Cold Day to Be Out

Beautiful Ski Day

Federal holiday? Check. Day off for me? Check. Cold? Yes sir.

The day started at our house at 14 degrees below zero. OK, it really started at 12 below when I first got up, then dropped to 14 below by sunrise. Cold enough to experiment with a Super Soaker filled with boiling water. Which I did not do. Every day can’t be perfect can it?

I took my daughter skiing today. We bundled up and headed to the slopes because it was a sunny day and we had the time and we should do it while the snow lasts. Vermont has this great program where every fifth grader can get a Ski Vermont Passport, which includes three passes to most ski areas in Vermont. She has one. Awesome, right? Except there are black out dates. The days when most people will be able to go are the days it does not apply. Love that crap. But we went anyway and paid way too much for a ticket for her even though it was way cheaper at Bolton Valley than at some other ski areas. That is why the passport is such a good deal. Just not today. Anyway, we went skiing and had a great time and there was plenty of snow and it was sunny as all get out and simply beautiful today. But it was cold and breezy. Maybe 15 degrees tops. We got cold hands and feet and took some runs and warmed them up and went inside to get warmer still and had a snack and called it halfway through the day.

After a sandwich in Waterbury we headed up Route 100. I tried hard, and pretty much succeeded, in convincing my daughter that we had a chance to see something amazing. A northern hawk owl has been hanging around Waterbury for a couple of months now. This resident of the far north rarely comes down our way and to have one so close is a chance to see something in nature that many people simply won’t ever get to see. It has stayed in the same general area and many people have had a chance to see it, but until today I have not tried to see it. I noted to my daughter that people are driving up to Waterbury from all parts to see this owl as it is their best chance to see one without having to head to the tundra. I learned that someone had seen the bird that very morning so I was hopeful.

Even on a bitter Monday afternoon we ran into six other people looking for the hawk owl. No one had seen it. We didn’t either. We stuck around for a while but were out of luck. Hopefully I will have another chance. It won’t stick around forever. So we headed home, warm in the car, quiet. A good morning of skiing, some fun together, a foray to find something interesting. Not a bad way to spend a Monday. Happy Presidents Day.

A Western Day

It was a day that made me feel that I was in the west.  The sky was clear blue and the winter air made it seem I could see forever.  The snow on the mountains shone brightly in the sun.  Everything seemed to be in high relief.  It was a high contrast perfect type of day.

It never rose about freezing.  The highest temperature I noted was 27 degrees.   The sun, however, warmed things enough that the children ran around for a couple of hours without jackets.  I trust that they know when they are cold.  They will ask for more clothes if they need them.  Today they were good to go with sweatshirts.

The air was dry.  I ran six miles this afternoon, abandoning my winter hat not long into it for a brimmed cap.  Once I warmed up I did not worry about frostbite on my ears even with a breeze.  The sun is higher now.  Two months ago the same temperature and wind conditions and clear skies would not have felt so warm.  Spring arrives in one month.

I felt tired running today.  I might be fighting off the sickeness that my wife managed to catch.  She spiked a fever.  She never spikes a fever.  If I had even a touch of that business, it makes sense that I would be tuckered after six miles.  Although, admittedly, I felt tired even at mile one.  What gives with that?  But I slogged it out slowly and felt fairly good by the time I got back.  I hope tomorrow gets me going in better shape than that.

My run today reminded me of runs I have taken in the west–cold, clear days with air that feels fresh.  It only feels that way around here in the winter.  The trees are bare so I can see much farther and the air is dry.  We rarely get that dry air here in the summer.  We get plenty of humidity and lots of green.  I don’t think of that as western.

There is a good chance we will get a storm later this week.  Tomorrow will be another beauty and I am taking it off for President’s Day.  I need to celebrate my patriotism and all that.  Wave a few flags and remember the deeds of great men.  I will do some playing of some sort.  We head to the Adirondacks in a week.  I am hoping we get a blast of snow in time for that.  Then we can do lots of playing, western day or not.