I Had a Little Adventure While You Were Dancing! A Photo Essay

Last week, my breast reconstruction doctor joined my radiologist in giving me the thumb’s up. I had been told I had no restrictions over the phone, but this appointment made it official. I won’t see either of them until next summer. Yeah baby. It’s all good! I just have to take a Tamoxifen pill every day.  I felt like celebrating so my husband Danny and I headed up to the mountains.

We left at 5:00 on Valentine’s Day and sailed up I-70. After Idaho Springs, we came to a halt and our progress could be measured in inches. I could have sworn I saw an elderly lady with a walker pass our car. Our two hour trip soon stretched to three. We worried that our 9:00 dinner reservation would be cancelled. Wet snowflakes flew and collected on the road. We suspected an accident had caused the jam. I used two of the hours stuck in traffic to hash out a screenplay I am working on. I figured out three plot lines, worked on casting it, finally decided on Robert Downey Jr., and we still crawled up the mountain highway.

Robert Downey Jr will be perfect for my screenplay

Image from Google+

At 8:30, I started cussing like the truck drivers crawling alongside us. We’d never make our dinner reservation. Approaching a curve in the road, we could see what happened. Idiots with front-wheel drive had spun out in the left lane tying up traffic for miles and miles! They had to be towed. I’ll never understand why Colorado stopped requiring chains for everyone without all-wheel drive. Once we got past the goofballs without chains or a clue, we drove through the Eisenhower Tunnel and flew down the mountain to Breckenridge.

Danny called the South Ridge Seafood Grill. If we could arrive before 10:05, they could still serve us. We made it with 4 minutes to spare! Good thing I was driving. We had a fantastic dinner. The service was excellent. It was as if we arrived early. We even shared a few ghost stories with our waiter!

Mountain house

With no physical restrictions, I was ready to roll Saturday morning. I posted my Use Me and Abuse Me Day blog party and hit the slopes. It was President’s weekend and my husband, Danny, and I knew Breckenridge would be crowded. It was overcast, warm, and windy. We quit at lunchtime and drove to go the skating rink. I grew up ice skating after school in Wisconsin, but it had been a couple of years. I strapped on my hockey skates and slid onto the ice. I needed to take a few laps before the the old muscle memory came back.

skating 2

The next day, Danny rented AT (Alpine Touring) skis and I ran errands. We’ve owned this second home for 17 years and the recession killed our plans for remodeling, but Lowe’s opened in Silverthorne. Hello, home improvement! After arriving back home with dimmer switches, light fixtures and plans for gutting a bathroom, I felt like I needed some exercise. I took our Bichon Roxy, for a little walk in our Baldy Mountain neighborhood while Danny drove to the grocery store.

I could feel the high altitude as I sucked in the thin air at 10,500 feet. When I arrived at the end of the cul-de-sac, I heard a motor roaring down the road towards us. It was the little snow-cat I entered to win last year. A man pulled two kids on a sled. He drove up and over the huge snowy embankment, then waved and headed back up the road.

There’s an old mining road a half mile down the forested mountain from where I stood. It’s called the Sally Barber. Our family has hiked it many times. I had one of those Eureka (impulsive) moments. I’ll go on a little adventure!

Surely, he had packed down the snow on the other side of the hill by driving down the mountain to the mining trail. Roxy and I climbed up the snow mound. We scrambled down the steep hill and followed his tracks, but he had only looped around a couple of trees and backtracked up to the cul-de-sac. Ughh! Now what would we do? I didn’t want to climb back up, but the last time I attempted to walk to the Sally Barber in winter, I was without snowshoes. I sunk up to my knees. That night, I wore loose fleece pants which were pushed way up while my boots filled with snow. Danny watched and laughed from the top of the embankment. It took me more than twenty minutes to climb back up.

This is a record year for snow in Breckenridge with 315 inches of the white stuff, but this was also my, “Go for it!” weekend. Protected from the snow with layers of clothing, tight at the ankle yoga pants, and zipped up snow boots, I tested the depth. The snow came up to my knees. I suspected there there were 6 or 7 feet of snow in areas, but there was no turning back.

Downhill I went. Roxy trailed behind. All at once, she would go no further. With snow clinging to her fur and a sorrowful look in her eyes, I picked her up. What a wussy!

Now I had an extra 15 pounds of weight that could break through the snow. The sun dipped below the mountain peaks. Wet snow rained down around me. The wind picked up. I had a cell phone, but didn’t dare check it for fear the battery would die in the cold. I was more than warm. There is no better exercise than trudging through snow up to your knees.

I kept thinking the road should be right up ahead. I started to panic. Theoretically, I couldn’t miss it if I went straight down the mountain, but I hadn’t hiked it for a while and I wondered if I was walking at too much of an angle. It continued snowing. Darkness shrouded the dense forest.

