Wednesday, August 15

Baker

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It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. Elaine and Bob flew in, and we all went up to Mt Baker, near the Canadian border. A friend from Amazon joined us there, and we all stayed at a small cabin in Glacier, WA. On the way up we bought necessities like mac and cheese, and wine. We tried to obtain an airplane book from an obviously-closed airport outside Arlington, WA. Bob insisted on driving around this creepy place for a long time, until we finally found the “24 hour” gas service. Basically, Bob was to be served by a credit card machine, but he was no closer to getting his much sought-after flight book. Oh well.

Saturday morning was greeted with pancakes, eggs, and bacon, courtesy of Bob and Elaine. Then we all plugged our way up the hill through the rain. We drove past the signs that said things like “All vehicles must carry chains” (which we didn’t have) and “Site of the world record 1,140 inch snowfall” (which looked quite possible, judging by the ginormous banks that lined the road on the way up). There are two camps at Baker, and the upper camp was closed. We trudged into the lower camp, all raring to go. Unfortunately, we noticed pretty quickly that (a) the lifts were not running and (b) there were a lot of racer-types mulling around that really should have been up on the slope. Half a game of spades later, we learned that the lifts were closed for the day. But that’s not to stop us…

We then got out our snowboards and skis, and began hiking. Nicole stayed inside, but the rest of us hiked up what seemed like forever but in fact was only a few hundred feet. We rested, wheezing, at the top for a moment before plunging down. Many of the racers were busy building short jumps so that they could practice their skillz. After one run down, Elaine and Bob were through, but Jordan and I hiked up again. I made it pretty high this time, so that I could no longer see the lodge. I had quite a decent run, but then that was about it. We were home by noon.

Saturday afternoon was spent playing an awful lot of cards and other various games. No cell phones, no internet, no real TV, no DVD player. It was like we were thrust back to 1980, and it’s true that all the games we played were from that time or before. Spades, Scrabble, Scattergories — these all reared their heads. Throw in some hot tubbin’ in the pouring rain and we had a complete afternoon. In the evening Bob tried to pick a barfight with a guy in the only restaurant in town, and we ended up asleep at a decent time.

However, it was all worth it come Sunday, when the sun came out, the snow stopped, and the slopes opened up. Super Bowl Sunday though it may have been, we had no desire to watch the game with the amount of powder that had rained down the previous few days. Nicole and Elaine took some lessons and then we all spent the day zipping down the slopes. My favorite part was taking the hard blues and blacks on my snowboard. I am by no means at the skill level necessary to do so, but the extremely forgiving nature of soft powder made it just so much fun. I’d hit a puff, go down, roll over, pop up, slide some more, roll down the hill in a cascade of snow. I learned how to fall gracefully through the moguls on a board, and even Nicole didn’t end up too sore by the end of the day.

It was all topped off by a long drive back, a crushing Seahawks defeat, and smooth delicious sleep.

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