February 19, 2013

Wild and Wonderful: President's Day Weekend in West Virginia

*Warning: This post is long, but the pictures are pretty, so here you go! :D 

One of the BEST things about living on the East Coast is how easy it is to travel to so many places. I came home last night from the loveliest, snowiest, most beautiful, perfect President's Day weekend in the history of presidents! I went with a group of 21 friends from church to the Cranberry Lodge in the-middle-of-nowhere West Virginia.

The lodge was so remote, we spent the weekend off the grid (no internet, no cell service = glorious!) and relying on solar power and a wood-burning fireplace for electricity/heat.

The scenery was absolutely, jaw-droppingly GORGEOUS, and I concluded that THIS (ie- nature, beauty, white winter wonderlands, snow, mountains, etc.) is what will get me back to Utah someday.

I may or may not have brought five different beanies, solely for the purpose of NOT doing my hair the entire time. I figure, as long as the bottom part still looks "curled," I'm good, right?

My favorite part of the weekend was the lack of schedule/routine. We woke up when we wanted, ate whatever we wanted (oh, MY, did we eat! April planned the most delicious menus and snacks!), watched movies/read/played/etc. whenever we wanted.

Daytime movie-watching: because we could!
We read a lot of very important things on this trip. (Actually, I did start reading Team of Rivals, and I'm excited to read the rest hopefully in the near future!)

A few highlights (and OK, to be honest, everything was a highlight, so... by "highlights," I mean here is almost everything we did..):

We enjoyed an amazing weekend of MUSIC thanks to Nils/James/Eve/Janan/Hunter/April/Brad etc/etc and their AMAZING guitar/singing abilities. And to Sergio for his amazing DJ-ing/playlist abilities!

There was a hot tub, buuuut it had no filter/temperature gauge/jets, so... it was basically a large pot of human soup. Not for me, but these guys sure seemed to enjoy it!

Ruth brought her adorable new puppy, Oswin! She is only two months old.

I really truly DID love the snow so much, I bundled up from head to toe and headed out with a friend to read and journal outside! Yeah, that's right: I read the Book of Mormon. in German. in the snow! So cold, but so worth it! The view from the balcony was incredible, and guys, did I mention the beautiful SNOW??
This is for all of you out there who post those "here are my feet on the beach" photos. I love you in spite of them! 
It was so, so fun to eat dinner as one big, happy family. Whoever decided to put those four tables together into one big table is a genius!

(Note: 4 family members + Oswin are missing from this photo.) 
Speaking of eating, there was also the time on Saturday morning that Joe had a hankering for some cantaloupe, and then Kayvon decided to knife-feed it to a few of the ladies?

Liz and Sunni look terribly pleased. 
Mags and I enjoyed a snowy walk (Read: hike. Because we were on a MOUNTAIN, so any "walking" was mostly vertical.) together.

I really dislike walking uphill, so I started RUNNING up the hill instead. I was sooo tired near the end, I essentially just fell over into the snow. This is me lying flat on my back.
What I saw when I was flat on my back looking up at the sky. The moon was just visible through the trees!
Oh, and I also loved it when we went stargazing! I tried for the zillionth time to learn how to find the North Star (thanks for trying, Brad), but guys, no matter how hard I try, I can never remember! All those years of Girls Camp were in vain! I did, however, enjoy lying flat on my back in the snow (again) and chatting under a beautiful, starry night. :)

And please let us not forget the dance party on Saturday night!

Nice touch with the  twinkle lights, friends!
We had talked about going to church, but there was soooo much snow, most of us had gotten stuck on the mountain on the first night (thankfully, BJ, aka- our new "best friend in West Virginia," was able to rescue us!), and we didn't want to risk all of us getting stuck on the mountain again, so we had our own devotional on Sunday morning.

After the devotional, Mags, Kelli, and I decided it was time to cuddle and nap. :)

Kayvon, why didn't you smile for our picture??

Snowshoeing was one of my favorite things we did up here. I now really want to buy my own pair, so I can go exploring whenever I want!
That there on the right is Nils trying to invent the sport of  "ultimate snowshoeing."
I'm pretty sure this is my favorite photo from this trip!
On our way back to the lodge post-snowshoeing, we decided to sled, because we hadn't yet. And also, why not? Nils, Serg, and I went down together

Fresh-faced and innocent, keenly unaware that we were about to face death... and live to tell the tale!
We didn't fully consider our route before we sent ourselves down on one sled and our snowshoes on the other... Halfway down the hill, we realized that we were heading straight for...

THIS! So many benches and chairs and trees! And a fire pit (not visible)!
Through some careful leaning and maneuvering (and screaming. What is a near-death experience without some good screaming?), we were able to avoid all the chairs/tables/etc.

Unfortunately, we were not so successful in avoiding this tree...

It was GREAT! That sledding run was the cherry on top of a practically perfect snowy morning adventure!

I could share a zillion other photos, but I won't. In conclusion, it was the most perfect snowy weekend. Thanks for organizing and inviting me, Kelli and April! Until next time, West Virginia!


  1. The scenery is so idyllic! I'm glad you had fun :D Also, loving that the fellas all turned into mountain men with those beards!

    1. Girl, don't even get me started! Beards. are. HOT. (So long as they're not long enough that they've gotta be conditioned and brushed, you know what I mean?) It is my life's goal to kiss a beautifully bearded man (why do I only date the clean-cuts, the militaries, and the kind who can't grow no beard??). :) And now the whole internet knows!


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