The only thing unconquered was the sledding hill. Or to be more precise: a shimmering ice sheet of epic proportions had been abandoned up until this moment. This was not your average sledding hill, and at 1,700 feet it was not designed for the faint of heart. As someone who has yet to master skiing or snowboarding, sledding is something I enjoy wholeheartedly. The thing about sledding is that it takes relatively little skill and even if you crash or roll down the hill, no one is going to give you any flack. Perhaps that is why I enjoy sledding – there is little room for embarrassment.
The morning began just as the last, which is with me wondering where I managed to acquire such an appetite over the night, and breakfast was a feast fit for kings. Stomachs full we hiked out to the sledding hill to discover that over the night it froze into a solid sheet of ice. I didn’t care: the slicker the better in my mind.
Once aboard my tube I pushed off into an icy blast of arctic air. If the speed wasn’t enough to leave my breakfast at the top of the hill, the sheer drop into a snowy abyss ensured all stomachs left behind. Once my momentum really got going I looked back in horror as the Lodge owners’ canines came barreling down the hill after me, teeth snarling, growling and barking. Within seconds their teeth were clamped down on my boots. I did everything in my power to simultaneously steer my tube down the hill while attempting to dislodge the dogs from my legs, but it was an impossible battle. Before I knew it I was hurtling toward the Aspen trees lining the property – I could have just rolled off my tube or dug my heels into the ground, but did I? No. Instead I flew through the air, bounced off the trees, rolled around a bit on the crunchy snow, stood up, looked myself over, and proclaimed – “Again!”
Up the hill I marched and downhill I flew again. Over and over, each time attempting to make my tube faster and more streamlined. I realized I was missing a key element - weight. Sure the Lodge was feeding me like it was going out of style, but I still lacked the heft necessary to really make me sail. So, I enlisted Dan. Yes, he’s not much bigger than me, but together we could provide the weight necessary to really throttle ourselves down the hill.
It took a few tries, but eventually we figured out the exact science of tubing. With both of us gripping on to the same tube we managed to soar down that hill with the speed of a sound. Each time we would come just inches from crashing into the Aspens, but somehow we managed to abandon ship with just the right timing. It was incredible.
The dogs never gave up their mission of attack as we sailed down the hill, but we figured that canine intelligence outweighed our own as they were just trying to prevent us from an untimely death involving high speed and a forest of trees.
I could have kept going, but our check-out time loomed closer. We took our tube for one last run, dogs snapping at our heels, before loading up our gear in the snow cat for the treacherous trip back down the mountainside.
Before leaving Dan and I took a moment to say goodbye to the dogs. Although I failed to mention it, the dogs were actually very sweet (when we weren’t sailing down a hill) as they trailed along on all our snowshoeing and cross country skiing adventures.
I didn’t realize it until we got back down the mountain, but all that sledding really worked up my appetite and without the wonderful chef at the Mountain Home Lodge to feed me how would I ever survive? With my panic attack in full swing, Dan frantically searched for a place to feed me. Luckily, within minutes we arrived at a charming soup and sandwich shop called O’Grady’s where after the heaps of food at the Lodge, my little sandwich paled in comparison. Nevertheless, it was delicious and a good reminder that I don’t really require 5,000 calories of food per day. Darn.
Now that we are safely back home, I can’t help but miss our cozy cabin tucked into the heart of the Cascades. It was, in one word, perfect. Between the stunning scenery, the gourmet meals, and the endless activities, I would go back in a heartbeat. If I were to ever disappear, you’ll know where to find me.