An occasional journal of the Life of Reilly

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Heavenly Flu




For the first time in my decade with John, I skied without him. For some reason he contracted an intestinal bug and I didn’t. We stayed with our friend Dave and his partner Nancy in South Lake Tahoe for four nights. The plan was to ski at Heavenly for three days and Sierra at Tahoe for one day. Dave is a volunteer patroller and provided us lift tickets and a warm place to roost. Day One -- John makes it to the top of the tram, but it was quickly evident that toilets were not located densely enough on mountain for his condition. Two days of rest and bland food had him fit for a day, but a relapse had him down for the count again on Day Four.

So I skied by myself. I accompanied Dave on his rounds for portions of the days. I also had the opportunity to make small talk with my fellow passengers on the lift. These conversations tend to be short – 3 to 5 minutes at the most. In that time you can learn the essential facts about someone – where they live, what they do for a living, how many days a year they ski. Most people are very upbeat and friendly – they are on vacation, after all. Many of the visitors in Lake Tahoe are from the San Francisco and Sacramento areas. One was a private investigator, following a guy on a snowboard trying to get video of him doing things a guy making a workman’s compensation claim couldn’t do. The investigator said he goes all over the State on these types of missions, pursuing people on motorbikes and other athletic forms of propulsion trying to catch people in the act of fraud – kind of a James Bond type of existence.

This was the last weekend of the season at Heavenly. Day Three turned out to be a powder day, and the best day of the stretch. Somehow it revived John enough to get out and make the most of it – I spent most of the day trying to keep up with him, glimpsing him threading through the trees. It snowed all day. Simply amazing. The snow is not dry, however, and it was slush and rain near the base of the mountain. It is spring, after all.

Yesterday was closing day at Sierra at Tahoe – it was Customer Appreciation Day, and lift tickets were only $15. We could not resist the bargain or the opportunity to ski an area we have never been before. John made an obligatory one run before heading back to the car for the rest of the day. Poor dear – I will take care of you and feed you rice cakes and applesauce until you are well again.

The pictures of the day are from Sierra at Tahoe. The first is the view from the top of Huckleberry Mountain looking north to Lake Tahoe. The bonus picture is an unseasonal winter scene in April.
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