Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Big Bear

The girls have a long holiday weekend every Feb. over Presidents weekend. Many schools refer to this as "ski week". We thought we would take our chances and book a weekend in Big Bear with hopes of a little snow. We did not luck out with snow, but we did luck out with beautiful 60 degree sunny weather. I'm thinking it was actually just as fun with this weather. We didn't have to worry about driving conditions or heavy clothes. We rented a lovely 3 bedroom house with all the amenities we could need.
They had a pool table for the blokes. Alex gave the girls their first lesson in bar games.
Bunk beds were high on the list of priorities. Lily slept up top and Gemma on bottom after much negotiations.
Gemma was so excited to have snow gear that she decided to wear it no matter what. You never know when snow pants might be handy.
Like shoveling dirt and making pine cone piles in the back yard.
After thoroughly exploring our cabin home, we headed down to the lake to take in the scenery. We've pretty much decided a lake house is the way to go. So beautiful. We will have to come back in summer to get out on a boat.
There are wooden bear sculptures all over town to welcome you to big bear. Gemma shouted out "BEAR!" every time she saw one, which was all the time. She assured us that all the real bears are dead though.
Granny and Grampy joined us on the trip and had fun exploring a new part of California.
Thanks to the great weather and lack of snow we were able to do a couple of hikes in the area. On Saturday we did the Woodland Trail. It is 1.5 miles round trip and has numbered markers along the way with a corresponding brochure to tell you information. Too bad they were out of brochures. Gemma managed to find all the markers anyway and trace her finger along the number calling them out. A little preschool action while we hike. Otherwise she pretty much whined for the whole 1.5 miles.
There were plenty of cool rock formations to climb. We stopped to explore each one. I had forgotten that big bear was so rocky. It has only been over 15 years since I had been up here.
Grampy and Dad lended a hand to the explorers and everyone survived in tact.
There were lovely views of the lake from the trail and you can see the snow on the ski slopes behind. It is all man made and didn't seem like the best ski conditions but in California you make do with what you have.
The biggest rock formation was quite advanced. Grampy took the front approach and scaled up the huge rock.
Lily scrambled up the back way and they both made it to the top.
Perhaps the highlight of the trip and house was the hot tub. The girls got matching new swim suits for Valentines on Saturday and couldn't wait to get them wet.
They went in every day, sometimes twice a day and had so much fun. It almost has us convinced to get one at our house.
Nothing better than swimming amongst the pines.
Saturday afternoon we headed into town to ride the alpine slides. I remember them from childhood and nothing has changed, well maybe the lines are longer. Maybe it was just a romantic thing to do on a Valentines date.
The girls thought it was pretty great and would loved to have gone again. 

Sunday we got up and wanted to explore another hike.  Just to get from the parking area to the start of the trail we had to dodge ice patches. The girls thought this was wonderful of course. It was still in the 60's but this trail was all shaded by the mountain and so the snow melts in the day and turns back to ice at night.
Finally the start of the town trail.
The snow/ice got more and more extensive as the trail went on. At times there was no trail, just sheets of ice. Too bad we didn't have ice skates.
The ladies all stuck together, we hugged the hillside at times.
Alex tried to carry Gemma up and over one particularly icy patch which just ended up with the two of them sliding down the hillside. She thought it was wonderful and wanted to do it again. Alex, not so much.
At the end of the trail we had a drink at the ski lodge before we turned around and headed back to our car. It was so refreshing in the mountain air. The perfect weekend of R&R.

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