Fortunately, only a few days after Kate and Mister's arrival back in Colorado, Kate's cold subsided to a mild stuffiness. They and Mom and Dad Miller drove to Frisco to spend a few days up in the mountains. This was starting to be a sort of tradition--Kate couldn't think of a time when they had visited Colorado and not gone to spend some time in Frisco. This year, it was special blessing because it was hot in the Springs where the Millers had no air conditioning, and absolutely perfect in the mountains, where one didn't need air conditioning. While they were there, Mister planned a date with Kate to take her up one of the ski lifts.
The day was perfect--sunny, with a nice breeze, and pleasantly cool in the shade. They chose Breckenridge over Vale or Copper, since it was closer and Kate had never been there before. They knew that Lift 7 was running, but getting up to the lodge at Lift 7 was another matter entirely. After looking at their map, Mister took a turn leading steeply up the mountain. At each switchback, Kate breathed a little more heavily of the cool air through her open window and clutched her door handle a little tighter. She had always been prone to car-sickness, but this sort of wooziness was almost unprecedented. I'm just FINE, Kate tried to convince herself, I just need to think about something else.
"These houses must have such a great view!" she said, attempting to sound cheerful and interested in her surroundings. "I bet they could just walk out and ski down the hill any time they want!"
Mister made a non-committal sound, and eventually replied. "Hmmmm. I don't think this road connects to where we want to go. It does on the map, but...not here." He looked over at Kate, who gave him a weak smile.
"Okay." She said gamely, "Let's go back and get the right road."
They drove back down the windy road, only to pick another, equally sickening climb. We're going on a DATE! Kate reminded herself, This is FUN! Right...FUN! I'm having FUN! Kate felt genuinely ill by the time they pulled off into the dirt parking area. She got out of the car and just stood to get her bearings while Mister grabbed their bag with sandwiches and water.
"I'm sorry, Dear." Mister said as they started walking toward the lodge, "This is definitely not starting out the way I had hoped."
Kate smiled at him. "It's okay, I'm already starting to feel better, and after I find a bathroom, I'll be good to go. Don't worry, this will be fun."
on the lift
After hitting the restrooms, Kate and Mister lunched out on the patio of the lodge, looking up at the ski slopes and surrounding mountains. Truly, the day was absolutely perfect for such an outing. Kate loved ski lifts--the height, the motion, the feeling of the open air blowing against her face. She impatiently waited for the attendant to explain how to get on and off the lift. As if they didn't already know! But she was surprised at how different it felt to get on (and especially off) the lift without any skis or slippery snow to help! On their way up, Kate and Mister marveled at how different it felt to ride up a lift without heavy skis and boots and wearing summer clothes! The views were postcard worthy--green stretches of ski runs, huge evergreens, picturesque patches of snow--Kate relaxed as she looked around. She felt as if time slowed down in such places to give ample opportunity for one to appreciate every detail.
our special discovery
At the top, the ground was still surprisingly snowy. There was a rough road that one could walk along, but that was hardly Kate's style (nor Mister's!) They were explorers, and as explorers they were duty bound to scale the snowy summit! Of course, this didn't happen, though it was briefly considered. The snowy summit was at least a couple hours away from being scaled, and both Kate and Mister were tired and in search of a more relaxed form of exploration. They tromped across a large patch of snow and were mostly successful in staying atop the firm crusty layer. On the other side, and over a small rise, their efforts were rewarded by the stunning view of a snow-lined mountain bowl, surrounded on all sides (except where they entered) by beautiful peaks. Kate and Mister stood on the large mound and simply looked. Curious rocks dotted the mound. Marmots scattered in all directions. The green moss, black rock, white snow, and blue sky were a gorgeous combination, supplemented by a fragrant breeze bearing the scent of melting snow.
They spent a leisurely time exploring the area, exclaiming over this or that, and generally doing something. Finally, they both admitted that they should probably be getting back. They held hands on the way back over the patch of snow...until Mister broke through the sturdy top layer and sank two feet into the cold. Back on solid ground, Mister asked, "So, was that a good date?"
"Fantastic!" Kate exclaimed. Then she was unsure because of the query. "Was it nice for you too?"
"Absolutely." Mister affirmed.
"What makes a good date anyway?"
"I don't know. Good conversation. Maybe being outside. Being relaxed and leisurely with you."
Kate grinned. Then it was definitely a great date.