I am calling this our After School Special, the day we dashed up to our local mountains in hopes of finding snow. More snow than we played in on our Groundhog Day adventure. In less than two hours we can easily find ourselves in pine and oak tree mountains, where apple orchards and manzanita are in abundance. And, this time, snow, too!
Naturally, we were extremely well prepared for snow when we packed for our Groundhog Day snow quest. We had good gloves, and heavier coats, even a picnic lunch, so of course it was almost too warm. This time we set out with slightly less optimism, and far fewer warm layers. I cannot say what are excuse was, since we could see the snow on the mountains from our backyard! But, it takes surprisingly little to convince us we'll be "fine," even as we are grossly underestimating cold!
The drive alone was worthwhile. We saw deer, and wild turkeys, and quaint snowy fields, snowcapped trees, and cozy mountain cabins. We oohed and sighed at every turn in the road. Since so many scenic spots were off-limits, fenced, and signed against trespass, we continued down the road till we came to a county park.
With grocery bag insulation on her feet, Maria hit the snow with unsuppressed abandon. "I know I've been in the snow before, but really, this feels like my first time. It's wonderful!" Maria is right...after five years, it does feel like the first time, when you're only eight years old. And for the coat and snow pants I bought for her four winters ago, this may be the last time.
This recalls a snowy day, long ago, when Geoff and I were in Wisconsin and we rolled up Grandma Nancy's back yard! The snowball was so big we scooped a tunnel through it, and I stood inside of it. Gabe was there, too. I never forgot how amazing it was that snow could roll up like a pie dough. I am so glad our children could finally play in snow like that.
They had to take care not to stand in front of it, or to let it get away. Even light and fluffy snow gets heavy, when packed this big.
And of course it was cold. Really, really chilling cold.
I don't know what we'd do, how we would react, to an entire winter of snow, but for two hours we were loving it.
The manzanitas were blooming. Even the plants are unsure of how to face winter, and sometimes jump into spring early.
I loved the snow-topped tree stumps. They looked like forest cupcakes. And the oak trees, like this, covered in all the moss and lichen green, then frosted in white and sparking snow... it was all so lovely.
With found implements, and ingenuity, Alex carved up the giant snowball. Max and Maria continued trekking up and down the slope with the boogie-board-sled. And we were all thoroughly delighted with our good luck... finding actual snow, and enjoying the activities, when something completely unexpected started...
New snow falling!
What a treat! Nothing about this in the weather forecast.
So, we sled, and threw snowballs, and made angels, started the walls of a fort, made a giant snowball...
We were in the midst of global-snow joy!
Even playing toss and catch with well packed snow balls. Only a cabin to spend the night in could have made the day any better. Next time.
Acrylic knit gloves, tennis shoes, too small snow clothes... yeah, we were ill-prepared, and our fun was not going to last once the cold took hold.
Poor Maria. Muddy, wet, worn out, and coming face to face with the burning sensation of being much too cold. She was stunned, and then extremely sad. Luckily we did think to pack comfy blankets, and by the time we got to town, and the promise of a hot dinner, everyone was warm and cheerful, again.
Turkeys in the snow. And no boots or mittens in sight!
They don't seem to mind the snow and cold one bit. They just gobble it up!