I found a clearing, but that’s all it was, just a clearing. Roxy weighed heavy in my arms. I thought I heard her snoring.

Then a thicket of pines appeared. Assuming trees would grow more densely along a road, I became hopeful. I continued straight down and then stopped. What if the snow lies in big drifts and when I step down, we’re swallowed up? I cut a diagonal knowing the road was probably only a trail at this juncture, if it was the road. It’s plowed for a half mile from Baldy Road. If I continued where the snow wasn’t as deep, I might be safer. But carrying the dog all this way was too much. Screw it! I headed straight down and found a path between the trees. I peeked between them. I had found the Sally Barber! I stepped down, but my foot didn’t touch bottom. It was like quicksand. I tossed the dog out in front of me. I needed to distribute my weight evenly. Remembering what rescuers do when trying to pull someone from a hole in an icy lake, I got on all fours. I scooted the dog ahead of me and crawled down to the road.

Roxy the Explorer

I picked up Roxy again and gingerly stepped down on the snowy road. It only came up to my knees. Whew! I trudged to the center where snowmobiles, snowshoers, and hikers had trampled the snow down to a hard-packed trail. I unleashed our poofy lapdog. She bolted down the trail and took in all the scents of domesticated and wild animals. She was in dog heaven!

After hiking a half mile, my phone rang. It was Danny. “I’m almost done shopping. Do you want any raspberries?” It was so surreal! We looped back to the main road and hiked up to our house. Roxy slept like the dead. Okay. I did too.

Monday was a bluebird day. We rose early and hit the slopes. C-Dot warned drivers to get on the highway by 10 AM and everyone obeyed. No crowds! We were on the new Peak 6 chairlift when they opened up the bowls.

Peak 6

We hiked up and hit it HARD! Making fresh tracks reminded me of heli-skiing in Canada.

peak 6 3

It felt good to ski double blacks again.

Peak 6 2

I even found Waldo! (Hansen)

peak 6 Waldo

Then we skied my favorite – Whale’s Tail.

returning to Whales Tail

The vanilla ice cream snow was delicious!

Whale's Tail 2

After skiing double blacks, ice skating, and having my own little adventure, I finally feel like I’m back!

What’s your idea of adventure?

Most of the photos were taken with my Droid phone. Click on them to enlarge!

77 thoughts on “I Had a Little Adventure While You Were Dancing! A Photo Essay

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  1. Great post, Susie! We went to the South Ridge Seafood Grill a couple of weeks ago – excellent! So glad you’re back! We’re in Summit again this weekend and today is our last day before heading home. Although it’s been windy, we’ve had a great time.


  2. Wow, breathtaking photos, Susie. Sounds like a fabulous adventure! Have you been watching the Olympics a lot then? I am mesmerized by the things these athletes can do. Skiing with such balance and so fast. Just wow!


    1. Thanks Jess! I was amazed at what my little Droid phone captured!
      The skiing and snowboarding has been spectacular!
      I watched in awe of the speed skaters last night. I was a super fast sprinter and skater, but my mom wouldn’t buy me speed skates. I am the same age as I partied with Eric Heiden the night he got back from the Olympics!. A whole bunch of Olympians came out of Madison in the late 1970’s. I’ve met several including his sister.


    1. Very cool! You know that crazy ride. All the ski areas keep developing new lodges. hotels, neighborhoods and the traffic just keeps getting worse. I told Danny, I want to start going up late Friday night!
      Thanks for coming by for the virtual adventure!


  3. Hi Susie, loved the post. Thought about skiing but up until a while ago the image of a hippo on barrel staves going downhill was stuck in my mind. It’s better now. Snow on the other hand has severely chafed my a**. It’s going to hit 50 today and it won’t make a dent in the piles. You’re lucky, you have mountains built into your state of residence, we have glorified hills and have to go north to VT and NH to ski. With new agility and strength I’m still having visions of leg casts and crutches. Glad the docs gave you the okay.


    1. Go for it Tom! You’ll be okay and will have the adventure of a lifetime! I grew up in Wisconsin and know those “hills” well.
      Thanks so much for stopping by and for all your support through the last year. 🙂


    1. Thanks Karen! It really feels good.
      Roxy was in dog heaven with all the wild scat. It was funny how she seemed cold when I picked her up, but when I released her on the trail, she was fine! She just wasn’t having it. No bushwhacking for her!
      I’m confused. Why do some of your comments say Karen and other’s read Hippie Cahier?


        1. Hahaha! I used to be Sue when I was in high school and college back in Wisconsin. Danny knew me as Susie since he met me through his parents, so when we got together in 1987, I went back to Susie which suits me best.


