later it started moving again…as did my heart.
The husband and in-laws went inside to the cafe for a coffee, leaving me to wander at will. Sock hat, down jacket, scarf, glove on one hand (the other left to freeze in the name of artistry…I can’t manipulate camera settings with big fuzzy mittens on)…I was set. We won’t discuss the tennis shoes on my feet (though I at least had wool socks on).
The sun was bright, the snow dazzling, the wind…bitter. Good thing I had one mittened hand to wipe my nose on. The photographic opportunities? Acceptable. I was somewhat hampered by the confined space…ropes were drawn around much of the perimeter to keep people in the “safe” “in limits” space. But, I had enough space to satisfy.
After three perimeter loops, twice with the wide angle, once with the zoom, I headed inside. We made our way back down the mountain (the gondola stopping twice along the way…still alarming but not as much as the first time) and paused for lunch at a restaurant at the resort. A hot cocoa spiked with peppermint schnapps and piled high with whipped cream warmed my innards and brought a smile to my face.