This past weekend we got invited to stay at a Arrowhead chalet rented by our friend Dominic. We couldn’t leave L.A. until Saturday evening, as I had prior commitments during the day. The Weather Channel forecasted rain here in the city, but several snow storms in the nearby mountains, so we bought some tire chains as a precaution. We ran into some rain on the way there but only for 5 minutes and, as we started driving up the mountains, we were almost positive that after all, we wouldn’t need any chains since it wasn’t snowing and the roads didn’t have any ice. That was more wishful thinking; after a large curve we saw some rangers parked on the side of the road with a big flashing sign reading “Tire chains required from this point on”. So, we pulled over and we just did that gladly — soon after driving off, we entered a Winterland zone, almost a different dimension where everything was completely covered in a few inches of snow. It was foggy and windy, and snow began to fall in large flakes. It all reminded me of James Joyce’s The Dubliners, not because it was Saint Patty’s day, but because one of the book’s short stories, The Dead, is about the snow, which covers equally all living and unliving things and everything looks the same under that neutral white blanket. I believe it’s no coincidence that I thought about The Dead in that moment, because what happened next could have potentially killed us. Just kidding, but it was so scary: We were going slow, diligently following our GPS instructions, but we quickly learned that going slow is actually not the best strategy on the snow, especially if you need to go up the hill: You need all the power the engine can summon to push forward. Unfortunately, we got stuck at some point on a uphill, our car would simply not move and we had to back up to the beginning of the uphill. I really thought we were going to spend the night stranded in the snow, but luckily, there were other vehicles on the road and a couple of them stopped to check on us. Hurray for humanity! I’m glad we were not the only crazy ones venturing on snowy roads at night! After what seemed like an eternity,we finally made it to the chalet. Our friends couldn’t believe our recklessness; they kept saying we were such daredevils! We stayed up late, catching up with everyone by the fire. The snow couldn’t stop falling, by the time we went to bed, the balcony had two feet of snow!
The next day, we enjoyed the beautiful views of the lake. We all felt like kids at Christmas; we built a snowman and threw snowballs at each other. We were all impressed by the appearance of some snow flakes, some of them they just looked like perfect little plastic balls; I know that we all live in L.A. and we’re not used to see snow, but these snowflakes made everyone wonder if they were a byproduct of climate change. After all, it was only two weeks ago when we enjoyed a very hot weekend (in the 80s) and this weekend the temperature was down to 60 … just saying.
At the end of the day, when we said our goodbyes, and loaded the car with our belongings, the Duke and I were amazed to see that we were missing one chain — we must have lost it in the midst of the snowstorm the night before. Crazy! We made it back all in one piece, despite the fact that a few cars were sliding slightly off the road descending the mountains. Note to myself and yourself: Don’t mess with snowy roads!