Where I come from, snow is a magical thing that only happens on TV or if you buy a can of horribly toxic gunk and spray it around.
I mean, it’s jolly hot in Australia.
And I mean proper hot.
None of this “Oh lord it’s 104 (30 degrees in normal temps) I’m going to expire of heat exhaustion” Sacramento hot nonsense.
I’m talking “Oh look I’m going for a walk outside to fry bacon on my forearm” hot.
So, although I arrived here to live in June, I have visited on and off for the past six months and in December I made a point of going to see snow in the mountains. I googled possible locations and a sweet little spot called ‘Strawberry Lodge’ caught my attention.
“Strawberry Lodge!” thinks I.
“What a delightful sounding location. I shall book this forthwith and frolic in the snow surrounded by all things nice and pleasant!”
The day comes and I start the drive up to the fabled Strawberry Lodge in my itty zippy hire car. It’s a little sunny, I have the music on and to begin with, the drive is a relatively simple 4 lane freeway with plenty of signage and room to move. I can see a snow covered mountain range in the distance and I’m feeling good about the whole trip.
About an hour in, things start to get a tad hairy. The road narrows to single lane and begins to twist and turn as it snakes up the mountain, and the sheer drop to a horrible firey death on one side is matched in terror by the looming rocky precipice on the other.
I pull over at one point to buy snow boots and a pair of gloves and at this point, I send a desperate facebook post out to my loved ones telling them that if they never hear from me again, Highway 50 has eaten me.
The road doesn’t seem to affect anyone else in the same manner however, and I am overtaken continuously by irritated individuals who fail to notice the driver of the car they’re cursing is shaking and white knuckled as she navigates this hellish highway.
I have never been so happy to hear the irritating GPS voice announce an arrival point as I have been that day. I literally jump out the car and survey my surroundings. STRAWBERRY LODGE! The outside is just as I had seen online, an adorable green-roofed wooden structure, nestled in the very lightly snow-covered mountains.
My happiness is somewhat dampened when I drag my suitcase inside and see a giant fricking stuffed bear in the foyer. Add this to the deer heads on the wall, the buffalo in the bathrooms and the skiing supplies EVERYWHERE and I soon realise this is not a sweet little nook of relaxation, but in fact, a hunting lodge full of sweaty bearded men.
Further dampness occurs when I try on my snow boots to find I have been sold two right feet. I call the purveyors and I’m told I can return them, provided they aren’t used. Some time was spent debating how on earth I could use two right boots, and wondering if I should perhaps hop about on one foot in the snow just to put them to the test.
But my room is quaint and has a splendid view, albeit with no wifi or tv or any form of entertainment, and so I settle in for the night, hoping for snowfall so I may frolic and cavort in its powdery goodness in the morning.
And this is where the magic happens.
2am comes and I look out the window at flurries of white. I am fairly sure my eyes were the size of dinner plates at this point and all I could do was squeak in pleasure and plan the epic snow creations I would construct once daylight hit.
Sadly, the magic of snow fails to compensate for the fact it is indeed, FROZEN WATER and so the next morning my delusions of grandeur and snow castles was reduced to a hurried snow bunny sculpture and a slight case of frostbite.
I swear everyone in the lodge was staring out the window at the ‘crazy australian’ diligently trying to photograph what was essentially a small white lump amidst a lot of other white lumps. I like to think that snow bunny lasted for weeks and small children flocked to it in joy and wonder and were thankful to the person who lost feeling in her fingers to make it.
**Join us every Friday for the further adventures of Tanya, our token Aussie and new Director of Sales and Marketing as she experiences the wide wild world of Sacramento in her whimsical, bumbling way.