I know I’ve blogged a bit about our love of the beach, but our little family also likes other climates just as much. We tend to spend a lot of time out in the desert (mostly in the summer when it’s VERY hot, and VERY cheap for a VERY nice room… stay tuned come June for more on that!), and we also enjoy the occasional visit up into the mountains, especially if it has something to do with having fun in the snow. I spent some time in a snowy climate during college (and very shortly after, winter can be a brutal beast), and C spent time during college trekking up to snowy climates to go skiing, so the snow is something that’s part of our own life stories, and it’s an appreciation we’d love to pass along to T as well.
After a few years of not much snow in our local mountains, we finally timed our trek right, and we were able to get a snow play day in with T this season! We headed up to our favorite day-trip snow spot, Mt. Waterman, and while they haven’t had enough snow to open up for a ski season for about two seasons now, they always tend to get enough snow each year for some fantastic non-ski play days. Given we’d just had a nice, cold rain the previous weekend, we took a chance and hit the road in search of our own snow day this season.
We’ve done this just once before right after he turned one-year-old in 2009, and let’s just say the outcome of that trip was about as textbook of a fail fun-wise as you could get (note to you newer RMT’ers… don’t pump a kid full of food and/or milk before taking an hour-long drive up into the mountains with an elevation change of about 6,000 feet). Yes, there was snow and we got our obligatory “T’s first experience in the snow” photos, but regardless of the snow on the ground, a yakking kid mixed with waking him up from a car-snooze just doesn’t make for ideal conditions.
So here we are again, just a little more than three years since that fateful trip, out on Snow Day 2. Thankfully, we have much better news to report this go-around. With that, let the snow games begin!
First, the drive went awesome, either because we didn’t stuff him full of food and drink prior the windy drive up the Angeles Crest Highway, or because he borrowed some motion sickness wristbands from a pal (thanks again D and W!) – or both! Also there was little traffic to speak of, along with completely clear roads. As you can see, the views on the way up were gorgeous, and while we were a little worried for a while that there might not be snow to play in, our worries fell away once we saw snow patches on North-facing slopes about 5,500 feet up (Mt. Waterman’s base is at just under 7,000-ft. elevation). And once we rounded the bend toward Mt. Waterman, a lovely snow-blanketed hillside greeted us roadside (whew!), along with a mostly empty parking lot and 50-degree temperatures. We seriously could not have asked for better conditions for T’s take two with snow!
Second, we borrowed a sled very last-minute to ensure that we’d have something to do other than a snowball fight, snowman, and snow angels (and again, thanks to D and W for the loaners!). T loved the sled, but then again we knew he’d enjoy this activity based on a dry run (literally) about a month ago. C and I even took our own turns on the sled, which admittedly were nowhere near as solid of runs as T had going down the hill.
Third, even if we hadn’t found a sled, it quickly became obvious that snowball making and throwing was activity choice numero uno on T’s list. In fact, he loved snowball fights and tossing so much, he could not even put them down while on the sled! We even ran into another family while up on our little adventure and T enticed the boy and his father into a rapid-fire snowball war. Not sure who exactly won that one, but everyone had a great time, and of course that’s all that matters.
Finally, the snowman… yeah, he kind of looks like a cat, or a dog, or I’m not sure exactly what, but C and T and the other kids worked with what they found on the ground (sticks, rocks, and pinecones for the most part). Honestly I think it’s pretty perfect. After much persuasion NOT to level the poor snowman with snowballs, T left him standing so he could greet others coming to play for a day in the snow.
After our play date with Mother Nature, we drove back down the hill a few miles for a late-lunch stop at Newcomb’s Ranch. Mostly known as a motorcycle bar by locals, this rustic cabin-style restaurant invites visitors in out of the cold for a warm-up with a meal or snack (or drink). T and I had simple grilled cheese sandwiches, while C had what he’s claimed is the best grilled chicken sandwich he’s ever had, a grilled chicken on sourdough with grilled sweet onions and Ortega chiles – no cheese even! – sided with a cup of their house chili (a hot lunch indeed!). While I’m sure this joint must be slammed on the weekends, again we could not have timed our visit better coming in on a weekday. Plus, we also got to witness probably the hardest working man on the mountain – he was our bartender, server, and busser. We even joked that he was even cooking all of our lunches, and he said, nope, not today (!). We’ll definitely return on our next Snow Day outing.
So, yes, it’s official: I declare Snow Day 2012 – and T’s second Snow Day – a rousing success! For those of you LA-area RMT’ers looking for a quick and easy day-trip to the snow with the wee ones, head on up to Mt. Waterman soon before it’s too late. In fact, a storm just rolled through yesterday… time to declare your own snow day perhaps?