Romance in Action

Does your special someone like to do things with you? Mine does.

My guy’s love language is Quality Time. Gwynly wants to be with me, free of distractions. Knowing this to be the case, I dragged myself away from my computer this past weekend and headed up to enjoy the precious little snow we’ve had in the Sierras this year in what we’ve taken to calling, “The Winter That Wasn’t.”

Gwynly donned his cross-country skis, I strapped on my snowshoes, and we set off into the wilderness. No really! Check out the sign.

Into the wilds.

Despite the skimpy snow, we fully intended to make the most of our time together.

Gwynly got to do some of those fancy Telemark turns he’s so fond of while I watched in admiration. In spite of thinking he might find my impression goofy or girly, I told him that I love how graceful he looks when he’s coming down the hill. I’m glad I did. He said my comment made his day. Ah, the power of words!

My guy looking mighty graceful.

Our destination was Winnemucca Lake, an alpine lake a little over two miles from the snow park where we started. Since I’ve been working out daily for over four months now, I felt confident I’d do just fine.

I didn’t.

Reality set in rather quickly. The snow was icy on the way up, making the going tough.

Although the sun shone, the temperature reached a high of 55 degrees. That would have been OK, except for the fact that there were fifteen mph winds. Biting winds.

Oh, and did I mention that we were at 8,500 feet when we started, with a 600 foot climb ahead of us? Gwynly reminded me of that fact repeatedly, telling me not to expect to be able to keep up my usual pace at that elevation.

Did I listen? Nope. I set off with the goal of reaching the lake, and nothing short of that would satisfy me. Ignoring the boots that were rubbing my ankles, I forged ahead. Gwynly kept telling me to slow down, take it easy, and not feel like I had to complete the hike.

What I heard was, “You don’t have what it takes.” Yeah, classic male-to-female translation trouble that only served to make me more determined than ever to reach that lake.

I did. But the climb up the final hill wasn’t pretty. I was stooped over so far at times that I’m surprised I didn’t scrape my nose on the icy surface of the snow. Gwynly knew better than to snap a picture, but he did get the one of me at the top. Can you say wiped out?

I’m standing in the picture, but the big hole behind me was made when I fell on my backside while attempting to turn around and face the camera. Yes, I was that tired.

Phew! I made it.

I dragged myself to the “secluded” spot Gwynly located for our lunch stop, one that was supposed to shield us from the howling winds that sent snow dancing over the sparkling surfaces. We soon learned that there was no escaping the buffeting.

I’ve been to the snow with my adventure-loving guy many times during our 24 years of marriage, but never have we wolfed down our meal as quickly. It was so cold I had to keep switching the hand holding my sandwich so I could warm up the other one.

For some reason, this was Gwynly's favorite shot of the day.

Gwynly broke camp in record time, stuffed the trash in his pack, and pulled out his down vest. I didn’t want to take it, since I was in he-woman mode, but my numb lips and frozen fingers convinced me being warm was more important than making my point that I really am one tough little dudette.

The Abominable Snow Keli.

We began the descent with me bundled up, only to discover that the sun had warmed the snow. No longer was I crunching over a crusty surface. Instead I was sinking ankle-deep in the mushy mess.

Had I remembered to take my snow pants and gaiters, I would have been OK, but since I’d expected a warm, sunny day and spring-like snow conditions, I’d left them home. In no time my jeans were soaked, making me cold, wet, and not a happy camper.

Once again Gwynly offered to help. This time, I was going downhill, but the situation was actually looking up. Each step was taking me closer to the warm car waiting for us. So, instead of insisting that I was “fine,” I decided to ask myself what the heroine in my story would do.

That did the trick. I realized she’d be wise and would graciously accept the help. Rather than ignore my sore ankles any longer, I sat on a rock and waited for my friendly knight in flannel to arrive. I admitted my malady and asked if he had anything to help. He beamed.

I peeled off my socks, revealing red but not blistered skin. He whipped out his moleskin, which I slapped on. What a difference it made in my comfort level–and my attitude.

The remaining mile and a half were actually fun. At my urging, Gwynly darted off to find hills with enough decent snow to try some more of those turns he enjoys, and I drank in the view of my guy having some serious fun.

I asked Gwynly if spending the day with me, despite all the challenges, was something he’d consider romantic. His “yes” came immediately. While I don’t rate slogging through slushy snow and battling bitterly cold breezes high on my scale, he gave the day an 8.5 out of 10.

I learned a lesson. Romance is love in action. My guy wanted me to be with him doing what he loves, true. But what was even more important to him was making sure I was taken care of. Next time I intend to remember that a heroine’s job is to let her hero be heroic and appreciate his efforts.

We made it back to the car and were soon laughing about our memorable adventure.

There's nothing quite like reaching The End.

• • •

What types of outdoor adventures does your special someone enjoy? Do you share that interest, or do you, like me, set out with the laudable goal of being a good sport?

