Winter trails

Sometimes – the road not taken is pretty scary

“It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out of your door. You step into the Road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there is no knowing where you might be swept off too.”- J.R.R Tolkien Lord of the Rings.

It’s daunting – packing up what you can and leaving the comfort of home. But even if your path doesn’t offer jewels and dragons – it’s still rewarding.

New Years 2020. Our family headed back to the mountains for more skiing. We love the sport, but also needed an escape from the pandemic people don’t notice – until they or their loved ones are on death beds from it. But I’m not here to get preachy – just to make sense of our upheaval. This trip is winter skiing and we are trying to leave early in the morning to avoid winter storms and driving in the dark.

Our last trip – we left a few hours later than intended. 12 hours is a difficult drive in a day – but entirely possible. It’s the 12th hour weariness that gets you. Especially when going to the mountains. That weariness on our last trip struck just after dark when a family of elk decided to cross the road. It was a miss thankfully – but a narrow one. At any rate we decided that leaving Texas at 5am was a better call than arriving after 6pm.

Of course it’s raining while we load the car down. The kids have just returned from other parents so they are entirely unprepared. And a new strain of the pandemic is haunting our trail.

I’m ready to give up – stay in – but there she is. The love of my life pushing us ahead. She knows the wonders on the other side of the road. And will stop at nothing to get us there.

5am – the wake up call was harsh, but the weather was even less forgiving. 3 hours of pouring rain – but we had 1 goal. Finish the 12 hour drive from Texas to Colorado in 1 day with 3 children and a chihuahua in tow. Luckily, the girls were cooperative, and we reached the condo before the rain froze. The only casualty was a tire – still not sure if its flat or cold – but I guess thats what they make tomorrow for.

The tire was just low because of the cold. Although, airing it up didn’t work. It turns out, the cars internal meter doesnt work well if they don’t tell the computer that the tires were rotated. Fortunately, it didn’t impact driving much – and the roads were miraculous. We were on the slopes with very few complications – and spent a fantastic day recycling to the bottom of the mountain. I’m not sure that despite my obsession, I was able to take a single picture.

The next day did not go as well. We wake up – get everything ready and packed – hit the button to start the car – and listen as the annoying click of a dead battery whines and buzzes. We had a battery booster that we didn’t now how to use – so the Good Sams guy had to come rescue us. We missed half the day on the slopes, but the lodge was a bit of a ghost town, and there was no wait on any lift.

The rest of the week was off and on fighting the battery issue – as it turns out both the alternator and battery were bad. But the slopes were great the rest of the week – and we didn’t let it kill out spirits.

Of course, the gruesome picture at the start of this article was from the last day. After driving 12 miles down icy roads in a rear wheel drive, we took a 4 mile hike through the snow, across frozen rivers, and into the canyons. A peaceful meadow surprised us with the carcass of what appears to be a coyote or wolf. It added a little excitement to our journey, looking for the predator that did this – but in the end it was just a great hike through snowy fields – and we were home.

Check out the landscapes from our adventure in [winter wonderland gallery].