Presidents’ Day holiday weekend was very enjoyable. Andy (Chris’s brother) and his wife Maria came to visit for their annual snowshoeing trip. The weather was beautiful, it was bright and sunny each day.
The fun began on Saturday. The guys had a “tee” time at Sierra Meadows Country Club in the small mountain town of Ahwahnee where they played a round of golf.
Maria and I, too, had a “tea” time. We went to Time for Tea in nearby Oakhurst.
After drinking a pot of gourmet tea at the cozy Victorian-style shop, we perused the shelves at a quaint boutique called The Purple Cow Mall. The Purple Cow boasts over ten thousand items to choose from. Maria, a non-beef eater, purchased a bag of salmon jerky. After shopping, we headed to the country club and sipped gin and tonics on the sunny patio while waiting for the guys to finish up. By the time they were done, we were ready for dinner. Andy and Maria treated us to a special anniversary dinner commemorating the anniversary of their first date. [They met over a decade ago. She was my friend and our next door neighbor. On their first date, the four of us dined at a sushi restaurant then attended a Willie Nelson concert at the historic Fillmore Theater in San Francisco. In remembrance of that inaugural evening, they chose Oka Japanese Restaurant for dinner.
Sunday morning Maria and I were up early and attended the 7 AM Mass at my parish, St. Joseph’s Catholic Church. St. Joe’s is celebrating a significant anniversary as well: its sesquicentennial anniversary–150 years.
Then the four of us piled into the Suburban. Last year we snowshoed at Mariposa Grove with hardly any snow on the ground.
This year we headed to the Badger Pass Ski Area.
We forgot that it was a holiday weekend and that everyone and his brother would be taking advantage of the perfect weather. The parking lot was as crowded as a mall’s at Christmas time; yet we were able to find a suitable spot not far from the day lodge. I was hoping for a remote snowshoe adventure, but all trails were occupied. With snowshoes in hand, we headed to the Old Glacier Point Road trailhead.
The wide trail was congested. A bus load (literally) of tourists along with their guide took off before us and unknowingly clogged the trail. The crowd was listening quietly to their guide speak about the trees. Our snowshoes made so much noise crunching across the packed powder, that as we approached, the people parted reminiscent of the sea parting for Moses, and we passed through easily. Knowing that we had the throng behind us, we picked up our pace until we came to a split in the trail. Our choices were to continue straight on Old Glacier Point Road towards Peregoy Meadow or turn right and head uphill towards Tempo Dome. We chose the hill thinking that the guided group wouldn’t tackle it.
The four of us reached the crest separately. Approaching the highest point, the distant yet beautiful panoramic view of the snowed capped Clark Range mountains came into sight.
My husband sat atop a frozen rock facing the mountains. I looked back at the downward sloping trail and saw the bus ensemble at the base of the hill. They won’t come up here, I thought. When Andy reached us, he unpacked a bag of peanut butter pretzels from his backpack. We rested for a bit gazing at the winter wonderland surrounding us while chewing the salty bites. Then we saw the tourists from the bus traipsing up the hill. That was our cue to move on.
Again we had a choice: move southeast towards the Ostrander Lake Ski Hut or move northwest towards the ski slopes. We chose the narrow northwest trail trying carefully to maintain separate tracks from the cross-country skiers.
We heard a gentle breeze blowing through the trees and smelled the scent of pine in the air. This section was a trekking treat with few people around. As we moved on, the trail opened up to the top of the more difficult Rabbit Ski Run. The snow there was quite fluffy.
Maria and I were a little apprehensive about walking down the steep slope, so the guys went ahead of us keeping to the right and out of the snowboarder’s way. We connected with Beaver Run and continued downhill eventually joining the Old Glacier Point Road trail. Looking up that trail we saw the large bus group coming back as well.
We had walked a loop of 3.25 trail miles and were ready to attempt another, possibly part of the Dewey Point Ridge trail. As we passed the parking lot on the way to the next trailhead, we saw the Suburban and began thinking about lunch. It was too cold outside to sit for a picnic, so we called it a day and drove to Tunnel View. We parked there and ate our bag lunches in the car while watching the tourists come and go. (I tried some of Maria’s salmon jerky–I think I’ll stick with ordinary beef jerky.) This is a great spot to photograph Bridalveil Fall, El Capitan and Half Dome.
Afterwards we drove to the valley floor and stopped at the Ahwahnee Hotel for drinks: Firefalls (spiked hot chocolate) and Bloody Marys.
We walked through the unique hotel and found a comfy spot to sit by the fire for a moment before heading back home.
Monday was a lazy day although Chris and Andy played nine holes of golf at River Creek Golf Course. Maria and I relaxed at home; we took a walk, sat in the sun, read our books, and talked until the guys returned. This was such a fun weekend! I hope that Andy and Maria will consider coming back here next year for their annual snowshoeing trip.