Tuesday, January 31, 2017

After the Storm

 The morning after one of our big storms dawned with sunny and really cold temperatures. There had been enough melting the day before to make some nice icicles.

The snow-covered trees showed that we had gotten quite a lot of precip.

The school looked sharp in the crisp air. (This was before another storm that blew part of the roof off!)

It's a good thing this little trailer is used just in the summer, because it would be so cold right now!

The church looked good in the morning light with the snow-covered mountain behind it.

And even though the sun was shining, it was cold. Oh--have I already said that? It's been a cold January!

Even the rabbitbrush had a sizable amount of snow on it!

The winter does mean some extra pretty clouds and light on the mountains, with the snow to reflect it.

And drives up the mountain usually mean driving in some snow, as it takes the plows a few hours to get out to us. Even with all the storms, it's unusual not to see a little bit of blue sky every day.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Snowy, Snowy January

 This January sure has felt like winter! Lots of snow and cold temperatures. You'll see that theme in this and upcoming posts!

One afternoon we wanted to go sledding, but the roads were so bad we couldn't drive anywhere. So we went over to the nearby pond, which was now empty, and sledded into the bottom of it.

Desert Girl found a nice hill nearby and we all followed.

I love their expressions!

Desert Boy decided to climb a tree. Getting down was a little trickier.

Sledding party!

We decided to change our venue and go over to the gas station, which was being plowed. The old cabins looked very scenic with their snow coatings.

Looks like Ava wanted a snow coating too! This girl loves snow!

We trudged along in the snow, the colorful coats and sleds lighting up the afternoon.

You can see how deep the snow was by the spigots. Obviously no one was camping here that night.

Angie really loved the snow too, burying herself in it and running all around. This photo is bittersweet for me, as she was hit by a truck and killed the next day. She enjoyed her short life, but her bad habit (that we didn't quite manage to break) of chasing vehicles was a dangerous one that ultimately didn't work out.

At that point, though, we were ready for fun in the snow.

We saw the snow plows come by, at about 4 pm. They had been by at about 8 in the morning, then went back and couldn't get back to us until about 10-12 inches of snow later! The schools dismissed early and the kids still got home late because one school bus broke down on the road, another could barely move through the unplowed snow, and it all was a bit chaotic.

Once the plow came by, we had a semblance of normalcy and enjoyed walking down busy main street.
Oh my, this will be a winter to remember!

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Magic Steve at the 2017 Sheepherders' Gathering

Every year in January, sheepherders and aficionados of the sheep industry gather on the Nevada-Utah line at the Border Inn to celebrate at the Sheepherders' Gathering. A musician (or two or three) are invited. This year, Magic Steve from the Salida Circus came and brought his banjo. Before the gathering even started, he went to the local school and entertained the kids, teaching them a little more about music. 

The kids enjoyed it a lot. So did the adults!

Then he said that since his name was Magic Steve, he better do some magic tricks. The first volunteer helper did great.

And Magic Steve obviously enjoyed interacting with him!

More helpers were needed in the make-the-pink-hankie-disappear-and-then-reappear-in-his-taped-mouth trick.

Desert Girl got called up to be a helper, which she certainly enjoyed because she's been doing her own magic tricks at home. She needs a bit more practice to master the sleight of hand that Magic Steve uses. His tricks seemed to go off effortlessly.

It was a very entertaining hour, and I'm glad I got to go, especially since I was sick the rest of the weekend so missed all the other events. But if you do a search on this blog for "Sheepherders," you'll find more about this unique annual gathering.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Fire and Ice 2017

Last weekend we went to the Fire and Ice Festival at Cave Lake, near Ely. This is a fun event that we've been to many times (with blog posts from 2009, 2011 (Day 1) and 2001 (Day 2), 2013, and 2016). This year we arranged to meet friends there and go ice skating. Desert Girl was eager to put her new ice skates to use and also met a new friend who was willing to help her out. She enjoyed it a lot.

Desert Boy wasn't feeling so well, so he didn't skate long. The ice was really bumpy, so I didn't either. But a couple other kids got to use his skates, so that was good.

Jenny and Meg showed off their prowess on skates.

And although it was cloudy, it was a nice temperature to be out.

We also had sleds so that was another activity.

We also took time to look at the snow sculptures. This was an unofficial one.

There were only seven entries this year, quite a contrast from last year when there were so many fantastic ones. The lack of snow made it a little more difficult for entrants to make big sculptures this year.

This was the winning sculpture, Hi-bear-nation. They won $1000.

Second prize was Quarter Size Charcoal Ovens. They looked really good.

This was a cute entry. There was even a guy ice fishing nearby and I even saw him caught a fish, making it even more apropos.

Watching this lady carve the snow in the 22 degree temperature made us realize how challenging it can be. The snow is definitely a lot more pliable when it's right about freezing. She came in third with this bobcat.

Another event was ice bowling. This became extra fun when we used a kid on the sled as the bowling ball. It was a fun way to spend the afternoon. And now we are thinking, Should we enter next year?  If we had a big enough group, it would be a lot of fun and not so much work! What do you think?

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Grey Cliffs Cross Country Ski

 The kids didn't have school on Monday, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, and the temperatures were in the low to mid-20s, so we headed up the Baker Creek road in Great Basin National Park to where it was closed. We pulled out the skis and headed up the road in ideal conditions.

Some snowshoers had been out, but we were the first skiers.

We headed down the incline towards Grey Cliffs campground. There was just enough of a hill to give us some glide.

We did pause to look at some of the numerous rodent tracks. We also saw deer tracks and maybe mountain lion.

Desert Boy really wanted to take a rest at the gate. He wasn't feeling so well, so he didn't continue.

But Desert Girl was ready to make some fresh tracks and broke trail for a bit.

This was about the only non-smiling photo I got of her. She was usually singing as we went skiing along. But she did ask several times when we were taking a break.

When we got up to Loop C, it was time for a break. We cleared off part of a picnic table and got out some snacks and our new JetBoil to try it out. The fuel canister was kind of empty, so we didn't get water to boil in two minutes, but we did get warm water...

...to make hot chocolate! Yum!
After a rest, I asked Desert Girl if she wanted to go on up to Baker Creek Campground and make the loop back down the road or if she wanted to turn around here. She chose to turn around.

She was immediately delighted with her decision, as it was so easy going downhill! In fact, she couldn't believe how fast we got back to the vehicle.

We did have to stop for another sit-on-the-gate photo. Then she followed me up the hill at a good clip. She will be ready for the Ely Birkebeiner's ski race this weekend!

It was so nice to have a perfect skiing day, with no wind, great snow, and beautiful vistas. We're already looking forward to the next ski!

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