Who doesn’t like being sent off down a slope in a sled, a tube, or in anything for that matter? Nobody, that’s who. The exhilaration of the downward ride may not be like, say snowboarding, or downhill skiing, or any of the extreme winter sports we saw all through February at Sochi, but when you factor in a bunch of thrilled kids and joyful screams, it does have its merits.
After a cold spell that refused to quit, the last weekend of February dared to be different. It was warm and sunny, more so on Saturday. So off we went to Lyman Orchards for some fun in the snow. Fuzzy hats and snow-pants notwithstanding, kids of all shapes and sizes climbed trees, dived into piles of snow, splashed in the mud, fell face down in it, picked themselves up, and carried on. Those of us too old for hats with monkey-ears on them, stood patiently in queues to get to the sleigh rides, the snow-tubing, and ice-carving competition. Yeah, that’s right, being grown-up isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be. You can’t roll about in the snow in the middle of everything in an orchard on a sunny Saturday. Just isn’t done.
My favorite activity at the fest, if you don’t count the snow-tubing that is, was hugging the huskies who were part of a dog-sled team. Hardworking, friendly, and downright good-looking, one of the little fellas, who went by the name Muddy-Paws gave me a warm handshake and hug. My son and I also met Siam, and a couple of other huskies whose names I forget. The wooden sleds had an age-limit of 4-18 years so we had to sit out the sledding action but we made up for it by watching the dogs and kids whoosh through the fluffy snow, around bright red barns, and bare trees.
You could get hot chocolate and apple crisps, cider donuts and ham sandwiches, and many other treats in and around the Apple Barrel, which doubles up as a pretty good grocery store. Food was aplenty and you could see gloved hands holding on to their dear drinks, sippy cups being flung about, and ice-cream sandwiches being devoured with gusto.
It was a good get-together and the perfect antidote to our cabin fever. It was also my birthday! Sometimes, you don’t need a cake. All you need is a day with your family, tumbling down a snowy hill.