Snow Storm – A Happy Ending

So…in case you were wondering, we did make it out of the mountains on Monday last week.  But not before we enjoyed dozens of quiet hours together by a warm crackling fire, watched all 10 episodes of the mini-series “The Pacific”, and had a chance to take some shots of the beautiful aftermath of the storm.  (Don’t forget to click to enlarge the pictures.)

I loved these icicles, especially against the blue sky!

Every once in a while I need to set up the tri-pod so that we can have proof that I was actually on our trips.

This is what it looked like after the snow plow came through to clear the long driveway.  Our car is buried under the snow there on the right.  We still had a little more digging out to do.

This was just crazy!  When we walked to the end of the driveway we found this SUV parked in the middle of the road right where we needed to drive to get out.  As we walked around trying to figure out why it might have been left there we noticed that the doors were unlocked and the keys were still in it.  AND we saw clear evidence that someone (presumably the driver) had taken a pee in the snow by the side of the road.  So….what would you guess was the scenario there?  We have no idea.  Fortunately, when it was time for us to leave the car was gone and we’re hoping that it was driven away by the owner.

This was a view from under a covered patio where the snow and ice from the roof was in the process of sliding off.  The ice was really thick, so it’s not a place that you would want to be when it finally landed.

I just love the contrast of the blue sky to the snow covered trees in this one.

I had some roses left from Valentine’s Day and Terry suggested that I take a few pictures of them in the snow.  This is one of my favorites.

Thanks for sharing the adventure with us.  We had an amazing time!

How do you feel about snow?  Do you love it?  Do you hate it?  Have you ever been snowed in?

Sequestered Again…

…but for much more wonderful reasons…


On Thursday my husband and I came up to use a friend’s cabin in Forest Lakes, Arizona with another couple.  These first two photos are courtesy of my friend, Julie.

We enjoyed some deep conversation and one of our favorite card games of Nertz.

We have been playing Nertz with some of our best friends since the 70’s and love it! Funny thing, just as I was typing this I decided to look up Nertz rules so you could play the game yourself and I discovered that there’s a National Nertz Association AND that we’ve been playing it incorrectly all along.  Oh well, we’ve had so much fun and the difference is negligible.  We’ll have to try to play the “right” way the next time though.

It started snowing on Friday night just as Andy & Julie were leaving.  We went to bed with some light snowfall and by this morning it didn’t look safe enough to drive out.

We had other friends who were hoping to come up today, but the drive is too dangerous, so it’s just the two of us now.

Forest Lakes Picture Window

I’m sitting at the kitchen table looking out at this gorgeous view of the snow gently falling.  An instrumental version of “Christmas Time is Here” just started playing on the iPod (just like the version in A Charlie Brown Christmas).  Even though we’re well into February it feels appropriate somehow.  Snowfall always reminds me of the holidays.  Growing up in Ohio, we always dreamed of a white Christmas.  I continue to long for the confluence of snow and the winter holidays especially now that we live in Phoenix and have to travel to the mountains to enjoy it.

Today the snow fluctuates from a light dusting, to big fluffy flakes, then when the wind kicks up it starts to swirl between the trees.  At times it turns to a slushy rain, then back to snow.  Even though it’s after 2pm, the sky is dark and gray.  We’ve heard that this is just the beginning of the storm that’s supposed to last through tonight and well into tomorrow.  Worst case scenario is over 20 inches of snow in this storm, but because it seems to be wet (for now) it doesn’t seem to be accumulating as quickly as we’d expected.

We had a power outage this morning and for some reason the back up generator didn’t turn on.  We were ready to brave the storm and hit the roads, but while we were weighing our options, packing, etc. the power came back on, so we decided to stay where we’re safe and sound inside the warm, cozy house.

We’re in a neighborhood reached only by dirt roads and we talked to a neighbor who said that they almost slid into a ditch in their truck with snow tires this morning, so we’re not going to take a chance on the drive out and down the Mogollon Rim Highway.  Neither of us have driven much in the snow and our car doesn’t have snow tires or chains so we’ll settle in here.  We were planning to stay until Sunday anyway and we have plenty of food, even if we have to stay for an extra day or so to wait for the snow plows to come around.

Now all that’s left is to enjoy the quiet solitude with my sweetie, open a bottle of wine, light a fire in the fireplace and pray that the power stays on…oh, wait.  We might want to conserve that firewood just in case we do lose power again.Terry reading in Forest Lakes

Terry’s working on finishing the book, Atlas Shrugged.  1069 pages. He’s almost there.

Fortunately we have an ample supply of books, magazines, DVDs, blogs, photo projects and writing utensils so we aren’t lacking for things to do. In fact, it’s kind of nice to be forced to sit still for a while.  Might be fun to plan a snow trip like this every year…

Click to enlarge this pic to get a little bit of an idea of the snowfall.  It changes second by second and the photos really don’t do it justice.  It’s absolutely amazing!  I’m not sure I’ll ever get out of this spot.  It’s like watching a real life snow globe, only much more magical.

