How glorious a greeting the sun gives the mountains! John Muir, 1838-1914, Scottish-born American naturalist and author.
On Tuesday morning, bright sunshine greeted us and we decided to go up the mountain. The snow had stopped and was lying beautifully across the countryside.
At 10 am after a leisurely breakfast, we left the house. But the queue to get up the Mountain was at a standstill at the gate to the lodge. I spoke to some people who advised that there had been a couple of accidents on the mountain road and everything was at a standstill. However, we decided that the crashes would soon be cleared and we would wait in line. Well we waited..and waited..and waited.
We had the foresight to prepare lunch knowing that the queues for food in the cafeteria would be long and so we had our picnic sitting in the car.
Eventually after 3.5 hours we had traveled the 7 kms to the area where they were fitting chains. And there was some confusion (and short tempers) here as only one man was fitting chains while the other stood around chatting to the drivers and taking their money. The guy to whom we spoke had been on the mountain since 7 am and hadn’t had a break – by this time it was 1.30 pm. So we plied him with the remains of our picnic, candy bars and chocolates to keep him going.
The next 10 kms took only one hour with much stopping and starting. People losing the chains; others stopping and not being able to start again on the slippery slope. But eventually we arrived at the carpark. And what a fantastic site greeted us.
My friend got kitted out to ski and the other two of us walked with her to where she was going to board the chair lift to the summit. We waited while she donned the skis and then hot-footed it into the cafeteria for hot chocolate and french fries. What the h.ll the diet could wait until tomorrow.
We spent a very pleasant couple of hours while the skiers did their thing and we sat in the warm supping hot chocolate and reading our books. Then it was time to head home. We all decided that the long drag to get to the top had been well worth it.
Arriving back at the lodge the fire was started. But oh dear! Smoke filled the house and the fire brigade had to be called. So, and much to Lotte’s delight as she had been on her own all day, suddenly five very large, yellow clad firemen were walking through the house. They put out the fire in the grate and then went outside to climb a ladder and peer down into the chimney. Apparently there had been a chimney fire and we were advised to have the chimney swept before lighting another fire. What excitement.
One of the guests staying in the apartment was driven to question what was going on. Two fire engines, lights flashing and sirens going stopping at the entrance to the lodge and she thought she might have been in danger. However, once the fire trucks had left, we invited her in and shared a couple of drinks with her. Soon her husband, son and his girl friend joined us and so we had an apres fire-party going.
Dinner though was a rather subdued affair. We had all had enough excitement for one day and so all took ourselves off to bed early with a good book. But what a great day and how grateful I am to have such days and such great friends with whom to share them.
Another quiet day at the mountain.
“Man is the only creature that dares to light a fire and live with it. The reason? Because he alone has learned to put it out.” Henry Jackson Vandyke, Jr. 1852-1933, American clergyman, educator and author.