  4. What’s my adventure ? Well, nothing even related to yours, Susie. As you know, I’m terribly allergic to snow/cold/wind and such horrible things. I guess mine would be more akin to white sand, warm gulf waters, watching the powerboat races, walking the beach, having stone crab and grouper filets on the deck while i watched the herons and pelicans begging on the pier. 🙂 Hugs.


    1. You paint a beautiful image Paul! I will be ready for the beach after ski season in April. You’re not too excited about the snow? It’s been a long winter for a lot of people! Thanks for stopping by!


  5. Hi Susie,
    I’m so happy you are back and celebrating living life to the fullest, which isn’t to say that you ever stopped doing that. You just had an unwlecome and unexpected vacation, of sorts. 😉

    My idea of an outdoor adventure is any outdoor adventure that does not involve cold enough temperatures for snow to be happening. I loved snow and cold weather sports when I was younger then when fibromyalgia didn’t have me and I could tolerate the cold. That’s no longer the case for me now. Unsurprisingly, my dreams tend to feature tropical places and temperatures so I’ll say that I favor any outdoor adventure that takes place in the warm months of the year.



    1. Oh yes, my life went on hold big time! When I went back to playing tennis, it was as if I’d been in a time machine! People looked different. They painted the courts last spring. It was all surreal! Even though it was only 9 months, I felt like Rip Van Winkle!
      By spring, I’ll be ready for the beach. I can relate to your yen for tropical places! We just booked a trip to New Orleans! It should be warm!
      Thanks so much my good friend TiTi!


  6. You don’t want to know what I think of double diamonds – or any blacks for that matter. I’ll stick with the greens and blues. Of course, I get to ski maybe once every few years.
    Now that the boob issue is taken care of, perhaps you should have your head examined, too, hiking off in the deep doodoo like that. Oh, well, as Shakespeare said, all’s well that ends well.
    Love ya, Susie.


    1. Hahaha! I am laughing out loud. My boobs are good to go, but I do have an impulsivity issue! It does take me on all kinds of adventures. This one was tame compared to some!
      Thanks David! Love you too!


    1. I sure did! I wanted to add dancing to our activities on Saturday, but I was whipped! I definitely want to go out dancing on my birthday. I have a while to plan and rest up! 🙂
      Thanks so much Austin!


  7. Wow! That is quite the impressive action packed weekend. Now that I realize how accomplished a skier you are I also realize how hard it must have been to stay on those little fall free hills earlier. Congratulations on being restriction free and find you Susie again.


    1. Thanks so much! It was hard, but I was so fearful! The first time Danny took me to Peak 6 which is new this year, I was so mad at him. He wanted me to take a run which looked a little sketchy and I just wasn’t there yet. It took a while just to build up my muscles. I’m still working on that too.
      Now there isn’t much I won’t do. I’m staying away from the cornice drop-ins, at least for now…. 🙂


  8. Congratulations on fighting though and attaining your freedom once again. Its a battle, won, and a check on the good side of the ledger.


    1. That’s right! Another win for the good guys! I’m just thankful I went in for that mammogram. It’s funny how life has its own ideas. I think I’m stronger and more focused now! It’s all good!
      Thank you so much Barney!


  9. So glad to hear that you’re back!
    It’s amazing that Roxy didn’t just blend right in with all that snow with only her two black eyes to give her away. Reggie loves the snow too. He leaps and jumps around like a puppy and then climbs to the top of the biggest snow pile to pee. 😉


    1. Reggie is master among all snow piles! Roxy does blend in and it was snowing pretty hard. When we walked along the road home, I leashed her and made her walk on the snowbank in case an on-coming car didn’t see her.
      Thanks so much! I’m still building my muscles.


  10. Tabbing Downey Jr for the part makes you the smartest gal in the room. And then you played beat the clock with your Valentines dinner, and then you’re swooshing away and then . . and then . . and then.
    Lady, this is HUGE adventure you’re delivering. Not to mention, the 315 inches in Breckenridge makes me feel just a tad bit whiney about our winter.
    PS- As much of a hate/hate relationship as I’ve had with editors over the years, I have to allow for a little editorial humbug nonetheless. You have to bring together the part where you write about your fleece pants . . .

    “That night, I wore loose fleece pants which were pushed way up while my boots fill

    ed with snow. Danny watched and laughed from the top of the embankment. It took me more than twenty minutes to climb back up.”

    Keep on keeping on sistah.


    1. Weird! I don’t know when that happened! I stuck “fill ed” back together! Sheesh!
      It was a lot of fun! The snow has been amazing. I went yesterday for a few runs, but worked on a blog post today. I hit that same trail tonight. It was even sketchier! Danny is coming with me next time!


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