Wednesday, December 31, 2008

The Iceman Cometh

Technically, this is the last picture I took of the day in question, but I'm leading with it anyway. I'm the Editor in Chief here: Tremble Before My Whimsy!

There are many things I'd never tried before moving to France: a number of smelly cheeses, monopod-based foodstuffs, duck, mushroom picking, attending a professional "football" match, and rock climbing among them. Had I made a New Year's Resolution that I remembered for 2007 or 2008, trying new things might have been a good one.

This past weekend, was another first, albeit a slightly embarrassing one for one from the Great White North: snowshoeing.

Danielle shows her off-roading chops

I had, technically, done this once before when I was in the Boy Scouts. Except that was still back in the days when snowshoes were as the Huron had made them: you strapped your boots the leather webbing which in turn was bound to wooden frames, the size of which forced undersized adolescents such as myself to walk like John Wayne after a full day on a clinically obese horse. In my experience, waiting for the snow to melt was a quicker means of getting about.

This time, I was in the company of Danielle and David. They and the posse they had assembled managed to not appear too crestfallen when they realized that I was not accompanied by Amynah, as she was too ill to make it. We drove to a ski hill somewhere past Freiberg, in the German Black Forest.

There I discovered that snowshoe technology has progressed rapidly in the (cough) two decades since last I attempted to walk on water, so to speak. The devices I attached to my boots were light, and narrow enough that they barely interfered with my stride at all.

The greatest difficulty we encountered was finding lunch: none of the four restaurants we investigated were serving, or were full up. We gathered what scraps of food we had lying about, and hit the trail. We stopped after twenty minutes outside a chapel (oddly placed: it would have made more sense to have it at the top of the ski slope, I would have thought).

Tragedy struck almost immediately: Danielle set a package of Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, brought all the way from the U.S. by Amynah on the snow. As soon as she turned her back, they made their break for freedom, sliding all the way down the hill, sixteen hungry eyes watching them disappearing in an orange doppler blur in the distance.

The Chapel of Our Lady of the Absconding Chocolate

That said, the rest of the hike was delightful, as outings with this crew reliably are. The weather was perfect, and the snow glittered like diamonds. We only hiked for a few hours, making it back into the village just as the sun set. The evening ended at a German restaurant where my policy of ordering the item with the longest word paid off: the duck with orangenpfferenrahmsosse was delicious, all the more so because the restaurant actually served second helpings at no extra cost.


Victor Chisholm said...

"Monopod-based foodstuffs" - does that mean a twice-amputated camera tripod? Or escargots? Either way, add enough butter and I'm sure either is tasty.

Mark Reynolds said...

Escargots - I've had a few varieties, but the best was some sort of paste with butter and garlic. Although "snail paste" is about the least appetizing sounding combination of words I can think of.