In Frogland

January 20, 2010

It was just a teeny-tiny fever, hardly enough to cross the line from cold to flu and I was such a good girl, staying home from work, sleeping , sleeping. So when my friends Deborah and Tony called to ask if I wanted to go snowshoeing in Great Falls Park a week later . . . I so excited I bounded through the halls. It is the tail end of the virus, I told myself. There is just a touch of congestion and you know how breathing cold air clears your nose like nothing else.

Truth be told, after a few days inside I was prowling like a tiger in a cage. A record snowfall had hit the D.C. area the prior weekend and I had yet to be out in it.

Originally uploaded by albolivarphoto

The sun was bright on the snow. I got out my cross-country skis then decided, no, I probably was not up for the exertion of cross-country skiing. I would splurge for new snowshoes. A quick call to Tony, who was at REI in Seven Corners, and I was on my way, riding the metro dressed like Nanook of the North in my red Norwegian anorak with the real wolverine ruff, my wooley sherpa hat and gaiters. I was a little worried the metro pooh-bahs might not let me take my old bamboo ski poles on the metro (could those pointy metal bits at the ends serve as weapons?) but no one said a word.

Deborah and Tony fetched me from the East Falls Church metro stop and we were off. In the parking lot, Deborah and I tried on our new ultra modern snowshoes while Tony opted for something that looked more akin to elongated badminton rackets–I am sure they were made to be hung criss-crossed on a ski lodge wall and not to be actually worn–but he said he liked them even though he could not lift his foot more than a few inches and the back point dragged in the snow. The snow was breathtakingly beautiful and I could not wait so I forged on ahead while Tony and Deborah fussed with their equipment. Back and forth I went in deep snow, sinking in a bit less with each repetition as I cleared a section of path. This is a lot of work, I thought as I sucked in air, then womp, womp, womped my way back to where I could see the car a few hundred feet away.

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They Made It!

April 17, 2009

I was in a meeting, but when I heard my cell phone ring, I jumped to my feet and was pulling the phone from my purse in seconds. “I won’t answer this, I just want to see if it is Anna and Dan,” I explained to the bewildered woman sitting in my office.

It was Anna! Despite my promise I opened the phone. “The last few days have been unbelievable,” she said. “You would not believe, Mom, how difficult it has been.”

I smiled. I felt like I had known. Yes, I had not been there, but I had sensed it in my spirit, in studying the topo maps and the snowy ground from satellites, and hearing the weather reports. I had asked scores of people to pray for their safety. They had not encountered high winds at San Gregorio Pass, famous for its blowing sand. In fact, that passage had been unbearably hot, eight miles without a single tree in still hot air. “The only shade,” Anna reported, “was in the I-10 underpass. But the next night, 8000 feet up the San Bernadino Mountains they experienced winds that made the tall pine trees a 100 feet high look like upside down pendulums, swinging back and forth. Two large pine trees fell so close to their tent that they felt the ground shake. The flexible poles on their tent bent under the wind then snapped back to attention all night long.
Anna also described the perils of navigating old snow, melted and frozen to icy on steep slopes.
But in the end they made it and are now at Big Bear Lake in a room with a bed, a hot tub, and a mini-fridge. Bravo Anna and Dan. Yeah God! He is good.