Wednesday, May 13, 2009


When I was a little girl, I used to love a show on PBS called The Magic of Oil Painting. I’d watch with wide eyes as Bill Alexander spent thirty minutes creating, what appeared to me to be a masterpiece. It truly was magic. One of the catch phrases that Bill, a portly, gray haired gentleman with a thick accent, used frequently was this: “In order to show light, you have to have dark!” I’m not much of an artist myself, but that idea has always stayed with me as kind of a general philosophy for life. Without darkness, there would be no contrast, and the light would go unappreciated and unnoticed.

If the preceding week of rain and general dreariness was the dark, then this past weekend was certainly the light. I welcomed with open arms what seemed to be the heralding of another spectacular Tahoe summer.

Andrew and I decided on Saturday to take the dogs to the Emigrant Trail—one of the first to be completely snow-free this time of year. We took our dog Cap, our neighbor’s crazy one-year-old lab Mary, a pair of running shoes for me, and a mountain bike for Andrew. This was our first attempt to turn my long run into a family affair, and although it was a mellow pace for Andrew, I’d say it was rather successful.

After the dogs and I were thoroughly exercised, we showered and headed off to Squaw Valley for the annual springtime event: Pond Skimming! This event is classic Squaw Valley. Skiers and boarders ride down the hill to a very small jump and attempt to ski across a good sized pond. Participants are in costume, and there are some crazy antics, to be sure. I saw pro skiers, teachers from my school, students of mine, and friends all getting soaking wet in the name of a good time.

Party time at Squaw

It was a weekend full of sunshine and smiles. And as one of my eighth-graders, Alissa, keeps reminding me, “Only nine more days of school!”


  1. Ha ha Gretchen, that video was awesome! My boys and I watched it twice~ that was great. I used to watch Bob Ross as a kid, with his "Happy little trees" too- I remember being amazed watching him make a painting from start to finish, with "no mistakes." Thanks for sharing, and I'm glad you had such a beautiful weekend! :)

  2. Looks like a gorgeous day! I'm impressed that you're school year is done so soon - when did you start?

  3. The pond skimming at Squaw looks like a hoot! Had a similar celebration up on Mt. Baker years ago on the Forth of July that was called the slush bowl. Didn't have snow boards back then but costumed skiers and nude skiers were the norm shooting across the pond. They would also build a big ramp and teams of people with huge tractor inner-tubes would climb high on the ski slope above and see how far they could launch themselves into the slush bowl.

    The celebration was shut down claiming environmental damage but the real issue was hundreds of drunk drivers trying to get home after the event.

    I would love to get back up to Squaw for another crack at WS100. Your photos brought be back to those thoughts. Sounds like next year we will get an opportunity to apply for the lottery again. Are you running any of the WS training runs?

  4. Hey Mountain Girl. I really think we are more aware of the subtleties of the changing of the seasons, living where we do. And we celebrate it!! Today is the last day of the ski season at Sunshine Village and we will also have "The Slush Cup" our version of pond skimming. In my party days, I once attempted it sitting on a couch on skis. We were the last ones of the day to attempt a crossing, because naturally the couch sunk like a stone. So did we because we had been sitting on the couch in the sun drinking beers for hours.

    Your honey needs to get himself a single speed and then you can go on running/biking adventures together with a little more "equality of speed"!

  5. Hitting the Emigrant Trail on Thursday for my first run in the mountains this season. So nice to see the snow melting! Glad you enjoyed the great weekend weather.

  6. Had a great run to Prosser Creek this morning. Perfect weather. Love that trail. Yes, I'll be at the camp this weekend. See you at Deadwood!