Jonna and Alan's Graeagle, CA trip

For many years, 2009-2016, we joined Jonna's brother Jamie and his family for an annual New Year's Eve "weekend away" at Jamie's in-law's cabin in Graeagle, CA. When Jamie's kids left home that tradition fizzled and COVID firmly ended thoughts of a return. However, this year Jonna asked if anyone was interested and everybody jumped back onboard for a New Year's Eve reunion. We joined Jamie, his kids Larkin, Brianna and Julia-Rose, Brianna's twins Amara and Quess, Jamie's nephew Gus, Larkin's girlfriend Jelly and Rosie's boyfriend Matt (along with dogs Uno and Ralph) for a long weekend of family time. We went for a walk in the rain, played in the snow and we up to the old Eureka ski resort for an afternoon of sledding. We also cooked meals together, played games and otherwise enjoyed each other's company.

Here are some of our favorite photos from the trip (each photo is a thumbnail linked to a higher quality picture.):

1) Graeagle, CA, December 29, 2022 - We arrived in Reno in between rain/snow storms and were picked up by Jamie. By the time we got to Graeagle it was raining and proceeded to dump over 4" of rain over the next 36 hours. There was over a foot of hard packed snow on the ground from the previous storm but it was soaking up the rain like a sponge so not the greatest for being outside. Still it had the winter look so we had a nice background as we spent time indoors.

2) Graeagle, CA, December 30, 2022 - Never ones to let the weather stop us from enjoying the outdoors we all layered up and headed out into the rain for some puddle splashing fun. We walked from the cabin into the town of Graeagle and part of the way around the mill pond.

3) Graeagle, CA, December 30, 2022 - This was the twins first time playing in the snow and they both enjoyed running and diving into the softer snow. Here is Amara demonstrating the joy of rolling around in the white stuff.

4) Graeagle, CA, December 30, 2022 - It was also the first time the twins got to have a snow ball fight and both had a blast running up to the adults and pelting them with tiny handfuls of snow and ice. Here Quess gets ready to throw a snowball at Pop-Pop (Jamie). (Photo by Brianna Sherrill.)

5) Graeagle, CA, December 30, 2022 - By the time we got down to the Mill Pond both the wind and the rain was starting to pick up so the kids enthusiam for the hike began to quickly wane. We stopped for a group photo while Jamie ran back to the house to get a car to convey us all back to the cabin in a warm and dry SUV.

6) Graeagle, CA, December 31, 2022 - Over night the temperature dropped and the rain turned into snow. This turned the wet roads and drenched ground snow into ice but also started to build up a fluffy layer of fresh snow. Graeagle creek looked seasonally appropriate with big fat snow flakes sticking to the trees.

7) Graeagle, CA, December 31, 2022 - At the cabin the fresh snow got everyone out of the cabin and into the yard to enjoy a big snowball fight, making a snowman and building a sledding ramp off the side of the deck. A whole afternoon of outdoor fun!

8) Graeagle, CA, December 31, 2022 - Amara and Quess both got to experience the fun of trying to catch a snowflake on their tongues and Jelly got some amazingly cute photos of them both trying. (Photo by Jelly.)

9) Graeagle, CA, December 31, 2022 - Quess figured out that it was easier to eat a snowball than to run around trying to catch a snowflake on his tongue. Smart kid! (Photo by Jelly.)

10) Graeagle, CA, December 31, 2022 - This was the kids first time sledding and Amara's usual energy and bravery saw her jumping in first while Quess watched to figure out how it all worked. Amara's giggles are so cute and Quess quickly saw that sledding was both safe and fun. Our quickly made ramp was perfect for the kids giving them enough speed to go "wheeeeee....". (Photo by Jelly.)

11) Graeagle, CA, December 31, 2022 - Another partial group photo in the midst of the snow storm with huge flakes piling up at the rate of 2" of snow an hour. (Photo by Jelly.)

12) Graeagle, CA, December 31, 2022 - Jelly got a series of photos as Jonna smashed a big snowball over my head. Here is the "victory" pose while snow drips onto my face. (Photo by Jelly.)

13) Johnsville, CA, January 1, 2023 - The next day was perfect. The snow storm cleared out and left behind bright blue skies but cold enough temperatures to keep the snow fluffy. We loaded up the cars with sleds, snacks and kids then headed up to Johnsville where the old Eureka ski area makes for perfect sledding. The parking lot was packed with people sledding, skiiing, snow boarding, snow shoeing and otherwise playing in the white stuff. The views of the area were incredible.

14) Johnsville, CA, January 1, 2023 - We all trek'ed from the parking lot in to the main hillside. The kids were already enjoying foot of fresh powder. (Of course, it is easy to enjoy it when you are getting pulled up the hill rather than wading through the snow yourself!)

15) Johnsville, CA, January 1, 2023 - Despite this being an abandoned ski resort (for 15 years there have been claims that "next year" it will re-open) it was quite busy. Half our group took off to make the 1+ hour climb all the way to the top while the rest of us stayed down at the bottom and played with the twins.

16) Johnsville, CA, January 1, 2023 - Amara and Quess made multiple runs in the sled and where all smiles the whole time!

17) Johnsville, CA, January 1, 2023 - The twins really wanted to make another snowman but it was so cold that the snow wasn't sticky. Still they enjoyed just playing in the snow. (Photo by Brianna Sherrill.)

18) Johnsville, CA, January 1, 2023 - Pretend snowmen work fine when you are three! (Photo by Brianna Sherrill.)

19) Johnsville, CA, January 1, 2023 - Amara played hard until she literally passed out. I mean she was out HARD! She zonked out on the picnic table where we were having lunch and stayed sleeping while being carried the 1/4 mile back to the parking lot and slept for another half an hour in the pack of the one of the cars despite all the noise of the a crowded parking lot. (Photo by Brianna Sherrill.)

21) Johnsville, CA, January 1, 2023 - Jonna was also playing hard. There is a steep hill near the parking lot with some pretty big bumps on it. Jonna rodeo'ed her way down that hill a few times getting completely covered with snow every time. Yee-haw! This resurrection of our tradition of meeting up in Graeagle for New Year's Eve was a unqualified success. We all had plenty of fun and maybe have re-started the tradition with a new generation.

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Alan Fleming