By Ariel Duran, Phase I Fellow
When I arrived at AMI, I worried that I might arrive to snow covering the mountain and that my little Honda Civic would struggle to make it up the hills. My car did get stuck on the first day, but only because I tried to turn around on a dirt road after missing my turn towards the Lodge. I only saw a small patch of snow in those early days and, with the warmest months on the horizon, my worries were eased.
Views on this mountain have been beautiful at every stage. In the spring, I could see across the valley to the next mountain through the bare trees. In the summer, I could walk through shaded woods surrounded by green in all directions. Now, fall brings the promise of warm colors covering the mountains from peak to valley creek. However, I also learned that fall in these mountains also brings snow. Luckily, the first snow of this fall came on a day off.
Only a few inches fell, but it was enough to go outside and enjoy the fresh snow. I’m not exactly sure how I’ve lived in snowy places for 23 years without ever making a snowman or sledding down a hill, but this day seemed to be a fine day to try.
I’ll admit that I’m not the most artistically gifted person, but I was very proud of the snowman I helped build. With frozen grapes for eyes and buttons, a chewed up carrot for a nose, a twig for a smile, two more twigs for classic snowman arms, and some leaves for a toupee, a pile of snow came to life.
Later, we went back outside and sled down the hill next to the Lodge. The view from the top of that hill let us see down our mountain and across three more hills of snow-covered trees. My first attempt at sledding got me about 10 feet before I went off track and came to a slow stop. After another short attempt, I finally got the hang of it and could make my way down the hill. I don’t think I have the words to describe the pure joy that I felt sledding down that big hill but hopefully these pictures can explain it better.
Phase I is coming to an end and I’m sad to say goodbye to this mountain, for the moment, but I’m also glad I got to enjoy it just one more day.