Well here it is! The post about Winter Storm Jonas. In case you are from Texas and have no clue what I am talking about, Winter Storm Jonas dumped anywhere from 12 – 36 inches of snow on West Virginia and several other eastern states last weekend (my parents in Virginia received about 24). To give you some perspective, Cabell County (my home) averaged only 11.5 inches per year from 1981-2010. My older brother kept saying (quite to the annoyance of his wife) “This is the most snow I’ve ever seen!” My dad, youngest sister, and I took off Thursday night destined for the eastern West Virginia mountains and our favorite ski slopes, Canaan Valley. When I say “Thursday night” I mean “at an unwise time of night”. We left my parent’s house around 10 pm and, due to some miscommunication with our rental company, didn’t make it into our apartment until 3:30 am. Needless to say, we were very late hitting the slopes the next day. I distinctly remember stepping out of my dad’s truck at 11 am exactly when it started snowing. It would continue to dump fluffy snowflakes for the next 30ish hours. We totaled about 36 inches in the Valley (exact measurements are difficult due to the snow drifting).
I am a (very) amateur photographer and tried to capture the beauty of it all. In my attempts, I realized that snow is a very difficult natural phenomenon to capture. You see, snow sparkles. Picture dumping a handful of glitter onto white carpet, but way prettier. It also has a depth that is hard to capture in a photo due to the lack of contrast when everything is white. I challenged myself to shoot only in manual which made my task even more difficult! Of course, I had some mishaps along the way. Look at the 5th photo down on the left-hand column, the one of the snow on a pine branch. I was trying to get closer to that and lost track of where exactly I was. I stepped off one of the ski slopes (where they pack the snow here in the east to help keep snow around for longer) into powder up to my waist! I was so surprised.
Cory and I thought it would be fun to contrast that with this weekend’s events in Sunny Texas. I didn’t take my nice camera, so these are all iPhone photos.
Since I’m the main one down here in Tejas (pronounced Tay-haas), we figured I would write this section.
Let me first start by explaining a few things about the week leading up to Beth and her mom’s arrival: Shortly after Beth returned home (and finally got her car unburied and thawed out dad and I car-pooled for a couple of days), she began packing for her trip down here to Warm and Wonderful Texas. For the 4 days she would be in the state, the daily temperatures would range from 72-83!! Quite the change from sub-freezing temps and 36 inches of snow!
So Beth and her mom took off after work on Thursday to fly to Texas for the “super secret event” 😉 They arrived at midnight local time, so by the time we all got back to San Marcos, they were completely exhausted, and I was pretty tired too, not to mention sick. I felt so bad because he was very sick and we had planned a full weekend. However, we were up and about pretty early the next morning and headed to Austin. Beth’s mom had researched the whereabouts of a quality athletic store called, who guessed it, Athleta! We went to The Domain mall, which is more like a mini downtown of shops, and then to Whole Foods. We ate lunch at this amazing burger joint called Hopdoddy’s and then proceeded to the other jungle in Austin: the Zilker Botanical Gardens. With a couple hours of sunlight left, we started hiking through Zilker Park towards the river (aka Lake Austin/Lady Bird Lake) and came across a boat rental. We took a canoe and all headed out for an hour on the water viewing Downtown from a slightly different angle, pointing out the Red-eared Sliders and River Cooters here and there, the huge Bass and Cichlids visible through the clear blue water, and the Grebes, Herons, and Cormorants bobbing on the water or hunting from the river’s edge. Yeah, he educates me about birds everywhere we go. After our canoe ride, we walked up to the public pool which now encompasses Barton Springs, one of the many high-pressure and high-volume springs that can be found along this region that is part of the Edwards Aquifer. Though a little chilly for my liking, the constant 72 degree water had a few crazy swimmers. They were unbeknowingly treading water a few feet above one of Texas’ several species of rare, endangered salamanders, the Barton Springs Salamander. Before leaving Austin and braving the rush hour traffic, we made one last stop at Trader Joe’s to get a few odds and ends.
Saturday was left entirely for Beth and I and our special, super fancy event. We reluctantly released her mom to conquer the San Marcos outlet malls (sorry Mr. Thacker) as we headed for San Antonio. During some free time, I took Beth to a gigantic flea market I had heard about that was situated on 35 acres! I have never seen so many vendors, and there were even carnival rides! We weren’t able to stay long, but it was a fun experience and a teaser to get us to return when we had all day (or several). We then got all dressed up and ate a very fancy dinner with steak and shrimp overlooking the river walk in downtown San Antonio. Unfortunately, parking was worse than usual because of a videogame convention, which made for an interesting crowd. Someone mistook Beth and I for attendees in costume for 50 Shades of Grey and called out “Hey Mr. Grey!” as we walked by. This, of course, was not the reason we were there, and neither of us have even read the books or seen the movie. Even after dark, the weather was nice enough to enjoy some time on the balcony, watching the river tours and people below. We didn’t get a great picture downtown, so back in San Marcos we asked Beth’s mom to take one for us, which turned into a mini photo-shoot throughout the hotel lobby at 10:30pm. Thankfully, we weren’t the only dressed up guests, so we didn’t look too out of place. 🙂
Sunday we all went to worship at my local church, Gospel Life Church in New Braunfels, and then got some Texas BBQ before heading back to Austin for the airport and their long flight back to WV.
It is an odd phenomenon to be in the same country, but in 2 completely different environments. It gives me a better sense than anything else just how far apart Cory and I are. It makes me extremely thankful for Jesus and Skype to help us continue to grow together and keep us connected.
That’s it for now,
Beth and Cory Goff