What could possibly be left?!

27 02 2013

Oh man. I did it again. Will I never learn? Someone needs to teach me to take it easy. I’ve had yet another weekend of so much fun I can barely move. That’s good, right?!

Since moving to the northwest, I’ve tried all sorts of new sports, leading me on all sorts of new adventures. The winter sports have been the most … challenging. Snow and cold really change the game. This weekend tested all my abilities and threw me right off the comfort cliff.

Friends of ours rent cabins up at Paulina Lake outside of Bend, OR, every year for an event they’ve dubbed “Cabin Fever”. Paulina Lake is tucked up in Newberry Caldera, on top of what used to be a massive volcano until is blasted and collapsed itself to pieces. Now, just the base remains, filled in with a couple lakes and cinder cones from pretty recent lava activity. The nerd in me rejoiced at getting to spend the weekend in the caldera of a potentially active volcano. The jock in me (whom I’d never met until recent years) slapped the nerd me in the face and took over as soon as we pulled into the snow park and caught glimpse of the weekend toys: snowmobiles.

J had managed to borrow not one, but TWO snowmobiles for us to play with ride, and another Cabin Fever friend agreed to haul them for us. (J needs to buy a truck. Pronto.) We were a little late to the game, but arrived just in time to help load the sleds and journey another 3.5 miles or so up to the cabins.

J and I had one cute little complication: Simba. My adorable mutt was stoked to be out with us, playing in the snow and making friends with another dog, Snacks. Well, he was stoked until the first snowmobile revved to life. Then he was terrified. We had no idea how we were going to get him up to the cabin. Finally, J cut my engine and told me to scoop up Simba and get on behind him. We managed to make it all the way up with that poor dog curled into a ball, squished in my lap between J and I. J and another friend went back down later for the other machine. I’m not sure Simba has forgiven me for that ride yet…

dog on a snowmobile, Newberry Volcano, Oregon

What a little trooper! He managed to curl up in a ball in my lap. But the weekend of playing in the snow with us made it worth it!

Our group of 17 had a duplex cabin and settled in. What an awesome group of people!! That first night, J and I shared dinner duty with our friend Cassidy (everyone had a meal to help with) and we whipped up a couple pots of spaghetti.  Much booze, laughter and hilarious stories accompanied the meal. We played card games, we colored with the kids, we bonded over wine and conversation as one group went for a little night ride. So good.

friends at Paulina Lake cabin, Oregon

That’s not coffee in those coffee mugs. Such a rough way to spend an evening…

Saturday morning kicked off with a walk for Simba with two fabulous little girls accompanying us. Simba really loved the extra attention. After breakfast, we dug out the sleds and turned the hillside next to the cabin into a Wild and Crazy Hill of Speed. The “adults” had just as much fun shooting down the hill as the kids. Several folks caught some nice air, and there might have been an incident with a tree… I haven’t had this much fun on a hunk of plastic since I was a youngster!

sledding Paulina Lake, Newberry OR

Up the sled hill!

Simba thought the sled hill was actually for him, and he raced up with the sledders as fast as he could, then bombed back down at top speed, flying through the air off the bumps and barreling head over heels through drifts. He was in doggy heaven.

dog in snow Paulina Lodge, Newberry OR

OMG this is the best ever! Look, I’m the fastest dog in the world!!

J decided it was finally time for me to try out my sno-mo (that’s what the cool kids call them). We would go on a super mellow ride, he said. We wouldn’t do anything crazy, he said. We wouldn’t even go that fast, he said. Five of us hopped aboard our fun-machines and after a two-second tutorial, we were off! I was a little nervous at first, but I’ve spent lots of time on four-wheelers, and how different could this be? We were just on snow instead of dirt. No big deal. We got to the road and I followed behind J. I got the feel for the throttle, figured out how the turning worked (mostly), and assumed J wouldn’t take me to anything I couldn’t handle. As I relaxed, I found courage. One straight stretch found my speedometer reaching for 60mph!!! Oh yeah, momma like to go FAST! We found a meadow where we played around in the trees, practiced our turns, and sprayed snow all over the place. We finally turned back up the road and I assumed my first ride was almost over.

Then came the detour. A trail had been cut through the trees for the power lines and was just wide enough for sno-mos to fit. We flew up gnarly inclines and launched over rutted-out bumps. Mellow?! Not crazy?!? Slow?!?!?! I know better than to listen to J on this sort of thing. And it was insanely fun. One bump had enough speed behind it to send me and the sno-mo through the air – and I was hooked for good. I was laughing and shrieking the whole time, having the time of my life.

snowmobiling Newberry, Bend, OR

Look out, here I come! VVRROOMM!!

The rest of the day was rather mellow for me. I was exhausted from not much sleep the night before and now from zooming around like a crazy person in the snow. My thighs were on fire from couching with my butt up off the seat for the bumps. My cheeks were super wind-burnt from lack of a bat claw (it’s actually called a balaclava but I can’t pronounce that well) to protect my face. And I ate boo-coos of soup and meatballs for lunch that sent me in a downward spiral of lethargy. So my girl Gail and I cuddled on the couch, me with my knitting, her with a book, while two of the kiddos napped in the bedroom. It was quiet and delightful. Then our girl Carrie came over from the other cabin and we popped open more wine and hit the cards for some ridiculous Nerts. (Best game ever.) Another lovely evening, more delicious food, and we all turned in early. A group had managed to squeeze in another ride up to Paulina Peak and a couple of them even did a little back-country skiing while they were up there. Talk about really getting the most out of a place!

Sunday we had to pack up and leave. J and I left first since we went so slow with Simba, and got loaded up. Then we snuggled Simba down in the car and dashed off for one last ride. I was the only one who hadn’t seen the falls yet, and, well, I have a thing for waterfalls. Then we got there (by way of super-fun trail) and I was even more amazed: my first FROZEN waterfall!! Well, partial frozen. It was absolutely amazing. And my camera was dead so I can’t show it to you.

Back at the parking lot, it was time to go. We were all tired but happy, sad to go but thankful for the fun. We hugged our good-byes and headed off our separate ways.

So now my question is this: what can possibly be next?! What crazy winter activities still await? Surely there isn’t much left…..so I thought until I asked Google. Apparently, there is plenty I have yet to try. What shall it be: heli-skiing perhaps? Maybe a little ice climbing? How about ice skating down half-frozen rivers?

Who knows. But I’m sure it’ll be awesome.





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