Post by Renee Aldrich
Even though the temp's have been in the high 90's, there's been a change in the weather here in northern Nevada, you can feel the shift in the air. It's still very warm, but you can tell fall is starting to creep in and winter is coming around the mountain.
With winter approaching and our recent trip to Highlands Lake, I was reminded of our magical New Year's escapade to Markleeville, CA in 2015/2016. It started on a whim. About a week before New Year's, Dan and I were discussing what we should do to commemorate the end of 2015 and start of 2016. Dan came up with the brilliant idea of Markleeville, CA for hot springs and cross country skiing. It sounded perfect, but how were we going to pull it off? Where were we going to stay?!
Dan called around and of course everything was booked, but at the Creekside Lodge the manager said one of the booked guests was being very wishy washy about whether or not they were going to come, so he told us he'd let us know if the guest decided to cancel. A bit later the manager called back and said, "hey I'm giving the guest till tomorrow at noon to decide and if he doesn't let me know, the room is yours." Low and behold we got the call and we got the room! Markleeville winter vacation was a go!
Dan, Coco and I pulled in to the quaint little lodge on the evening of New Year's Eve. There was going to be a live show at the bar next door to celebrate, but we got into town early enough to hit the hot springs first, so we did and it was magic! While we were soaking up the warm water under the dark night sky, it started to softly snow. Cool little flakes gently kissed us, then melted away into the warm water. It felt amazing on the skin. The juxtaposition of temperatures created a strange equilibrium that, when mixed with the quite that tends to come with snow, brought a wonderful sense of peace and tranquility over the pool.
The hot springs closed for the evening and we packed up and headed back to the lodge. When got there we could hear that the band had started rocking! We showered, changed clothes then headed over to get a drink and rock with the band. We stayed and listened for a while, but since it was still fairly early we didn't want to tire of the music before midnight, so we headed out for a stroll around town. There's a nice little loop that encircles the town so we walked that and headed back to the room. We settled in with the intention of going back to the bar around 11:00 pm to ring in the New Year, but of course we fell fast asleep and missed it.
We were sad that we missed ringing in the New Year, but we were very well rested and feeling refreshed for our day's adventure of cross country skiing. It had been years since the last time I had cross country skied and Dan had only been on skis a handful of times in his life, so we decided to start out easy. There's a lovely meadow across from the hot springs in Grover Hot Springs State Park, so we headed there to test out our skills. A nice, flat, mellow skiing area was perfect to see if we could remember how to do it.
It was great, we both got our skis under us pretty quickly and were off without a hitch. There was some tougher terrain up the trail so we decided to try that and even though we fell a few times, we were handling our skis better than I thought we would. We tooled around on our skis for a few hours, had a nice snack and break on the meadow and then decided to head back to the hot springs for another round of soaking,
No snow fell during this soak, but it was a nice way to warm up after being on our skis all afternoon. We headed back into town and noticed that the restaurant, The Stonefly, across the street from the lodge was going to be open that evening. It looked interesting and we were excited to try it out. It was apparently the restaurant's opening night for the season so we were very lucky to get seats at the bar for dinner. The food was AMAZING! So good. If you find yourself in Markleeville and the Stonefly is open, I highly recommend it. It's a little pricy but well worth it.
The next day we packed up our skis and headed to Hope Valley. At Hope Valley there are groomed trails and backcountry options. We did a really nice loop that was partly on groomed trails and partly backcountry. The part that was groomed was fairly steep, well at least steep for newbie xc skiers such as Dan and myself. We chugged our way slowly uphill. On the backcountry section we glided through meadows and forests of aspen and conifers. It was a lovely afternoon. We hit the groomed section again for the downhill back to the car and we (sorta) gracefully stumbled and tumbled our way down. Afterward we headed back to Markleeville and the last night of our sweet little vacation. After our great experience the night before we happily ate at the Stonefly again. We had a lovely evening, strolling around town, chatting and testing our our newly acquired Fitbits that Daniel got us for Christmas.
The next morning we woke early packed up our stuff and headed to Grover's for one last soak. We got there about five minutes before the pools opened. We were lucky, when the pools opened we were still the only ones there and we had the pools to ourselves for roughly 10 minutes before visitors slowly started seeping in.
We took our time heading back to reality, we stopped in at the Genoa Bar, The Oldest Bar in Nevada where there are diamonds in the mirror and Raquel Welch's bra hangs from the ceiling. Overall it was a wonderful New Year's weekend!
This blog is dedicated to stories and ideas from our explorations. We hope you enjoy!
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