Sunday, February 12, 2012

A Great Day on the Mountain

I have two stories and a pile of pics to share from yesterday's outing to Stevens Pass.

First the stories and then the pics.

Photogenic Fog

While it is a bit of a nuisance to ride in foggy conditions (especially if you're the type who likes to actually see where you are going as you bullet downhill), fog delivers a solid payoff in aesthetics. The moisture in the frigid air frosts the trees with a fresh layer of white; yesterday's fog also protected the layer of snow on the trees that remained from the previous night's snowfall. The foggy atmosphere creates a special beauty that is easily captured through the lens of the camera. I snapped pictures till my frozen fingers couldn't take any more, but my eyes could have gone on forever.

Sisterhood on the Slopes

As I was happily making my last few turns on the lowest face of Skid Road (translated: I was skiing along), a little girl skiing right in front of me had a bit of a yardsale (translated: she fell down and her skis popped off). Instantly, I considered stopping to help her, but noticing that she was about ten years old, and probably quite capable of handling herself, I decided to show her a vote of confidence by minding my own business.

Half a second later, as her plaintive cry of "Mommy? Mommy!" rang through the air, I realized I had made the wrong decision. Her mom was nowhere in sight so I immediately hit the brakes and sorted through my options. I was about thirty feet downhill from the poor kid, and could easily hike up to where she lay, but then I noticed that my fourth daughter, who was my companion for the day, was coming up just behind her. 

So I hollered to my daughter to stop, and then asked her to help the stranded girl get her skis back on. I could tell she was a bit apprehensive, but she slid right up to the girl and helped her stand up. I could see them looking at each other and at the gear, motioning back and forth.  I was too far away to make out their words, but I could hear the murmur of their conversation as they assessed the situation, worked out the problems, and eventually got the little girl back on her skis and good to go. 

During this time, I stood watching and waiting. I considered hiking up to lend an hand, but then I thought how sweet it was to see this pair of girls, one a teenager, the other just a child, work this out on their own. While my daughter still seems like a young girl to me, she must have seemed like a full-grown angel to her new friend. I decided to stay in my place, and let the moment belong to them.

We watched the little girl ski off and rejoin her mother, who was waiting at the bottom of the hill, and as we passed them, I could see that she was talking to her mother in a very animated way. I smiled to think of what she must be saying. As my daughter and I rode up the next lift, I said to her, "That was a really nice thing you did." 

She didn't say much, as is her way.

But an hour later, when we went inside to eat dinner, the little girl and her family were inside too, eating at a table near ours. Neither of them said a word to the other, but I saw the little girl meet my daughter's eyes, and they both smiled. 

What a great day.

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