Bath, 2012

My friend Forest rented out a whole BNB for a week and invited a bunch of us to join him for however long we could. I took him up on it and did some skiing and snow shoeing.

Friday February 10, 2012

I'd managed find a car enabled person who was going for the same nights I was, and after double checking that my skis would fit in her car (go go gadget Pennsic vehicle), we made plans for Sara to pick me up after work on Friday. I had agreed to cook dinner for the group on two nights (teach me to volunteer a choice of recipes and to say okay when Forest said yes to both), so I stopped at the supermarket on the way home to grab the last few non perishable ingredients. I'd made up the jerk sauce for the chicken the night before and due to copious reminder notes managed to get it out of the fridge and into Sara's car when she pulled up. I had a fair amount of stuff, since I was bringing my snow shoes and cooking supplies along with my skis and my clothes and sleeping bag/pad/pillow in case I didn't get a bed, but everything fit well and we were soon off on the road north. It was pretty much a straight shot up 93 then a winding car sickness inducing crawl along 112. The upside of that dark stretch was that we saw a wolf (!), a hare and a skunk.

It took about three hours to get up there, and I was surprised to see so few cars in the lot already, we had a shot at beds! :) Forest and Vanessa were there already, as our main organisers, and Jim and Jessica had driven up earlier today as well. Erik and Amelia, old friends of Forest's, were also there by then (and I'm probably going to forget who was there when). Sara and I were able to claim two beds in a three single bed room, dropped our stuff and I was quick to climb into my swimsuit and hit the hot tub in the attached barn. Most everyone had been in there when we arrived and Rick (the caretaker) gave us a tour, but people were mostly cooked by the time I got back and I think I hung out with just Jim and Jessica for a while. I changed into some warm loungy clothes (I'd brought a corduroy skirt and wool sweaters and tall socks) and sat by the fire talking with people until I realised that it was past 1am and ran to bed after some drunken grilled cheese making on the big grill in the kitchen. I had a hard time sleeping until I put ear plugs in.

Saturday February 11, 2012

I stumbled down to the kitchen at around 7am and think I attempted speech with Forest before getting enough tea to be coherent, sorry about that. :) Rick and the owner were on had to make us a pile of breakfast food, the gingerbread pancakes and fruit salad were great, and I had some scrambled eggs, home made bread and a small donut. I ran upstairs to brush my teeth and get changed for skiing and nabbed a seat in ... either Jim or Forest's car as we headed up to Bretton Woods. It was a nice drive, and I got to see the mountains in the daylight. I had bought a discount ticket from Jim, and it just had to be attached to my jacket and I was ready to go. We started at around 10, and met up for lunch again at 1pm. I was on my own most of the morning, ranging around the slopes trying to find terrain that I liked with as little ice as possible. The blues weren't challenging, but most of the blacks I saw had thin cover. I finally found a super short but super steep black and ended up sticking with it most of the day. After lunch I'd meet up with a few of the others on the lifts and do a run or two, but I was mostly on my own. We stayed until the isolated lifts closed at just before 4pm. I had a hard time finding people in the lodge because they were tucked in the corner beyond the band, but a text message soon sorted me out. They finished up their drinks and we were soon back on the road. I was definitely with Forest and Vanessa this time, we stopped at the Shaws to pick up the chicken thighs that I needed to make dinner, and they got salad fixin's. I also picked up some tonic water, as Sara had bribed me with gin to feed her. :)

Kevin and Sarah arrived today, and Sarah greeted me with a big hug in the kitchen. She and I shared the stove as she made their vegan meal, I dove right into preparing the rice and peas once we got back to the house. Got that into the oven, a quadrupled recipe in my glass casserole dish, but wasn't happy with how it turned out - it could probably stand to go in at a higher temperature, or for much longer. Sara and Forest helped me out by cutting up four packages of chicken, and I got it into the marinade for 20 minutes before sorting out a second big pot and spoons to stir them. The big stove in the kitchen was a bit of a challenge, it had two simmer burners and three regular ones, but one would only go at the high level. Got it to work out eventually though, and people were appreciative of the chicken at least. It was funny, Jim didn't remember quizzing me about the rice and peas the night before. :)

After dinner, I finally got out of my ski clothes, took a shower and then had a dip in the hot tub for a while. Others had the same idea, we were soon over flowing it. Nate and Keeley had also arrived. I'm pretty sure we stayed up talking until 1am again this night. Brian arrived this evening as well, and he took the third bed in our room. Another pair of Canucks was expected, but arrived later than anticipated and kept us up talking once they did arrive. Radek and BT had met Forest through Brian and a Gwar show, and we all had fun playing outnumber the Americans. ;)

