Archive for December, 2009

The Great Snow of 2009

It was with all that hype that I went to bed last night, rather disappointed that there was only a dusting of snow to be seen at 11:15 p.m. Great, another blunder in the world of meteorology where being wrong half the time won’t cost you your job.

Imagine my utter surprise when I awoke to find four inches of snow blanketing town and more on the way. Now THAT’s more like it Mother Nature!

Now alot of folks would freak out and stay inside (or worse, be stupid and try to get their convertible pontiac whatever off the side of a hill with the top down) but not me. I had cards to be mailed. And plus, come on, I own tons of winter gear! Chad and I bundled up and headed down to the post office (and liquor store because it never hurts to have a bottle of port on a snowy day).

It sure is fun to play in the snow when you’ve got nothing to do. Lots of fun.

After a quick snack and a rest, it occurred to me (thanks to her loving husband -ed) that we owned snowshoes that had never been used. So back we bundled and off we went, going up and around neighborhood (and seeing the aforementioned folks in the convertible – kids, if you aren’t driving a snow worthy car, just walk) enjoying the 6+ inches of snow (while being pelted with yet more snow).

I love snow days, even if they are just Saturdays in disguise.

ps. our siamese Kimi REALLY wanted outside. She started out the back door a few times but then thought better of it. When we went out to put on the snowshoes she snuck out onto the front porch.

She gave it the old college try but retreated to the porch by the time we’d gotten into our snowshoes and were heading up the hill. I dare say, I doubt Kimi is going to be making any more breaks for freedom any time soon.

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chris on December 19th 2009 in Family

From the Archives

So my Nun-Nun’s house is an organized archaeological dig. Flinders Petrie would be thrilled – no need to grid out and sift pot shards since most of the important stuff (like photos) have been neatly organized and labeled.

From the depth of some box was unearthed the following photographs, which nearly ended up in a dust heap, if not for my step-dad snagging them and handing them over. My mom is not much of a keeper of things.

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chris on December 19th 2009 in Family

Chimney Top or BUST

It all started innocently enough when ruanwv causally mentioned at MAGPI’s October beer & wing night that they’d never been on a group cache. After a resounding chorus of “What?” from the gang I shouted said, “I’ll fix that.” And since runanwv appeared to have an inclination for a good, old fashion, vertical hike of pain and doom (and also since the cache filled in a Fizzy Challenge square) I offered up Chimney Top Cache.

None of the above is in any way surprising. Pretty much it’s taken for granted that I’m going to offer up some impossibly insane difficult cache for a group hunt because that way there are plenty of extra people to get my carcass back to the vehicles should someone push me over a cliff  I have a horrible accident. It just makes sense.

What was surprising is that no one called me out on the insanity of tackling Chimney Top Cache when A) I am in really not great physical shape due to spending most of my summer & some of my fall sitting around doing nothing (thanks Never, owe you one) and B) the route to the cache appeared to be a 3 mile vertical hike of switch backs. NOT. A. SOUL. Thanks gang. Good to know you’ve got my back. Oh and by the way, I’m so not responsible for anyone foolish enough to follow me.  I think we all know the standard disclaimer  “Just because SSPG does it, doesn’t mean anyone else should.”

And so our tiny crew of me, loyal sidekick, Aqucache & ruanwv headed off to meet our possible doom. No one said my associates are any smarter than me (and fortunately no one had mentioned that to ruanwv).

It was indeed a gorgeous day to be out hiking in West Virginia. And the tight quarters at the parking area indicated that we were not the only ones to think so. After some deft maneuvering both vehicles were safely parked and we were ready for our hike of doom leisurely stroll up the hill. WAY. UP. THE. HILL.

It was not so very long before the little tiny (but LOUD, man are they loud) voices in the back of my head started questioning my decision to choose this cache. Hey CHUCKLES! they shouted (and boy do I hope no one else heard them). “You remember how you spent this summer, right? On your ARSE. And NOW you think you’re just gonna walk up THERE like it’s nothin’? IDIOT.” (Yeah, my voices aren’t very nice, but at least they’re honest.)

The hike up was S…L…O…W…and for once I was quite thrilled that one of the group was still trying to be not-dead-yet. Gave us all good excuses to slow down and hang back. Make a stop or ten two; stretch the calves. You know, good hiking habits.

After at least 5 days of steady climbing UP, UP, UP  we hit the Cliffs of Doom overlook, our first scenic waypoint. Bless the cache owner for scenic waypoints. (I totally take back all those nasty things I said about SenecaRocks during Fear Factor Saturday.) I was also quite delighted to find a wondrous cool diagonal rock on which to lower my body temperature back to its normal 98.6 or so degrees. Yes. It was uncharacteristically HOT WAY up there in the mountains. Way freakin’ hot. On November 15. In the Mountains.

After some photo ops and delicious snacks, we reluctantly shouldered our packs and continued UP. Man. I hate UP. But what I hate more than just UP. Is UP over rocks covered in leafy goodness. UP that doesn’t stop. Up to the top of the world where one will not find the promised cool, crisp wind shear, but rather 76 degrees.

Yes. It was 76 degrees on the top of Chimney Top on November 15. Shoot me.

After a good time relaxing, cooling down and refueling. As well as exploring, taking photos and letting our muscles get cold and cranky, it was time to retreat. The descent took a much shorter time, despite all of it being done upright and using both feet (rolling had been considered, but the trail was seriously lumpy).

Excellent cache. Excellent company. No one let me choose the destination next time.

Pass the ibuprofen, won’t you?

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chris on December 8th 2009 in Geocaching