One of Scott's Christmas presents from me this year was a "Surprise Adventure Date." It's reminiscent of the time he gave me the board game version of "Battlestar Galactica" - more appreciated by the giver than the receiver. But he dutifully kept free the weekend of January 30 and gamely helped keep the destination secret. (I'm terrible at secret-keeping, but he kindly refrained from asking me anything about it.) He correctly guessed it, but at least he didn't tell me!
I rented snowshoes & bought tire chains between classes. And I made picnic food: hard-boiled eggs seasoned with soy sauce and ginger, and ground-up walnuts and apricots mixed with a little cocoa powder and rum - an excellent alternative to those all-natural energy bars.
We packed up the car in the morning, arrived at Castle Peak, just off I-80, by 10:30. The trail was crowded with several large groups, and the skies were crowded with clouds. We kept thinking of things we'd forgotten, like a compass and a camera. But we forged ahead, left the other groups in the dust, and got to the peak precisely at noon. Winded, given the steep slope and unfamiliar altitude (9100'), and windblown. We hunkered down on the lee side of a rock and ate our eggs and walnut paste. Practically no visibility, so we couldn't enjoy the view, but the fog did lend a nice air of remoteness. We could have been anywhere on Earth.
Easy tromp back down the mountain, some meandering through a meadow, then back to the Saab to find our night's lodging... in Nevada! A friend of mine generously offered to let us stay at his family's cabin, which happens to have a superb view of Lake Tahoe. We rolled in around 3pm, stripped off wet layers and promptly made dinner, which we ate while watching the sun set over the lake. (1st course: sausages and brussels sprouts. 2nd course: raclette cheese melted over sliced apples - a dish we coined Swiss Nachos.)
Between courses, we played our favorite card game and idly planned our summer honeymoon by reading the Asia chapter of "1,000 Places to See Before You Die." China? India? Vietnam? Thailand? It's going to be hard to whittle down the options. We went to bed embarrassingly early. Scott is still jet-lagged from Uganda, so at least he has an excuse.
Sunday: woke up just in time to see the sun rise. Cleaned up, packed up, dug the Saab out of its parking spot, hit the road. We were planning to hike to some lakes near Big Bend, but we couldn't quite figure out the trailhead, and I was starting to get nervous about a large midterm I had on Monday morning (All About Minerals!), so we just returned to Davis.
Study, study, study... then a lovely study break that involved walking to buy the Lonely Planet China guidebook, stopping for pizza and beer, and then including a frozen yogurt stop as long as we were out and it was still technically a Surprise Adventure Date Weekend.
Well, not a surprise. And not a spine-tingling adventure. But refreshing and romantic all the same, which was the primary purpose.