(I know, I know, I said this was for tomorrow...but after you read it you'll thank me for posting it today!)
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I was nervous!
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I was nervous!
And apprehensive, but giddy with excitement over the prospects of taking Noelle snowshoeing.
She told me she loved to hike and was very passionate about the outdoors. These details were very encouraging. I had no doubt that she would love it!
The day began cold and blustery. I knew there would be some weather, which didn’t discourage me really. I was the proud owner of a large array of various jackets, hats, gaitors, and gloves that would easily combat any adverse weather. After my grandma’s warning, I didn’t want to take any chances in making sure Noelle was safe and warm. Noelle was in good hands!
We loaded the car and set out to the destination I had planned. We parked the car and, with some apprehension, began the task of layering, putting on the snowshoes, getting the poles the right length, and making sure everything was in order. There was no way this was going to go wrong!
I could tell that Noelle was a little nervous, not only with the idea of heading into the great unknown, but in her ability in learning how to snowshoe. I told her that with my 10 step program she would be an expert! So, with that, I had her take 10 steps…
Noelle picked it up very quickly and we were off to my secret destination, Jake's Love Shack. We walked around, and it seemed to elude me, but we finally found it. Apparently someone had discovered this old cowboy cabin and did some ‘renovations’ which included an old chewed up bed, some plexiglass windows, and a bit of insulation. My father had warned me about taking her there, fearing that she might get the wrong idea. I assured him that she, nor he, had anything to worry about.
Once there we went inside to find a rather cozy haven but little desire to explore the ‘love shack’ idea. We looked around, felt good that we had done it it’s due diligence and then headed out. Unbeknownst to Noelle, the hard part was ahead of us. I wanted this to be fun, but also worth remembering. Taking Noelle to Strawberry Rock, though bold and daring on my part, would give her something to talk about and definitely remember…
The route to Strawberry Rock was a little daunting, especially in the winter. The path was covered with logs, overgrowth, and brush that seemed to thwart every step we took. It was also fairly steep which made getting any kind of traction even more difficult especially in 4-5 feet of snow.
Can I just say how impressed I am with Noelle?! She proved to me that she is every bit the outdoor girl she said she was. She never stopped smiling nor did I hear her complain. In my opinion, girls like her are so rare…
We both fell many times, but the snow was powdery soft and we were so bundled up that it was actually fun! (This is Noelle...Jason is being kind. I don't think he fell once.)
Once at Strawberry Rock, a beautiful view was unveiled to us. We could see all of the Colorado Plateau, other than some ground level cloud cover, and the newly fallen blanket of snow made everything look celestial. It would have been absolutely magical, except for the wind.
I took Noelle down to a nearby rock to get out of it. We drank hot Irish Crème Hot Chocolate and ate a bit of a peach fruit bar. Here I was, with one of the most beautiful girls I’d ever known, in one of my favorite places in the world. I really did feel I was the luckiest guy on earth! There was only one thing left to do…
The way down proved to be more of a challenge and we seemed to tumble all the way down. (Me again...I tumbled, Jason ran.) It being very steep was a bit scary but Noelle took it in stride. Even after falling several times, all I heard from her was laughter and ‘please help me up’ which I rushed to do. I had more fun than I had ever had taking anyone snowshoeing! I couldn’t wait to go again!
Later that evening I finally realized what kind of toll this took on both of us. Noelle quickly settled into the couch with a down comforter and a roaring fire. This was my opportunity to show her how much she meant to me by fixing a meal which included smoked brisket, a garden salad, and steamed vegetables. All the while Noelle took a well-deserved nap. I couldn’t think of a more perfect day!
Until next time…