Too Much Snow

3 Dec

December made a grand entrance here in Idaho a few days ago with a near-record snowfall. Having grown up in Southern California, I’m not a huge fan of snow, especially when it lands on driveways, sidewalks and streets. Nor am I a fan of any temperature that drops below 65 degrees.

As my kids and I tried to shovel the driveway a few days ago, they reminded me of another time when there seemed to be too much snow. About 5 or 6 years ago, one of my husband’s friends offered us the use of his cabin for the Easter weekend. The cabin is located up in the mountains near Stanley, Idaho. You might have heard of Stanley. It has, on numerous occasions, been mentioned on the national news as being the coldest spot in the nation.

A weekend at the cabin sounded like fun, so we hauled the toboggan out of the garage, packed up the coats, boots, and mittens along with the Easter eggs and a ham, and headed for Stanley.

On Sunday morning, my husband decided to go steelhead fishing in the nearby Salmon River. Concerned for his safety, I suggested that instead of tromping alone through snowy riverbanks and fishing in an icy river, he would be way better off staying in the nice warm cabin with me and the children. He gave me a hug and assured me that he would be careful. Then he bundled up in his cold-weather gear, took his fishing pole, and drove away in our truck.

The kids and I were perfectly happy reading books, playing games and baking cookies in the cabin. After awhile, we thought it would be fun to sit outside in the hot tub. We all put on our swimsuits and grabbed a beach towel. I told the two younger kids to wait in the cabin while my oldest son and I went out on the deck to remove the cover from the hot tub. But they must have been too excited to wait, because a moment later they followed us outside. Turning, I yelled, “Don’t shut the–” but it was too late. They had already slammed the door behind them.

Now that particular door has an annoying thing about it in that it’s always unlocked from the inside, but when you try to open it from the outside, it’s locked. I yanked on the knob. Sure enough, it was locked. I pounded on it. Still locked. I ran around to the front door. It was locked too. I checked under the mat. No key.

Not only did I have no key, I had no phone, no vehicle, no boots, and, except for our swimsuits, no clothes. Definitely not good.

I wondered about breaking a window. But the cabin was surrounded by like 9 feet of snow. The only windows I could get to were huge picture windows. Trying to break one of them didn’t seem like a good idea.

I didn’t expect my husband to return for hours. The kids and I were already freezing. I had to do something. The town of Stanley was too far for us to walk, but there were 2 or 3 cabins down the road. I figured that was our best option.

Wrapped up in our beach towels, the kids and I trekked barefoot through the snow to the next cabin. As we got closer, I could see that it was unoccupied. We moved on to the next one. This one looked more promising. A path had been cleared to the door.

A man answered our knock and I was overjoyed to see him. He was not happy to see us. When I pointed to the children’s numb toes, he reluctantly let us step inside. Puzzled by our host’s strange behavior, I looked around. It appeared that our host had been engaged in some kind of disreputable behavior when we had knocked on his door. The thought occurred to me that perhaps the kids and I would be safer if we were back outside in the snow.

Teeth chattering, I quickly explained our situation and asked the man if I could use his phone. I had no idea who I would call. But I was starting to think that maybe calling the sheriff would be a good idea.

He shook his head. “No, no, no,” he said. “You gotta call the bar. That’s where everyone is.”

Oh, really? I never would have guessed that myself—seeing as how I have yet to spend an Easter Sunday sitting in a bar.

Rolling his eyes at me, he dialed the bar and relayed my predicament to the bartender. The bartender shared the story with the patrons. Amazingly, the caretaker of the cabin was there. She asked to speak directly to me. She told me where an extra cabin key was hidden. Things were looking up.

I hustled the kids out the door and we traipsed back to our cabin. The extra key was right where the caretaker had said it would be. I unlocked the door and we rushed inside, gratefully soaking in the warmth.

As we gathered near the fire, the kids started giggling. They thought it was awfully funny that I had been so concerned for their dad’s safety when we were the ones who nearly froze to death. Yeah, I thought that was real funny too.

I promised to make us all some hot chocolate with lots of extra marshmallows. But first, I ran back outside and returned the extra key to its hiding place. You know, just in case…

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One Response to “Too Much Snow”

  1. Wagonwife Designs December 4, 2010 at 5:02 am #

    What an amazing Easter that was. Glad it turned out okay.
    Not much for snow either. Born in Phoenix and now live in the Northeast. We can have a collective groan…
    all together now.

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