on December 23-24, 2016
Saint Maries, ID
Peter and I drove to Saint Maries, ID to spend the long Christmas weekend with Christy.
We stayed at a Super 8 Hotel in Ellensburg Thursday night after work to get Snoqualmie Pass over with while conditions were still good. A thin, days old layer of snow covered the ground Ellensburg. We had the pool and hot tub to ourselves, but didn’t get up in time the next morning to catch the free “continental breakfast”. There was a fresh layer of snow on the ground.
Hours later we arrived in Coeur d’Alene and got a big pile of nachos and a couple beers from a local brewery. We were waiting for Christy to get off work and meet us for a potluck with a friend of hers, so Peter and I had a few hours to kill in CDA.
We walked a short trail at the north tip of Lake Coeur d’Alene where we could see a Christmas cruise make a short journey from the north part of the lake at the Hotel Budapest style resort to a western shore where fireworks would go off when the boat arrived. Winter solstice was only a few days before, and north Idaho is on the eastern end of the Pacific Time Zone, so it got dark shortly after 4 pm when we got back to the parking lot. We walked around the snow covered and “closed” docks featuring holiday light displays.
Snow started coming down pretty hard, and Christy called me while Peter and I were in a store to tell us to head to Saint Maries. She thought the roads would be too bad in a few hours when we had all planned to drive down after the potluck.
So we arrived in Saint Maries just over an hour later to my sister’s warm, festive house and her happy malamute!
In the morning my sister made a delicious frittata. What a winter wonderland it was there! Outside we could hear neighbors driving the roads on their 4 wheelers, some with mini snowplows attached in front, others with sleds full of kids attached in back. Midmorning, we drove up to Kellogg to rent xc skis.
Between Kellogg and Saint Maries, my sister knew of an old railroad-converted-trail that would be a good first-time xc ski as neither Peter nor I had ever xc skied before. Under the fluffy snow, there was a thick layer of ice in the parking lot.
I’ve actually never done any kind of skiing in my life, just some snowboarding on various occasions. This trail was completely flat, so it was perfect for taking some time to figure xc skiing out. Christy lead the way through fresh snow, following what we thought were moose tracks. There was absolutely no one out there!
Keena ran around off leash with endless energy and happiness. We turned around after passing through a marsh via a land bridge made for the railroad, and shortly after, Keena jumped in the water to my sister’s malcontent.
By the time we got back to the car, it was pretty dark. We’d been surviving off Cheez-Its and beer, which did not help with anyone’s ability to ski. We arrived at Saint Maries only grocery store 10 minutes before it closed until the day after Christmas.
That evening, Peter made lasagna (a Plourde family tradition on Christmas Eve), and I made progress on the cat puzzle.