Sunday, March 27, 2011

Have Blankey will Travel (Thoughts on Travel.... with Kids)

Before children, Scott and I fearlessly roamed to places like Zanzibar, Tobago, Kenya, Belize, Tanzania, and rural Mexico. Now that the kids are old enough for extended travel, I'm ready and excited to start wandering again.  And we now have little hands to hold, and new eyes with which to discover the world.

We contemplated many vacations spots, and serendipitously chose Nicaragua. We will leave in a few days and last night I lay awake with the pre-trip jitters.  I was wondering if we were doing the right thing - taking our little children on such a 'big' adventure. All the what-if's ran through my head.  (Probably the most perilous thing that might happen is that Ben could lose his blankey.)

But a friend recently gave me this quote on travel, which helped me remember why we roam in the first place. I hope Ben and Laura will look back on this trip and agree.

Dhow, at sunset in Zanzibar, circa 1998.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Brook's Lake Ski Adventure

Things that make me happy:
  • a perfect bluebird day
  • skiing in the mountains with girlfriends
  • a cold beer at the end of the trail
For years, I've been wanting to ski into Brook's Lake and have lunch at Brook's Lake Lodge, but frankly, it seemed a little daunting.  For one, the road into the lake is closed all winter and the only way you can get there is either by snowmobile or dog sled. The lodge itself has a van that is specially equipped for snow. 

But finally this year, a few of us gals set a date and made it happen.  We had a blast!

Brook's Lake is in a high mountain valley, completely blanketed in snow this time of year and surrounded by the high peaks of the Pinnacle Mountains, Continental Divide, Austin’s Peak and Brooks Mountain. We've camped there as a family, and even in June, had to deal with three-foot snow drifts (see A Good Year for our summer pics of Brook's Lake).

To ski in, we parked just off the highway on Togwotee Pass and followed the road (somewhat groomed by snowmachines) to the historic Brooks Lake Lodge, at 9200 feet.  It was a beautiful day with perfect blue skies.

Skiing in was a challenge with five miles of relentless uphill on some fresh stumpy snow, but skiing out was fast and sweet.  Yehaw, let 'er buck,  I do love Wyoming.

The prize: beers and lunch at the lodge and the sweet satisfaction of
arriving under our own power.

My friend Dot enjoying the biggest portobello mushroom sandwich in the universe. I had homemade chili and jalapeno cornbread, which really hit the spot.  If you plan to ski in, it's a good idea to call the lodge ahead of time and let them know that you are coming for lunch.

View of the lodge and a squall over Brook's Mountain.

What this photo doesn't show is the herd of snowmobiles parked in front of the lodge. 
Some of those guys undoubtedly thought we were nuts.