My First Snowfall : Erica Spin
My First Snowfall : Erica Spin
It was the day before my birthday and just having moved to the Northwest I knew exactly where I wanted to explore in celebration of my 25th birthday. I had made friends with some local grammers at an instameet some weeks before, and I had mentioned to them I wanted to do something excited for my birthday. The only other girl in this group we had formulated was also to celebrate her birthday Nov. 1.
On Saturday, Nov. 2, 2013, we finally decided we would go on an adventure to the famous Big Four Ice Caves in Washington. It was one of the main places I was dying to go explore since moving from Miami to Seattle,
and that day was the day. We set out on the one-and-a-half-hour drive from where I live, eager to arrive and stare at this natural beauty as well as photograph it, of course. The hike to the ice caves wasn't bad at all, with the hike only being 2 miles, it was a rather easy one with minimal elevation.
I could honestly say I was NOT prepared for the extreme cold weather I was enduring. You could tell I was not prepared from the knit sweater I was wearing and the cloth beanie. I was freezing and it was pretty evident we all were. The weather was a constant drizzle of rain. I couldn't feel my toes and my fingers were already numb despite wearing gloves, but I was determined to make it
to the caves, excruciating cold weather or not. We finally made it to where I could see the caves and I squealed with excitement. I couldn't even see the top of the mountain. The fog was so thick and the rain coming down made it hard to look up.
As we got closer I saw caution signs all over for avalanches. At this point, this southern Florida girl was kind of freaked out. I went from never seeing natural ice or snow to now working my way down a river to a huge cave made completely of ice. Getting to the ice caves was a little sketchy. I had to hop over a creek, and try not to fall on slippery rocks. When we finally got
to the mouth of the cave I couldn't believe my eyes. I was extremely excited and scared all at the same time. The fact that I could not see inside of the cave was one of the most haunting and curious things I have ever experienced. I mean, what exactly was further in that cave? Would chunks of ice fall behind me if I went to go explore it and leave me trapped within a cave in which my cellphone had no service if I dared explore the depth of it?
I could see huge chunks of ice on the ground and gaping holes up above from which ice once was formed and covered. The cave was obviously falling apart. When you're in that situation you don't even want to try and press your luck. I had no experience in the outdoors! I am a city girl from Miami where we don't even have hills! Yet here I am exploring the marvels of an ice cave all the way in the forests of Washington. After running around the cave and getting pictures of each other and of the caves themselves, we finally gathered up for a groupshot. At this point I was soaking wet, and for some reason it started to get colder. I looked straight ahead and started to see the snow "falling downslower". After the group shot everyone else ran up ahead
and started rushing to the car because of how cold it was. One of our group friends, Justin, stayed behind with his son Joel to help keep me company. At that moment, small clusters of ice started to accumulate of my sweater and beanie, I couldn't believe what was happening, it was snowing! My grin extended from ear to ear as I started to yell "It's snowing, It's snowing!! Justin, Look its snowing!"
I was running around screaming about how it was snowing and literally stopping about every 5 minutes just to snag a photo! I had Justin pose for me in a photo, while then after he got to get one of me, (which
is pictured). I began to take macro shots of the snow, shots of it accumulating on the ground, I might have even snagged a quick selfie. I was in such awe and amazement that I couldn't believe it was happening, right then and there, on my birthday celebration! Finally, I started to make my way down to catch up with the rest of the group, as I tried extremely hard not to get distracted by all the snow forming around me into what looked like a large white blanket. At this point, my feet, I swear, were frozen solid, and I realized I probably shouldn't stay out wet, while it's snowing, wearing the outfit I was.
It's pretty funny to think about it now, but I am a Florida
girl with hardly any knowledge of the outdoors, and it will definitely be one of the most memorable experiences of my life. I felt like a kid, seeing something like this for the first time, it is so life fulfilling. It really brought tears to my eyes. Something so simple like snow, that a lot of people take for granted I see as something beautiful. Yet simplistic, it holds a magical feel, and it captures you, especially when it's just falling all around you.
words and photos by Erica Spin