Here it is almost the middle of January and I'm still talking about Christmas. It was a fantastic year for two reasons.
1)We were able to spend quality time with my family and Denver's family
2)Denver was able to drink some coffee out of his Christmas mug.
I've been wanting to hike White Mountain for ages and Denver has been wanting to check out the Bristlecone Pine trees for just as long. The Bristlecone Pines just happen to be right below the White Mountain summit/trailhead. We made a deal, he'll hike with me and I'll look at pine trees with him.
The ancient Bristlecone Pines are thought to be the oldest known single living organism. This one is apparently not living but they have dated some of the living trees to over 4000 years of age.
View of the Sierras from across the Owen's Valley
A hummingbird's nest?
Our plan was to sleep at the trailhead and wake up with the morning light to make our jaunt to the summit. Instead of sleeping, we spent an ungodly amount of time burrowed in our sleeping bags in the back of the truck, listening to the wind howl and the gusts shake the canopy.
I had read earlier in the guide book that "since the trail was basically a road to the top a moonlight hike was a pleasant option". We certainly weren't sleeping so with the promise of a pleasant moonlight hike and some other faulty reasoning we laced our boots and headed up the hill. It was dark and cold and miserable, can you tell from the above photograph? Maybe someday we'll do it again and actually see a view from the summit.
First light of dawn on our way back to the truck. Our only thought was of a steaming cup of coffee and a donut at the local bakery down the hill.
There's a high pressure ridge that's been sitting on the whole west coast in general and our piece of the Sierras in particular, since Thanksgiving-ish. I've never been big on griping about the weather, but everybody has a breaking point. Get ready to hear me gripe.
I never knew that weather could cause so much angst and frustration and general misery. It can. Not in the grand scheme of things, but in a small inconvenient sort of fashion. This high pressure apparently has the tenacity of a starfish clinging to a piling at low tide and is refusing to to let go, even for a tasty mollusk. The weather and snow forecasters are predicting the same clear cold weather for another 2-3 weeks. No storms, no snow, just endless suns.
We've settled into a little routine for our weekends during this unusually long shoulder season. We go for a ride one day, a trail run another day and up to Squaw Valley on the third day. Kind of different to have all of those options open at the same time. Last weekend was our fourth in a row being faithful to the routine and we have become intimately familiar with the two runs that are open at Squaw Valley.
One of the best things about going home for the holidays is spending time chatting it up with my sisters and my Mama. There's always too much to say and too little time. The conversations are even more fun these days with little Miss Kayce involved. We wonder what we ever did without her quirky antidotes and perspective on life. Her favorite topics are still earrings and baby dolls but the older she gets the more she can listen and converse on any subject of general interest. And boy does she love joining into the mix. She nestles her tiny frame in the thick of things tosses her hair over her shoulder and gets down to business.
Over the weekend we attended Soma school. Ours was a mini-school, a two-day conference, that was held at our community church. We spent the days listening and learning about missional community living and then stayed up late energized by what we had learned, re-hashing and reviewing. We were inspired but also found that when a good vision runs head-long into reality it can be discouraging. Which only reinforced the knowledge that it takes a larger power for anything to really change or happen. A larger power and maybe a drink or two.
We're checking the forecast and doing the snow dance but still nothing more then a few inches here and there. Just enough to limit activity up at higher elevations. We've been trying to keep things interesting by riding the local trails that we haven't been on before or riding the same trail in the opposite direction or convincing Denver to do something cool like eat-a-banana-while-scratching-his-chin-and-keep-pedaling. Super cool, right? We've by no means explored all the options but it's time for something new. Something new = Snow.
We know some folks who have a cabin and spend lots of time at their cabin. Sometimes we're lucky enough to join them.
This man is passionate about fires. The good-kind of fires. The kind of fire that you watch and enjoy and warm your toes by, not the kind that will send you to jail.
Isn't this what cabin days are all about? Don't let the picture fool you. These folks aren't nearly as mellow as they appear. Mr four-minute-mile-man and his wife (who is equally as fast) are the most committed runners I have ever met. Rain or snow, late night or early morning, these folks lace up their shoes and head out the door.
Their commitment to running and running fast is just a tiny example of the way they live life. They live life with purpose and intention. They are committed to living a life that serves and gives credit to Christ.
They are purposeful about community, family relationships and their relationship with each other. They are committed to healthy eating (even though eating healthy is expensive and is hard on a budget). They're committed to living on one income and raising a family. They're making decisions that are counter-culture because they belive in something bigger then themselves. And somehow, in the midst of all this intentional living mumbo-jumbo, they make life look like alot of fun.
Asphalt isn't very forgiving and why oh why was I wearing my favorite jeans. I also put a nice hole in my down jacket and feathers were fluffing into the cool fall air as I hobbled all the way back to the truck.
Ma and Pa L. inherited a wide variety of feathered friends over the weekend. Some people that they knew were moving, so Pa gamely offered up the long abandoned chicken coop as a place of refuge for the wayward creatures.
Little did he know how numerous the huddled masses turned out to be. Out from the dark concealment of the trailer strutted no fewer than twenty-five Chickens, four turkeys, twelve guinea fowl, five chukars, and two pheasants. Here is a sampling of the hilarity:
Denver finished his part of the remodel ages ago but I've been waiting to post pictures. Waiting until I felt like the decorating/furnishing portion was finished. Unfortunately, this whole "saving money thing" is really cramping my style and it might be ages before everything is just right. Unnecessary household fluff didn't make it on the new budget.
The guest bedroom from the living room
Denver finished the desk earlier this week. I'm pretty stoked.