Stuck in a snowbank

Three feet of powder isn’t great for walking, but it makes for killer skiing.

At least that’s what the folks over in Idaho keep saying.

I’m more of a sled person myself, and I managed to make a slick track on a wicked hill above the frozen reservoir during the two weeks I recently spent in the state.

A plastic trashcan lid worked like a charm for a sled. My sister and I took turns sliding down the hill and counting the number of 360-degree turns we could do at the bottom. I’m pretty sure she won that game, but I scored when I discovered I still fit into those snow pants from high school.

The family ranch is nestled in a valley in between little towns that dot Highway 95 and the roads were in typical winter condition: an inch or so of solid ice covered by a layer or two of packed snow.

Over the course of two weeks I encountered an endless number of cars, pickups, and semi-trucks haphazardly splashed across a couple of lanes of the interstate, or buried in the median.

Even the mini-Australian shepherd I helped raise a few years ago had trouble catching traction as he dashed around the ranch. Bleu The Wonder Dog was so excited he slid right into me when I arrived at the homestead. He stuck to me like Velcro during my entire vacation.

The same cannot be said of the family’s two white, fluffy cats. Felines are less forgiving when it comes to perceived abandonment and those kitties just leered at me from their perch for hours before even considering a pardon.

Cloud the cat decided we could be friends again only after I’d carried him for half a mile in the snow to the river to play. He needed a human ride because the snow was so deep he would have had to tunnel his way through.

Though he warmed up to me again, I wasn’t sure I wanted to be friends with Cloud after carrying him that far. If you don’t have snowshoes it’s not just walking — it’s trudging — and I swear that cat weighs at least 10 pounds.

I stepped off the airplane in December into conditions that dipped to negative 5 degrees.

So, we roasted pineapple over bonfires in not-so-lightly falling snow and found an old box for target practice with my dad’s new 12-gauge, tactical shotgun. We talked story for hours in the little cafe at the end of the road that’s perpetually under new ownership.

And we started a bathroom remodel because, after all, what’s holiday break without a little family time.

•••

Jessica Else is a reporter with The Garden Island. She can be reached at jelse@thegardenisland.com

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