Archive for the ‘Holidays’ Category
Our tradition is to snowshoe to Skyline Ridge on Little Christmas Eve (that’s December 23, for you non-Norwegians out there), but since my parents are coming for Christmas this year (yay!), we decided to take advantage of the only sunny day in the foreseeable future and just ring in Christmas a wee bit early.
It turned out we were a little too early – there wasn’t much of a consolidated snowpack, so when I popped through the snow and fell into a perfectly Ingunn-sized hole, we decided that walking through a rock garden full of gargantuan boulders wouldn’t be the best idea.
We retreated and found a suitable, non-treacherous place to enjoy a relaxing picnic and just talk and soak up all the sun we could before heading home to play with the pups.
The only problem with this hike is that I’ll always compare it to the magical, marshmallow world-day we had up there a couple of years ago…but this year’s trip scored extra magic points thanks to the homemade peanut butter cups a friend had made for Thanksgiving. Mmm.
(Did you notice that I’m wearing a human-sized version of Mukmuk‘s toque? Hells yeah! Thanks, mom!)
Whaddya know, a whole month without blogging! The good news is that my unplanned hiatus was due to having too much fun with no need to resort to the internet for entertainment. The bad news is that I am now so old that if I don’t document my adventures, I forget all about them…so here, in chronological order, are my December highlights:
Hiker in training | I have no words for how cute Carlos and Deborah’s brand new tiny human is, and he’s already been on his first hike. Maybe I’ll finally have a trail partner I can keep up with!
Mike’s birthday weekend in Whistler | I’ve never skied with views this beautiful or runs this long. My legs felt like they were going to fall off, but a huge smile was stuck to my face all weekend.
Winter Warmth Concert | The Head and the Heart and Florence and the Machine in one night? Oh yes, yes indeed.
Annual Skyline Ridge snowshoe | We were hoping for a repeat of last year’s gloriousness, but got skunked on the weather. Meh, who needs views when you have a picnic of gingerbread cookies and hot toddy with your beloved!
Winter Solstice TNAB | Snowshoeing to Hyak Lake in the dark to celebrate the Turning by consuming copious amounts of gløgg (and some sort of sinister blue liquid) with a group of lunatics. A holiday favorite!
Christmas Cabin | We have spent many a happy weekend at Tom and Dani’s cabin this past year, culminating in a Yuletime feast of shcnow schnow, white elephant gifts (we scored a Go Girl and a dancing gopher) and general happyfuntime with some of my favorite people.
Cross-country skiing to Tipsoo Lake | 11 miles round trip on Highway 410 (on day two of a migraine, no less). I confirmed once again that I love skiing uphill while going back down is absolutely terrifying. Will put in an official request for a) skis with metal edges and b) a sizable pair of cojones.
Christmas with the family | After spending our last three Christmaseseses alone, JK and I (and Wellie!) loved celebrating with my parents again! Unfortunately we all contracted some sort of plague and spent most of our time sniffling on the couch, but at least it’s better to sniffle together than alone.
The Hunger Games | The only good thing about the plague was that it gave me an excellent excuse to obsessively plow through the entire Hunger Games trilogy in three days. I know I must be the last person in the world to discover these, but holy mackerel, what a story!
Because we live so far away from everyone and everything we knew back in Norway, I seem to be desperately trying to throw down some roots here in Washington by starting new traditions. If we can’t spend Christmas with our families, we need other little rituals to look forward to.
December 23 is called Lille Julaften in Norway, Little Christmas Eve. Christmas Eve Eve? Whatever you choose to call it, that’s when my family would decorate the tree (with the shrill tones of Hanne Krogh’s Christmas carols as our soundtrack) before eating risengrynsgrøt and settling down in front of the tv together to watch Dinner for One and that most wonderful of all holiday movies, National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.
Last year we spent Little Christmas Eve on Skyline Ridge, where we met Tom and Jasper. Doing it once makes it a tradition, right? Why yes, yes it does! So this year we shuffled back up to Skyline Ridge, accompanied not only by those two stout beasts, but also the welcome additions of John, Scott, Josie and the yellow dogs.
‘Twas cold (as a Christmas hike should be) and we didn’t really have any views, but when we reached the ridge we decided to keep on going anyway. Tom led the way down the backside of the ridge and then up again, steeply, until we reached the Sky. Sky Mountain that is. Unfortunately we still couldn’t see anything, and the wind was giving us all Rudolph noses. We retreated until we found a sheltered spot for cookie consumption, snowball fights and mocking of antlered dogs.
It’s not quite the same as being back home, but this is a tradition I have already grown to love. While we don’t have family around for the holidays, we do have good friends…and we have the Griswolds on DVD.
Happy holidays! I hope everyone had a good *insert your holiday of choice* celebration. I was a little concerned that Christmas would feel sad this year without having any family over from Norway, but JK and I (and the pups of course) had a wonderful time.
For us, Christmas begins on the 23rd, Little Christmas Eve. Since we knew we wouldn’t be getting a white Christmas in Redmond this year, JK took the day off so we could find some snow in the mountains instead. Out of sheer laziness, we went back to Skyline Ridge. I was there just a couple of weeks ago, but it’s short, easy, doesn’t require any planning, and it seemed like the perfect place for JK to try his new randonnée skis. I followed him on snowshoes.
We had been promised sun, but skies kept changing from blue to grey to white to yellow and pink, which made for some eerie light but unfortunately blocked our views to the north. As we climbed above the Stevens Pass ski area, we got some excellent views into the Alpine Lakes Wilderness.
The local views weren’t bad either – after listening to Alvin and the Chipmunks in the car on the way up, the snowy trees were all it took to finally get my into the Christmas spirit. Bliss!
(If anyone has any tips on taking photos of snow on overcast days, please share – mine always come out dull, grey and flat, even if I overexpose the shot.)
Mount Daniel was looking particularly handsome and dramatic:
As we rounded the lake, I spotted a familiar white and black dog in the forest. It was Jasper and his dad, Tom, on the way back from a peakbagging adventure on the other side of the ridge. They joined us for the rest of our trip (even though it meant they had to go back up to the rock garden), which was good for me so I could have some company on the way down while JK skied.
JK made it all the way back to the car without falling (or so he claims), and then we headed home to get started on the nut loaf and risengrynsgrøt…and the donning of gay apparel.