after Christmas I did something I haven't done in years - went to
play in the snow. Of course, I would never choose to do this on my
own, but the opportunity to go with my daughter Teri, grandson
Johnny, granddaughter-in-law Brittany, and my great grandsons Jack
and Colton, was irresistible.
We met at
Johnny and Brittany's and left for the mountains about 9 a.m.,
heading up state highway 168 toward Shaver
Lake. Going on the road with a two-year old and an infant under
three months requires a lot of equipment. Since we also had snow
gear, it was necessary to take two cars. Jack rode with his parents,
while Colton and I were with Teri.
He kept up a
constant chatter of observation most of the way, noticing the
mountains in the distance, trees at different elevations, and one of
his favorite things, "neigh-neighs" (horses). When we
started up the section of the highway that rises from 2,000 feet to
5,000 in a few short miles, he announced that we were going way, WAY
started seeing patches of snow a couple of miles below Shaver Lake,
and by the time we turned east on the Dinkey Creek Road, a layer
of white covered the countryside. From that point on, there were
spots of ice and thin layers of frozen snow on the road here and
there. We never slid, but Teri is not used to such conditions.
Johnny, in the lead in a 4-wheel drive Jeep, drove blithely on past
several spots where Teri and I would have been happy to stop.
we reached a very nice place where we could both park well off the
road, at about 5,800 feet, and got into our cold weather clothing.
Colton looked very
sharp in brand new snow pants and boots purchased with birthday
money from great grandpa. I had the long johns and top I had
purchased and not needed for our Canada
trip in January of 2013, plus several more layers, and was very
comfortable except for my toes throughout the time we spent there.
The temperature was probably never above 35 degrees, but it was nice
and sunny and we were moving around most of the time.
after we parked, Brittany strolled off to one side and immediately
went into the snow up to her ankles. We had to choose where we
walked and be careful. In shady places the surface was hard
enough to support us, but where the sun had hit the snow, the crust
was thin and it was easy to break through. Fortunately, we didn't go
very deep. Colton, weighing in at 30 pounds, could walk anywhere
without leaving a mark.
had a little trouble at first, probably because there were slippery
spots on the side road where we parked, but eventually he was
running and jumping and having a great time. Activities started off
with a sled ride - a pull up a gentle slope, and a slow
slide back down. Then Johnny and Colton went up a steeper slope
and rode down without incident. On Johnny's next
trip, a solo effort, the flimsy plastic sled cracked and broke
when he hit some lumpy areas. Another abandoned sled nearby made it
clear that this spot required a sturdier vehicle.
surface of the snow was too hard, and the snow below too powdery to
pack, but Teri wanted to build an "ice man" on a pair of
nearby stumps. Colton refused to walk the short distance from the
main road to the stumps, and did not want to get up on them. A short
time later Johnny and I brought Colton back to this area and this
time he walked across the snow with no trouble and allowed us to
lift him onto
the stump. He spent a long time there, first watching Teri
and Johnny build a tiny snowman, which he knocked off. All of
us then started putting lumps of snow on the stump, and Colton would
either kick them off or knock them off by hand.
this it was time for a
snack - cheese sticks, graham crackers and biscuits left over
from Christmas breakfast, which Colton enjoyed while sitting in the
open back of the Jeep. Obviously, Jack was not able to participate
in most of these activities, but he did enjoy
a bottle, given to him by Brittany and then Teri while sitting
in a folding chair they had brought along. He spent most of the rest
of the time napping, wrapped up warm and cozy in a sleeping bag on
the front seat of the Jeep.
addition to his "official" snack, Colton followed the
long-standing tradition of eating
snow. We tried to guide him to choose portions that did not
include pine needles.
the road there was a large meadow with virtually no tracks, so we
took Colton over there. Johnny went out first, making deep tracks as
he walked about 30 feet into the area. Up to this time Colton had
done no walking unless someone held his hand. I lifted him up
from the road bed to the edge of the meadow, and he trotted out to
where his dad was, without even realizing that he was doing it all
on his own.
that he ran around in the meadow, stomping and jumping trying to
make tracks like dad, without making even a mark on the surface. He
down on the snow with Johnny and Brittany, went into the nearby
trees, and finally experimented with sliding down a short slope
on his butt.
common consent we decided to get loaded up and leave while all was
happiness, since Colton's normal nap time was approaching. He stayed
awake for quite a few miles, finally conking out as we got out of
the evergreens at about 3,500 feet, and sleeping all the way home. I
was tempted to do the same.
Estel, December 2014