Running Springs STORM

Saturday-Sunday 6-7 February 2010

L's Grandmother's beautiful New Yorker mural

L's Grandmother's beautiful mural of the New Yorker

The beautiful view that greeted me in the morning out the front door.

My lovely friend E invited me to his equally lovely girlfriend L’s grandparents’ cabin up in Running Springs, in the San Bernardino Mountains, about 30 mins from Big Bear. Before we left, we checked out the weather report and it looked like there would be a serious dump of snow and rain on the mountain. Great! I live in Los Angeles and Auckland so I never get to see snow. So we get ready and I grab all my winter gear. We take my friend E’s Celica (called Summer…more on later) because my rear tires are almost completely bald. Good decision. Because as soon as we climbed the mountains there was a HUGE storm blowing blizzard-like conditions of snow, rain and hail.

The forest fires that recently burnt through the San Bernardino mountains left a lot of ash and debris from burnt down trees and brush. In combination with torrential rain, mudslides and landslides were flowing down the slopes, dropping rocks and debris on the road. So here we are, E and I, driving up this mountain and suddenly the fog kicks in as if some lame person just turned on 1 million smoke machines from hell. E can only see 4 cat eyes in front of him. We can’t see behind us. We can’t turn on our high beams because of oncoming traffic, not that they can see through the dense fog anyway. We have no idea how far the cabin is and all we have is my GPS on my Blackberry telling us we’re close by and we have a bunch of curvy turns to make. 10 mins in, L calls us and tells us it’s a bad idea and we should turn back. My reaction is NO WAY we’re going to do this and succeed! On the side note, there’s also no way we can turn back without dying because at this point we don’t have traction on the road anymore because the ice of the thick ice. Oh by the way, we don’t have chains either.

—30 mins later. We’re close. Almost there. Passed the sign that say chains required. All we need to do is make a left turn. 10 minutes later, we realise we passed the turn because there was no bloody turn we could see through the fog. E pulls over at a turnout point to make a u-turn. We realise, this is it. If we don’t make it…then we’re dead for sure. So slowly E turns and…we make it. Keep driving for 1 mile and find the turn. Right turn. Easy. We get up the road and see it’s a windy slope but back with ICE. Summer stops. She is struggling. E accelerates and the tires spin in the ice but Summer doesn’t move. We’re so close. Sooooooooo close. What to do?



Then E, being the man he is, gets out of the car, I move to the driver’s seat. And as I gently tap the gas, he literally pushes

the car up the mountain. OMG we are pushing the car up the mountain through the snow and ice in order to get to the cabin. The best part is of course the view from the back. Summer is covered in snow, has her huge sporty spoiler and looks completely out of place. On top, she has a Hawaii plate with a big rainbow around the border!

We finally get there though. Our friends are digging out snow from their driveway so we can actually park the cars. The climb up the steep driveway packed with snow is a nightmare. I’m in my converse shoes with ZERO grip. And finally we make it and it’s one of the most awesome, cozy and beautiful cabins I’ve ever been in. Awww I love being snowed in a warm place with good friends and heat (absolutely crucial!) at night.


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