Adventure and Routine – A Restorative Weekend

I meant to write this last night, but since I was feeling so mellow from the weekend, it didn’t happen. We didn’t have the kind of weekend where you stay in and bury yourselves in books, but we also didn’t have the kind of weekend where you explore 15 new places. Instead, we did a little exploring, a little winter routine, and none of it on a schedule. By the time Sunday evening arrived, I was feeling refreshed and ready for Monday (or “today” if you’re on this side of the world).

Saturday afternoon we roused ourselves for a hike. We settled on Pyramid Point, because it has a nice view, and we hadn’t been since July. The road situation is a bit different in the area this time of year. Last time I drove my sister’s little front-wheel drive car down a two-track with no problem (well, except that we had to take said two-track because I briefly got us lost). The other day, I could only spot the road because the top foot or so of the road-marker pokes out of piled and drifted snow.

We parked at the bottom of the road the trail is on, and hiked up to the trailhead…to begin our hike. I knelt in the snow for a close-up of some dried Queen Anne’s Lace, convinced it was the only decent shot I’d get for the day thanks to dense cloud cover and intermittent swirling snow.

After the short climb, we reached the Lake Michigan overlook, and though the view isn’t what I’ve come to expect, it was spectacular in its way.

Guess which one was from July – even though it was 57 and raining that day :(


Fine snow poured through our duration at the top (admittedly brief) so that we never did glimpse the horizon. What you can see in the left image is a break in the ice, which now coats nearly 50% of the lake’s surface.

Back in the warm confines of our car, I noted that sunset is now happening at nearly 6:00, and that we had time for some beach exploration if Tony and Petey were game. They were.

Considering the impending sunset, we knew our time on the ice would be short. Since it’s such a novel world though, every find is unique and exciting, making even a quick trip worth the effort. With the shore in this condition, I feel like I’m visiting a polar region. Icebergs sit perched and cracked on top of yet more ice, some of which you can see Lake Michigan’s teal through, and some of which expands out in little white pancakes toward the horizon.


Ice caves yawn at the west toward previously incoming waves, their savage maws nonetheless inviting you in. I answer their call. Eventually, the sky darkens enough that we call it a night before someone breaks an ankle (again).

Yesterday (I’m sure because we had gone adventuring on a cloudy day) dawned bright and blue, so we geared up for a morning of skiing. Though fiercely cold, the groomed trails were a blast, and I hope it stays just a touch warmer so we can get out more often. After a late lunch at the best brew-pub in existence, we returned home for a little snow shoveling followed by an afternoon walk. Most of our route was beautiful and sedate, with the exception of the biting winds when we faced west.

Oh yes, we also saw a veritable herd of turkeys…nearly four dozen!


And though only a few crepuscular rays shone through in the west as the sun set, the east held a lovely pink tinge, a gentle ending for a gentle weekend.

White Friday

While other folks went on crazed shopping adventures (Today is known as “Black Friday,” if you live in a country that doesn’t immediately follow a day its national day of thanks with rampant consumerism), Tony and I began our 2013/14 ski season. Get it? (Snow) white Friday? I thought so ;) Our first couple of runs felt a little stiff and shaky, but our muscles soon remembered their jobs. Slightly scary quickly turned into brisk fun. We didn’t stay long – there were only a few runs open, and we had a long walk planned for the afternoon – but man did it feel good to be back on the snow!

By the time we left the ski resort, the skies were beginning to cloud over, but Alden was still sunny on our way through, so we pulled off at a public access spot on Torch Lake.

visit to Torch Lake

The frosted islet called for closer inspection.

visit to Torch Lake-3

We walked to the very edge (sorry, Mom – we definitely got close to the edge!), and then turned back. We hadn’t brought our bathing suits, and didn’t feel like wading.

visit to Torch Lake-2

Some places practically beg you to slow down, and admire deeply. This was one. Tony and I both just stared, taking in the serenity of the whole, big icy picture.

And then we looked closer.
The individual blades of grass are worth clicking for the larger version


myriad icicles

After an hour poking around – so much for a quick stop – we finally dragged ourselves back to our car, and then home.

The past two days have been pretty terrific, and there are still two more days in the weekend. I wonder what they hold. Got any inspiration to pass along? :)

Leaving the Snow in Favor of…Snow

Last Sunday Tony and I drove two and a half hours south so that we could fly about 1,000 miles west. We were headed to Denver for some business and then on to Winter Park for skiing. Since the weather in our own backyard wasn’t ideal, we left early and ended up ambling around the Grand River in Grand Rapids. The riverside path was several feet under flood water, but it still made for a pleasant evening.

(The right image features in-camera effects; it’s not really quite that dramatic)

Continue reading

Ski Season, Check – Spring…?

Yesterday was a gorgeous day. The sun stained the lingering morning clouds pink before rising brightly, and the air was clear. Tony and I took off at 8:30 for our last rides down the slopes at Shanty Creek for the season. The snow was slow, but the resort was uncrowded, so we didn’t mind. We played in all our favorite places, and then tested the (frozen) waters of some steeper runs that we had avoided on account of they were either too bumpy or icy. The fresh powder gave me the confidence to suggest we tackle Kingdom Come – a quick 450-foot drop down the face of Shanty’s biggest and steepest hill. Continue reading

Winter Marches On

Tony and I took a bit of a long lunch today, opting for the twenty-minute trip over to Shanty Creek instead of to a restaurant. We didn’t have the slopes to ourselves, but we enjoyed an hour and half of uninterrupted runs – mostly over the rolling hills built into the terrain park.
March skiing Continue reading