A Perfect Day!!!

I suppose every person has his or her own idea of a perfect day.  Today was mine.  As a single mom, I very rarely get a day to myself with no commitments, no obligations, and no to-do list.  Even when my son is with his father, I always have a million errands to run, a house to clean, laundry to do, etc.  Today I spent a beautiful day on my own time.  And that is what made it perfect.  I woke up to no alarm, chose my destination for the day based on my gut, took the slow road through little towns instead of the highway, skied only as much as I wanted….well you get the picture

I am in Portland, OR for work with my new job for two weeks.  I’ve been here a lot lately which is why the Palate has been a little quiet in recent weeks.  The weather all week has been absolutely gorgeous and the weekend promised more of the same.  With Mount Hood only an hour away and some of the ski areas still open for spring skiing, I had to go.  Something about that snow covered mountain, visible daily from my hotel room window, was calling to me.  And so, I put on my ski gear (yes, I planned ahead and brought it with me just in case), grabbed a tea, and headed East on Highway 26. By 10am I had parked, rented my skis & boots, and was on the Mt Hood Express chairlift at the Meadows Ski Area.



As I started my way down the first run, I had a rude awakening.  The snow was not snow at all but a very soft, deep slush and I found it difficult to adjust to it.  I had never skied on this stuff before.  My skis wanted to go in a different direction than my legs and I found it was hard work to keep them in synch.  I can pretty much ski 6 to 7 hours straight with no break, but today I was spent by the end of my third run.  I couldn’t figure it out…..I had skied at higher altitudes, had been sure to eat breakfast and drink plenty of water and yet I was tired.  That’s when I realized my legs were shaking from all that adjusting to the conditions.  But my ego would not let me quit and so I persevered. 

A few more runs later I got used to the snow and felt a little more confident.   A little confidence can be a dangerous thing, as I learned later when I decided to try a more steep and difficult run.  I knew as I started down that I had made a huge mistake but there was no turning back.  Just as I was coming around a turn at the steepest part of the hill, my ski caught an edge and splat I was down in the weirdest position that I’ve fallen in while skiing.  One ski had popped off and the other leg had twisted into a funky plant in the deep slush, and to boot, my ankle felt like it had twisted.  About now you’re wondering why in the world this would rate as a perfect day for me but honestly I was having fun up until that point.  My ankle only a hurt a little and so I decided to do a couple more runs.  I gave up when I found myself at the top of a double black mogul run and the only way out of it was either ski down or trek back up the mountain about 100 feet with my skis on.  In better conditions there wouldn’t have been a decision to be made.  Although my ego didn’t agree, I trekked back up the mountain and onto a more manageable slope.  Tired and feeling rather warm I decided I was hungry, thirsty and done with skiing for the day!!

I scored an outdoor table at the Alpenstube restaurant at the base of the mountain and spent the remainder of the afternoon eating good food, drinking great beer and people watching while the sun shone brilliantly in the beautiful blue sky.  Today was their annual Pond Skimming contest.  Skiers and boarders come down a hill, dressed in funky costumes, and have to ski/ride across a long pool of water without falling into the water.  This alone kept me entertained for most of the afternoon as I had an awesome view from my table.  One thing I really like about Oregon restaurants is that they will never rush you or make you feel like you need to rush your stay.  I stayed at that table for nearly three hours.  I ordered their grilled Halibut tacos for lunch and a Kona Pale Ale to wash them down.  The tacos were delicious and came with a side of grilled corn and black beans.  After polishing off the plate, I realized I was still hungry and craving seasoned waffle fries.  So much for choosing healthy for my meal!  Unfortunately the Garlic & Rosemary Fries were only available for happy hour which was not to start for another hour.  So I ordered another beer, put up my feet on the chair across from me and continued to watch the show and bask in the glorious sunshine. 



Around 4pm I decided it was time to return my skis and head back to Portland, my temporary home.  After a relaxing drive back to my hotel, what I really needed was a nap and so I indulged and slept for nearly two hours.  A shower and a walk later, I decided to hang out with my Marriott family at the bar, and write while sipping on a glass of Woodford’s Reserve.  It really was a perfect day!!!



Wine tasting tomorrow!!

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