Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Snowy Hike to the Landscape Arch

It was around 4:00 p.m. when we started our hike to the Landscape Arch Monday. It wasn't time to get dark, but we were in the shade and that did affect my photos. The trail was just completely snowpacked with no ice, so it was an easy walk to the arch. The last time we hiked to the Landscape Arch was with my brother and nephew when it was 103 degrees. This time we were freezing since the sun wasn't shining on us.
At first view of the Landscape Arch, it kind of blends in and is easily missed. You have to keep going on down the trail to see it more clearly.
A little bunny was the only wildlife we saw while we were at Arches. I kept trying to get closer and closer, but he was scared away from the squeaking sound of my boots on the snow.
Since the Wall Arch fell in August, it makes me wonder how much longer the Landscape Arch will be with us.
If you ever have the chance to visit Arches in the winter, it is definitely worth it!! This section of the Devil's Garden looks so different than it did in the summer.

Wintery Moab

We took a little break from skiing this week due to the crowds of people on the slopes that are here on vacation. I really wanted to see Moab in the winter, especially since they've had so much snow. The La Sal Mountains have a lot of snow now. I'm not sure what the smoke is here that was near the Naturita area, but it did make a cool photo.
Much of the highway between Telluride and Moab is open range. I've never seen cattle in the road in the summer, but they were sure on the pavement to get out of the snow this time.
It was a cold day in Moab, but sunny, so we decided to go to Arches National Park and do some hiking. First on our list was the Delicate Arch hike.
The beginning of the trail was pretty icy. We chose to walk in the snow or mud when possible.
Thank goodness the snow has melted off of the steeper parts of the trail. It was 27 degrees, a sharp contrast to the last time we did this hike at 100 degrees.
The hike to the Delicate Arch is 3 miles round trip and Maralee did great. She didn't stop too often to rest, either.
The scariest part of the hike is the narrow ledge. I'm sure many people are too scared to go across here when there is no snow or ice. The trick was to walk on the edge in the snow and not on the ice that was against the rock wall. I highly suggest bringing some YakTrax and I definitely plan to if we ever do this again.
Garrett and Savanna are under the Delicate Arch here, probably too tiny to see them.
A picture of someone taking a picture.
"I live in a very small house, but my windows look out on a very large world."
I think this is a new favorite quote of mine. I saw it in the Arches gift shop and it said it was by Henry David Thoreau. When I Googled it, it came up as a quote by Confucius. I'm not sure what to think about Arches selling books printed with the wrong name. This is one of the best photos I've ever taken, definitely one of my favorites ever. Maralee was very proud to complete the hike.
Now for the part of the story that I wasn't sure I wanted to share on my blog, but since Garrett is okay, this is what happened. He decided to do a little butt sledding at Arches National Park. Not really, he just slipped on the ice and slid down aways as we were at the end of the ledge part of the trail. The purple line shows where his slide started and the direction he went down. He could see the area he would be stopping below him, and used his arm to steer in the best direction. Whew!!
This is Garrett getting up from his sliding fall. He had a very clear and sunny area to walk on back to the trail. Maybe we discovered a new sport, butt sledding Moab, Utah. No, really I don't suggest it. Thank God we all made it back safe and sound.

Record Breaking Snow

Telluride broke the record amount of snow for the month of December AGAIN! In December 2007 we had 95 inches of snow, and this December we received over 100 inches. Someone had mentioned a prediction of a drier winter with not much snow. Mmmmmhhhh. Yesterday I drove east of town to see Bridal Veil Falls. This winter it is open to ice climbing for the first time in decades. I should note it is for expert only ice climbers. It is the time of the year when we share the roads and part of the sidewalks with the snow. It is the law to keep the sidewalks clear of snow here. That is one plus to living in an apartment where clearing the sidewalks is taken care of for us.
Snow storage is an issue during times like this.
The Mountain Village Market parking lot is nice and clear right now. I took this photo of skiers on lift 10 when I went to buy groceries yesterday.

Friday, December 26, 2008

White Christmas

We definitely had a white Christmas! We've had one snowstorm after another and haven't really seen the sun in a couple of weeks. Look at this ginormous icicle outside!
Jay and I worked Christmas Day and the kids just played inside with their new toys and video games. I made a huge dinner of rosemary beef tenderloin, sweet potato casserole, cranberry, walnut and feta cheese salad, big wheat rolls, and a pumpkin custard pie. We have enough leftovers to eat a full dinner again.
Here are the kids opening gifts from us. They got up at 4:30 a.m. to see what Santa brought. Thank goodness they waited until 6:30 to wake us up!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Sledding Telluride's Firecracker Hill

Tuesday we were just too cold to think about riding a ski lift, but the kids wanted to get outside for a little while. We went to the town park for sledding at Firecracker Hill. I took loads of photos and videos!
Savanna is trying out her new snow skate here. It's kind of like a skateboard with no wheels. We've been letting the kids open one present a day since Saturday, and she and Garrett opened their snowskates Tuesday. I don't know if this something we'll carry on as a tradition, but I admit it will be nice not to have a huge pile of wrapping paper to clean up for Christmas.
I can't help but laugh at Garrett in the next three photos. Don't worry, he wasn't hurt.
You can get an idea of how deep the snow is as it is touching the top of the fence here.
The park has a groomed trail for Nordic/cross country skiers. There were a few out enjoying it despite the 19 degree weather. This is the stage at the park where we have the big festivals. It's hard to picture several thousand people sitting in camping chairs there now.
A bunch of sledding videos!

Freezing Cold Skiing

Wow am I relieved to get this blog update going! This morning when I tried to start this post, I had a message from Google that I was out of storage for my photos. I've used up the 1 GB of free photo storage, so I paid $20 to get 9 more. I've uploaded a lot of photos since starting this blog! I don't mind paying a yearly fee for photo storage. I really like the Picasa photo editing and Blogger is free. Anyway, it's been a freezing cold week here. I don't remember the last time we had a sunny day. We've been slammed with one snowstorm after another, and now we could get 3 feet of snow on Christmas Day!! Our week of skiing started with Alpine Chapel Mountaintop Church. We've been to the mountaintop service many times in the summer, but this was our first winter one. Here's Pastor Tree talking to the "congregation" and you can see Lizard Head and wilson Peak back there. Maralee, my little skier. Savanna snowboarding with a cool shadow.
Snowboard angel.
We've been watching this little log cabin being built in Mountain Village for several months, and it looks like it still isn't finished. You have to be way back from it to even fit the whole house in a photo!
Check out this peaceful photo of the Nellie ski run. On our days off when we are enjoying skiing or other outdoor activities, it's easy to forget there is a world outside of what we are doing.
This is Jay and Maralee skiing down the peaceful Nellie run, freezing cold in the snowstorm. I didn't get any photos of Garrett this time because he was always way ahead of me.