30 Dec

Traditions are really important to me.  I guess maybe it’s just because I like to know what to expect and to be able to plan ahead…and traditions give me that.  But sometimes in life, traditions have to change.  As I’ve gotten older, I see that more and more.  And it’s hard at first, and it might hurt, but then you get used to it and you make new traditions.


At the beginning of December, we started talking about Christmas plans and pretty quickly decided on a mini-vacation to Lake Placid.  I wasn’t really sure how it would work out, being away from family and the comfort of our own home.  I still remember my first (and only other) holiday spent away from family–when I was 19, living in Spain, sitting in the central park of Valencia with another American girlfriend, eating junk food to drown out my homesickness and depression of having a holiday chock full of traditions back home pass me by.


We had planned to hike a little bit on the way into the ADK, but I always forget how early it gets dark in the winter.  It didn’t help that it was overcast and drizzly the entire trip up, so by the time we got into town at 4:30, it was dark–no hiking for us.  We decided to just get to the hotel, check in and get situated with the dog.  We got in, unpacked the car, and laid around watching tv (Home Alone was on!) and drinking beer, letting the dog acclimate to the new home.


Around 8, we went down to the pool area to check out the hot tub, which had been the deciding factor in which hotel to book.  We were pleasantly surprised to find ourselves alone in the area, and spent a long time down there, alternating between the pool and the hot tub.  It was so nice to just relax and hang out.  I would totally recommend this hotel–Comfort Inn Lake Placid.  It was clean, they had a huge continental breakfast, the pool/hot tub area are awesome, and it was super affordable.  We’re not big hotel-ers (because we’re normally camping), but this one was a good choice.

hot tub!

hot tub!

We got up the next morning to more rain–it was about 40 degrees, with some wind coming in.  Hooray–perfect hiking/climbing weather, as we’d had for most of our trips in 2014.  We packed up our gear anyway and set out to find the trailhead for Cascade Mountain.  The plan was to hike Cascade and Porter together, since they are so close.  We put on our new Tubbs Snowshoes, Mush Magic-ed Picasso’s paws, fashioned a make-shift rain coat for him out of an old poncho I found in the back of my car, and hit the trail.

nice coat

nice coat

About a half mile in, I started to notice a big hot spot on my right heel.  Another quarter mile, and both heels were stinging.  I was trying to be tough and not bitch, but I mentioned it finally at about 1.5 miles in.  Eric said we should stop to try to fix them, but I didn’t want to stop to take off my snowshoes, boots and socks, especially because we were sweaty from the climb/hike, wet from the constant rain, and the wind was already whipping like crazy. I didn’t want to get cold.  So we continued, but by this point, every step was painful, and I was slowing down considerably.

At least the trail was beautiful

At least the trail was beautiful


About 2 miles in, I finally gave in.  We found a huge rock to sit on, and Eric helped me to remove by footwear and put Mush Magic on my already blistered heels.  We got back to the hike.  At the summit area, someone had hiked up a little Christmas tree, which had fallen over in the crazy wind up there.  Eric tried to stand it back up, but it kept falling over.


We had a rough go of getting to the top–literally there were a few moments where the wind almost knocked me over.  We got up, then immediately turned back around to get back to some tree cover and out of the wind.  It sucked not to spend any time up top (which is normal) or to get a view, but it was cool to cross another 46er off the list, and say we’d done it in such terrible conditions.


We thought about doing Porter, but it had been raining the entire time we were hiking, so Picasso was completely soaking wet.  We were worried he’d be cold.  We were also concerned with my heels, which by this point were hurting pretty intensely.  I just wanted to get back to the car, take off all the footwear, and “air it out.” I also really wanted to be able to run the following day, which is our annual “holiday” tradition–a family jaunt through whatever neighborhood we happen to wake up in. Porter would, sadly, have to wait for another day.


By the time we got down to the bottom of the mountain, I could barely walk.  I was almost in tears.  I thought maybe I was just being a baby, but when we got everything off my feet, there were the blisters, to prove that yes, the pain was real and not imagined.  I was pissed that my feet were a mess and the weather sucked so much, because this was an incredibly easy hike/climb, and I wish I could’ve enjoyed it more.  On the flip side, we know it’s an easy hike, and I can’t wait to get back there to do Porter (and hopefully get a view from Cascade after)!



We went back to our hotel room, prepped beef stew for dinner, then watched a bunch of episodes of some HGTV show about waterfront property for cheap, discussing and dreaming of our “forever home.”  I got excited to give Eric his presents, so we caved and opened presents on Christmas Eve, which we NEVER do!  It was super fun to “break the rules” (maybe there is a rule-breaker/badass inside me just itching to get out).  We had dinner, then we decided to head into town to walk around and window shop.  Lake Placid is cool because there’s so much to do and see, and I am always a little in awe to think that we are walking where Olympians once walked.

dogs and bobsleds...a winning combination

dogs and bobsleds…a winning combination

We went back to our hotel and suited up for another round in the hot tub.  It hurt my poor torn up heels pretty bad, but once I got used to it, it wasn’t so bad, and I know from my days of lifeguarding that the chlorine would help heal them.  As we sat there, we both agreed that this was one of the best decisions we’d ever made, and that this would become a new Christmas tradition for our family–an out-of-town, probably ADK adventure to celebrate the holidays.


The next morning, we got up and I had already researched and planned out where we’d do our traditional family run.  But I couldn’t put shoes on my feet…it hurt too bad to have anything on that area.  😦  We grabbed some continental breakfast, packed up our crap, and just hit the road to head home.  We ended up going to Windjammers to celebrate Christmas with chicken wings and cheap beers, and it was the perfect end to Christmas for us.  The following day, we got up and headed into Buffalo for family time.


I’m not sure what the future holds for us or our immediate families.  I have no idea how traditions will change as both of our families change (because they are both changing, pretty significantly).  But I know that we have a new Shmeagan family tradition, and that no matter how it changes, spending time with Eric and Picasso–climbing mountains, watching cable tv, wandering around a little town, swimming and hot tubbing it–is a tradition that’s here to stay.  And really, what more could a girl want on Christmas then her best friends and some wide open spaces to play??

<3 this man

❤ this man


One Response to “Traditions”


  1. Porter Mountain | shmeruns - December 28, 2015

    […] keeping with our new Christmas tradition, Eric, Picasso and I headed up to Lake Placid for Christmas […]

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