Sunday February 12, 2012

I'd seen the forecast earlier in the week that warned of frigid temperatures this day, and it was pretty bloody cold. Jim and Jessica and I had all bought prepaid lift tickets (via Liftopia) to Burke in VT and were determined to go. After another lovely breakfast of gingerbread pancakes &c, I swapped my skis from Forest's car to Jim's in the morning and when I came back in to check on the breakfast eaters, people could feel the cold radiating off my jacket. It was brisk outside. The drive was estimated at an hour, but felt shorter. I was on my own most of the day, it took us a while to get started, we didn't hit the slopes until 11am. I did one run on the easy lift, but Jim and Jess were still getting sorted out and they sent me on my way. I made my way to the advanced terrain lift and found happiness. :) The Upper and Lower Dipper run was a drop and level sort of run, and Willoughby was more straight down (both nice advanced intermediate runs). The mountain says it has 2011 vertical feet, but even if only half of that is on the advanced mountain, I felt like I was getting a workout. There were races that day, I went up on the lift (it was pretty empty in general, I think I waited for three people at the most in front of me) with one of the racers at one point. It was bitterly cold though, I stopped at noon for a hot chocolate and almost mugged someone walking by with electric boot warmers. I stopped again at 1pm to meet J&J for lunch in the lower lodge and to warm up. Lingered until 2pm and then skied again until 3 and was done. It was gorgeous, and snowed a bit up top, just enough to be pretty and cover a tiny bit of the ice. I wish more of the terrain hadn't been marked low cover, I ended up on one run like that because the race hill was blocked off. I'd love to go back when they've got more snow, and it's warmer!

Forest had gone out to get the chicken thighs for the chicken adobo I was planning to make, so we headed straight back to the BNB after packing up the car. Someone not Brian was in Brian's bed when I went up to drop my stuff, turns out that Radek had been unable to sleep well in the front room due to the cold coming off the windows by the couch and he'd come up for a nap. I went back to the kitchen and measured out two pots with the sauce and got the rice simmering, but had to side track Brian to help with the big pot of rice as it wasn't cooking like I was used to with smaller servings. The chicken cooked up great though, and there were no leftovers. Keeley helped me to set the table, and Sarah made her and Kevin's dinner at the same time as well. I claimed the seat near the fire at the table, it was a lovely relaxed time (someone probably told people not to quiz me on the provenance of the recipe :) ). I went up for a shower right after dinner was done, and was surprised at all the layers I had to take off, I'd forgotten about a couple of them! The fleece tanktop with integrated bra paid for itself that day, my core wasn't cold at all, just my fingers and toes. I saw someone with a boot cover that he said helped a bit, and I found my toes were coldest when I'd wriggle them and they'd hit the top of my boot, so they might be a worthwhile purchase if I plan to ski in such cold weather again (it was -14C in the town at the bottom of the mountain, didn't want to know what it was at the peak). I had the hottub to myself this time, almost slipping on the ice that had formed on the step up. Got back into loungy clothes and joined the crew in the front room again for a little while. The game room was in full use this time, with a 3 hour Battlestar Galactica game taking up most of the time I was in the BNB. We all watched a couple of episodes of Archer, and then headed to bed.

Monday February 13, 2012

I got all (I thought) of my stuff packed up into Sara's car before grabbing my snow shoes and joining Forest and Vanessa in their car to drive to Loon (Sara agreed to pick me up there at 2pm for the drive back to Boston). Vanessa and I had a bit of an oddessy trying to get her a pair of rental snowshoes. The Adventure Center was closed, with no sign on it. The first lodge had a guy outside who directed us to guest services inside, who directed us to the rental place at the other lodge. We rode the steam train across the parking lot, it was cute. :) At the rental place they told us the Adventure Center opened at 10, and as it was now 5 to 10, we walked back there. Finally got her outfitted, used the restroom, paid our trail fee ($11) and got a lift to the snow shoe/cross country ski trails at around 10:30. Our ride would re-appear at 12:30, and we set off along a fairly level green trail. Once we intersected with the black trails I tempted V into trying them out. A bit of a climb up the ridge and then we were following the ridge with a bit of a view over the mountains. Heard lots of birds, enjoyed the sun, and we were out of the wind for the most part. I kept taking off my gloves to let my hands cool down, I was never cold. We misread the trail map a bit and ended up going down an up only trail, figure after the fact that it's probably that way to allow the skiers to herringbone up w/o worrying about people bombing down. The snow was plentiful, if covered in an icy crust, so it wasn't 100% necessary to be on shoes but it was fun. :) We got back to the warming hut just 5 minutes early, I took a quick peek down the river side trail but the drop off was steep and the river frozen so it wasn't that picturesque. Back to the Adventure Centre and then back to the lodge to meet the others for lunch at 1pm. I said goodbye to everyone and was outside just before Sara picked me up at 2pm. I ended up napping a bit on the way home, waking up enough to buy a bottle at the NH liquor store on the highway and then zoned out for the rest of the trip. I realised when I was unpacking the car that I'd forgotten my tempurpedic pillow but some emails and texts to the people still there led it to be found and I soon stopped panicking. My nice serving spoon was also found, but the tupperware I'd left the jerk chicken leftovers in was MIA, but I was happy to get back the important things. :)

I'd happily go back to both the BNB and the mountains we visited, it was hard to resist renting skis and getting on the slopes at Loon. More snow, less cold would be better as well, so I have hopes for next year.

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