Any day on the mountain beats a great day at home

What’s your go-to place for refilling your tank? Mine has always been the outdoors. Even just an afternoon spent in my garden is a special treat. Longer trips — bike rides, hikes, camping — are even better. Since I moved to California, I have had a special place in my heart for the Sierra Nevadas. Maybe I would have the same experiences in other states and other mountains, but I can’t get to those places as easily as I can these mountains.

We were supposed to go skiing a couple of weeks ago, but between my sudden dental appointment and subsequent pain issues, and the fact that we just bought new windows and a new dishwasher, we just couldn’t make it happen. It was disappointing, but it turned out OK.

As it turns out we got lucky and get to use a friend-of-a-friend’s time-share at Northstar, for a long weekend, this weekend. Yay! We drove up yesterday afternoon, after a stressful day for me and my first Spanish test of the semester (more to come on that in a later post). We took it easy, and decided to have a late lunch/early dinner in Auburn. At first we were just going to stop at In and Out, but as we got closer, we say a sign for the Auburn Alehouse, and decided it might be worth a visit. I’m glad we did.

Eric got a glass of their porter, which is says was pretty tasty. Not great, but better than “OK.”

Eric, and his Porter.

I got the pulled pork sandwich. I have a long-standing issue with pulled pork sandwiches. If there is a pulled pork sandwich on the menu, I have to order it. Even if I went into the restaurant craving something completely different. Even if I swore up and down I would have a salad. If it’s on the menu, I have to try it.

Pulled pork sandwich, seasoned fries, and cole slaw.

This one was pretty good. I’ve had better, but not at many places. It doesn’t stand up to the pulled pork sandwich at Third Street Aleworks. But I managed to eat the whole thing.

And stopping in old town Auburn was quite nice, actually. It was relaxing, and the scenery was lovely. Much better than eating a burger in the car, right?

We cruised on in to Northstar, checked in, unpacked our stuff for a long weekend, and ran up to Safeway for milk and eggs. Sadly we were supposed to be sharing this lovely condo with our dear friend Cat, but she is home with a nasty flu. Boo. It feels a bit weird being here in this enormous space, just the two of us. But it’s a hardship I’m sure we’ll manage.

I took a long, relaxing soak in the luxurious bathtub.

I'm only including this picture so I can remember what tub to get when we finally re-do our bathroom.

And then snuggled up in bed with Eric to get some sleep before we hit slopes this morning. I was a bit worried because I’ve been fighting a head cold, and I had a bit of trouble sleeping. But I rallied this morning, and we got out there around 9:30, into the most gloriously sunny and calm day.

At the top, looking down the East Run, with a view of Lake Tahoe.

Seriously, going skiing mid-week cannot be beat. I’ve only skied mid-week once before, when we got snowed in on a Sunday night. I may never ski on a Saturday again.

At the top of one of the more popular runs, which on a weekend would be mobbed with people:

West Ridge, looking north. Notice the lack of people.

It isn’t that I really hate people, I just don’t care for crowds of people. I think that the larger the crowd, the dumber the average effective IQ is. As if, for every additional person added to the group, there is a subtraction of overall smartness. Or maybe it’s just the individual civility gets lost. Either way, on a ski run mobbed with people, I always feel like a rabbit being chased. It’s not fun.

But I had loads of fun today! We got in a fair number of runs together before returning to the condo to have a quick, delicious PB&J (it always tastes better in the mountains, have you noticed that?), and then heading up for the free afternoon intermediate lessons offered by the resort.

My lesson was pretty good. I know I’m probably a better skier than I feel. I certainly think I know more about the mechanics of skiing that people I encounter. But I’m still a bit of a scaredy pants when it comes to going faster, or trying steeper runs. But I can see how much I have improved over the last two years, and that’s a definite boost of confidence.

After the lessons, we had time for one last run down, and then we tromped back to the condo, tired, bruised (I fell, twice, for silly reasons), wind-burned, and as happy as clams. It is really very nice to be able to just come and settle in our room without having to catch a shuttle ride. And certainly 1000 times better than having to drive home, sweaty and tired.

Eric made me a wonderful dinner of sauteed fish and veggies over mixed grains. (Honestly, I think everything tastes better here!) We made a trip into town to pick up another coupon for lift tickets so we can ski tomorrow, and now I’m resting on the couch with my feet up in front of a fire. In a minute, I’m going to dunk myself in that wonderful tub again, and then go snuggle up with Eric so we can do it all again tomorrow.

Life is good.


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