2011.02.19 Afternoon Snow

Forest Lakes Weekend – Day 1

Clouds Building on our way up North

We headed up to Forest Lakes on Friday afternoon and watched with joy as the clouds piled up on top of the mountains that would be our final destination.  You’ll find that many of us who’ve lived in the Phoenix area for a long time are weather starved.  We have so many days of clear blue skies that any meteorological change is cause for attention and quiet celebration.  Especially for me…I grew up right on Lake Erie in northern Ohio where, even then, I loved all the changes in the seasons and the blustery storms that blew in from the lake.  So the anticipation of a mountain summer storm kept my mind and camera busy for much of the 2 hour drive to our getaway location.

Heading for the Mountains
As we were finishing up our Beeline Café meal, we got a call from our friends Randy & Linda.  They were already at the cabin!  What?  They had finished up things early at home and decided to just drive on up.  Fortunately, we were just paying the bill, so we were only about a half hour behind them.
When I say that we stayed at our friend’s “cabin”, I use the term “cabin” loosely since it’s really a full size 3-story, 3 bedroom home.  Take a look at the picture that Linda took of the place on her blog.
Enjoying the Deck at the Cabin
A Couple of my Favorite Guys

Friday night we all enjoyed a glass of wine on the deck, catching up on each other’s lives then enjoying the sounds of an evening storm from inside the house.

Saturday we took our time getting up and out, had a cup of coffee on the deck, then decided to drive to a spot that Linda had heard about north of Strawberry.  It was a bit of a drive, but was fun to explore a part of the state that we hadn’t seen before.  It turns out that Milk Ranch Point is not a specific “point” or overlook, but a relatively remote area of the rim with camping and hiking.
Linda with her new Branch
Cool thing though is that Linda found a Manzanita branch to bring home for decoration in her house.  You may remember my branch in my family room.  Well, she’s been looking for something similar for quite a while and now it will be so much fun to see what she ends up doing with it.  I imagine that you’ll see more about it on her blog when she finds the perfect location for it.
For now, I’ll leave you with a few nature shots that we took while we were at Milk Ranch Point.  Have you ever been there?  Do you have any secret getaways that few people know about that you love to visit?
Next I’ll share about our visit to Bear Canyon Lake near the little town of Forest Lakes, AZ, so be sure to come back to hear about the hail storm.
The Handiwork of God in Nature
Gorgeous Red Manzanita Branches
View from Milk Ranch Point, Arizona

Weekend at the “Cabin”:

We just came home from a weekend at my boss’s “cabin” in Forest Lakes. You can see from the photo why they call it “The Big House”. It’s quite a roomy place. It has 3 stories, 3 bedrooms, plus 4 additional twin beds. We were quite comfortable there, to say the least.

We went with our friends, Andy, Julie, Rochelle & Devry and we had a great time.
Friday night we discovered that Rochelle and Devry knew how to play Nertz, so of course we had to play. We had a chance to use the beautiful cards that Terry’s mom brought back for us from Ireland. You’ll see them here.
Andy & Julie were amazing! I don’t think they’ve played so well in all the time we’ve known them. They just couldn’t lose. It was crazy, but we had a blast anyway, even though they smoked all the rest of us.
Saturday we did some hiking along the Rim Trail and even saw a deer, but couldn’t get a good picture of it because it ran away too fast. This was a view from the trail. It was a perfect day with temps in the low to mid 70’s.
That night we went to a local restaurant called Bugles for dinner, because we heard that they had a prime rib special on Saturday nights. Overall, the food was quite under-whelming and the service was questionable as well. The funniest part of the whole night was when Julie ordered her salmon dinner and in order to cut down on calories, she asked the waitress if she could have an extra amount of vegetables instead of the baked potato. The waitress was happy to oblige. You can’t believe the look on all of our faces when she brought her salmon out with a double portion of canned corn with butter!!! Not exactly the healthy vegetables that Julie had envisioned. We laughed out loud at that one. I’m not sure we’ll go back there, at least for dinner.
There were quite a few pitfalls in the meal time, but I won’t go into them here. Maybe breakfast or lunch might be a little safer.
Saturday night after we got home, the gang discovered the foosball table in the basement.
Again, Andy was insane and won every single game that he played, except one where he only lost by 1 point. Julie, Devry and Terry were all pretty intense as well, with bruises, sore muscles and all. Rochelle happened to be tied up on a phone call for some of the time, and I got a chance to play with my new lens and try out some of the pictures without a flash.
The last couple of photos are some of my wildlife shots. We actually saw quite a few beautiful blue birds. Not bluebirds, but birds that were blue (not sure what they were). Unfortunately, I couldn’t get any good shots of them in flight and that’s when their colors showed the best. Got some shots of squirrels too, but nothing special. This beetle was on the deck at the house. It was GINORMOUS!!! I thought the bees at the purple thistle were pretty cool. Enlarge to see the one in flight. I didn’t even realize that I had gotten that shot until I got home and saw it on the computer. Pretty cool, huh?
Overall it was a really fun weekend. I hope we get a chance to go back there again. My boss and his wife (who’s also my boss) are so generous to let us and many others use the place.