As many of you know I often struggle to come up with material for these weekly columns. So when there is a shortage of information from the locals, I must improvise as best I can.
This week was filled with busy Holiday Happenings and an impressive blizzard that left a mother, her three children and her niece, stranded and snowbound in a camp in Grafton. Yes, that mother was me. Santa gave me a wonderful pair of snowshoes this year, along with a pair for each of my two older children. The kids and I were eager to try them out so we invited my niece from across the way to join us on a trek "up to camp."
We all dressed warmly, bundled to the nines and started off across the field to the trail leading "up to camp." The driving wind and snow was ferocious, stinging our uncovered noses but, hey, it was fun and we figured that once in the woods that we'd be sheltered from the tenacity of the storm. We were wrong about that but who could turn back, the joy of deep, fresh powder kept us pressing ever onward despite the eerie creaking and complaining of the trees.
Our adventure was full of learning and laughter but soon enough the littlest one and, ironically, the oldest one began to despair. Yes, it was cold out but by this point we were better off continuing so that we could warm up at camp. Part of the ritual is to get cold just so that the hot cocoa tastes better.
I think that we all had reached our end before we reached camp but the sight of it through the trees and blowing snow gave everyone that much-needed burst of energy to climb the last hill to "safety." Once inside camp, the first order of business was for everyone to strip off their winter wear while I started the fire.
With a comforting crackle coming from the stove, kids and I compiled a mass of blankets and pillows into which the four giggling, rosy-cheeked snow goers dove and waited for the camp to warm. It was only then that I realized in grim dismay that it was 4 o'clock. Darkness was soon to fall but the camp was still cold and the socks, hats, mittens and jackets were still wet.
By 5:30 we had shed off our chill, rounded up flashlights and were hurriedly finishing our cocoa. My poor daughter had a retching headache and we were none to eager to head back out into the cold, especially now that darkness had engulfed us. Foolishly I hadn't brought my phone so we had no way to communicate with anyone down below, so we had little choice, we bundled and started out to go home. Plans changed suddenly when Kaiya threw up. There was no way I was going to head down the mountain with four little children in the dark and one puking! So we abruptly turned and walked all five feet back to the camp. The kids shouted with glee when I told them we would be staying. Kaiya felt better instantly as we made up the beds. We were settled in for the night and I sat to watch the kids teach each other a game of dice. All the while fretting over what everyone would be thinking down below when we didn't return before dark.
We were nice and toasty and safe inside the camp but with no way of letting anyone know. Salvation came in through the door about a half an hour later in the form of a brother-in-law, with dog and backpack, and his phone. He told us that my Hubby was on his way up too, coming up on the other trail. The kids promptly told him that they were staying; we told them otherwise.
So after our rescuers had both arrived and had ample time to warm themselves, we redressed and began our descent. The children, and especially myself, enjoyed the hike/slide down the mountain safe in the comfort of our two capable escorts. Despite the bitter bite of the ever present wind the trek home was enjoyable, all the while, relieved that we would all be sleeping in our own beds that night!