A winter weather warning was out last night with high winds (>45mph) projected and 3 – 4 feet of possible snow. Glad that the forecasters got it wrong as there was only 4 to 5 inches of new powder this morning and very light if any wind. The snow was perfect light and pristine. Footnote, the forecasters didn’t really get it wrong the storm just came through a bit later and lasted longe than we expected!
Today is a handover day when most members of the group head out after lunch and another group will join us through to Thursday when we leave. It is sad as this group has gelled really well. We had a lovely festive evening last night, BBQ steak and prawns with fluffy baked potato, salads, mushroom sauce, fresh asparagus and to end home made ice cream ( more of that later) with chocolate brownies.
After the main entree, the lights were dimmed and Ben (Cheetah) read out the poem of the cremation of Sam McGhie. Whilst he was reading Scott, the youngest member of our group hand churned the ice cream in an old fashioned wooded churn packed with snow. The sound of the squeaking churn, together with the sound of the snow sliding off the yurt roof only added to the atmosphere created by Ben telling the tale of Sam giving into the cold and his last wish to his travelling companion being that he was cremated so he could exit the world warm. Good tale for a winters evening.
Connie (Dover) then carried on the tradition of group entertainment round a fireplace (hot wood burning stove) by singing 2 songs, one a beautiful Native American song (‘she Carries it with her’ an Iroquois song) the other a drovers song. Must admit that I was so immersed in the sound of her voice that I did not really follow the words of the second song. She has recorded some CDs so we will see if we can pick something up. John expressed his thanks both to the guides, Connie and the rest of our group with some lovely heartfelt words which touched me as I feel we have made new friends on this trip.
This morning we headed out for a ski up Otter Creek, no otters in sight not surprising as the Creek was frozen over! However it was beautiful skiing through the trees and open meadows with fresh snow lightly falling and the slightest puff of wind causing a snowstorm as the light powder blew off the trees. As we entered the woodland proper I was reminded in my imagination of the Narnia books and the Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe in particular. Just looking for Tumnus, the fawn to materialise out of the trees and beckon us to his burrow for tea! The tea was in my pack which we enjoyed on our return to the snowcoach.
Tasty lunch to refuel of tomato soup and cheese toasties before saying goodbye to our new friends who were heading back to West Yellowstone as we were heading out on the Rollercoaster ride! So named because it goes up and down, with a couple of bigger downs, one of which we chickened out of due to the big compression at the bottom and created a side zig zag trail as a fun alternative.
We did the loop twice, first time was harder work as we were taking turns to break trail. Enjoyed the sensation of my skis gliding under the top layer of snow, sometimes just peeking through, as I broke through a foot of fresh powder. The second loop was much faster and we got back to the yurts in time to say hi to the new group of campers before they headed out on their shake-down ski.
Different dynamics of the group, only half of which had arrived as the others snow coach broke down en route (familiar story) but possibly a bit more traumatic for them than us. Will be fun getting to know everyone.
See below for a video of our day. Press play to view