Do you have a hard time accepting help, even when it’s well-intentioned?

Have male-female translation troubles ever plagued you?

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About Keli Gwyn

I'm an award-winning author of inspirational historical romance smitten with the Victorian Era. I'm currently writing for Harlequin's Love Inspired Historical line of wholesome, faith-filled romances. My debut novel, A Bride Opens Shop in El Dorado, California, was released July 1, 2012. I'm represented by Rachelle Gardner of Book & Such Literary. I live in a Gold Rush-era town at the foot of the majestic Sierras. My favorite places to visit are my fictional worlds, other Gold Country towns and historical museums. When I'm not writing I enjoy taking walks, working out at Curves™ and reading.
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17 Responses to Romance in Action

  1. Cindy R. Wilson says:

    Hi Keli. My hubby and I love to get outdoors. One thing we try to do every summer is climb a 14er – one that we haven’t climbed in years past. No matter how good of shape I feel like I’m in, it’s still hard at that elevation. My hubby works for an oxygen company so he always jokes he could bring oxygen for us to use. But he’s pretty encouraging. I almost didn’t make the second to last one we started together, especially when the snow started hundreds of feet from the top. But it was the second time I’d tried that mountain and I wanted to finally make it. It’s a good thing he was there encouraging me to keep moving.

  2. Ah Keli, I have nothing up-close and personal to add. What I will add is my continued admiration for your loving relationship with your spouse. So often you draw us into your duet in what might seem to be every day things that are actually very memorable events. This is one of them. Thanks for the images of you both … not the photographs … but the images of two people who care for each other sharing a special day 🙂

  3. Oh my! What a romantic guy you have. 🙂 He sounds so thoughtful and I love that he wants to go do things with you. *swoon* I would NOT have liked being that cold though. Yuck! But you look adorable and I see why the vest pic is his fave. You look very cute!!
    My husband loves fishing but he goes ALL day and with three little ones, I don’t join him. Sometimes we go on the river together with the kids though.

  4. Loved this story, Keli! So cute. And all of your photos…adorable!

    My husband loves quality time–the shoulder to shoulder kind (as opposed to face to face). He likes camping and hiking, and luckily, I do too. But I think you’re right. Those moments when we ask for help, even though we are capable women, does something to our heroes–it makes them feel good that we are asking them for advice.

  5. Melissa Tagg says:

    Ahh, what a sweet story. And you’re a good sport for going along!

    I don’t have a male-female version to share, BUT I do have a couple crazily adventurous friends. I’m always hesitant to join them, but once they talk me into it, I have a blast. My favorite has been tubing down a bumpy Colorado river. Yeah, rivers in Colorado – not like rivers in Iowa! But we came away from it with only bruises and sunburns and one almost-broken nose. Not too shabby. 🙂

  6. Awesome pictures! How fun!
    My hubby likes to fish and since I enjoy boats and sunbathing, it works for us! 🙂

  7. Susan Basham says:

    Great post, Keli!

  8. Beth K. Vogt says:

    This is probably one of my most favorite posts of yours, Keli.
    I read every word … and trudged with you every frigid step up that mountain.
    And I smiled when you made it . . . and breathed a little easier when you let your guy help you on the way back down.
    You are a true heroine and he’s quite the hero, isn’t he?

  9. How sweet your hubby is! Your adventure sounds exciting but not for a girl like me:) I am more the kind where we do projects together or explore new towns together. You are so brave to have tried that!

  10. So sweet! My husband loves hunting and fishing. I fished a lot as a kid, but I hadn’t gone lately. A few days ago, I hit the pond with my husband and my son. We had a blast!

  11. Linda Gartz says:

    The trip looks fantastic. I love the outdoors. My special someone, when I first met him, was a pilot, scuba-diving enthusiast, and liked the outdoors. I got my pilot’s license, decided it wasn’t my idea of relaxation, and never flew again. We both enjoy the outdoors, but I do now more than he — at least for more adventurous trips. I’d still camp, but he’d rather not.

  12. Loree Huebner says:

    Fun post and loved the pictures!

    Hubz and I do almost everything together since the kids are grown. We write together, fish, do Civil War reenacting, walk, exercise, watch movies…and so on. We’re a team. Our relationship is more romantic now than ever – like puppy love.

  13. we totally do the same thing! we love to go snow-shoeing, and up here, snow is about 30 minutes inland for most of the winter. we haven’t gone this year, though, due to the winter that wasn’t. 🙂 this is truly something we both enjoy doing. lately, my husband has been planting seeds (and watering them) about building up my mountaineering experience. he even bought me some special pants i’ll have to have. *sigh* he wants us to climb mt. shasta eventually!! we shall see. we shall see.

    loved the pictures!!

  14. Fun pictures, Keli. So cool (no pun intended) that you and your hubby got to have a snow day. My husband and I like to go hiking. I’m not much of an outdoorsy girl, but I do like to walk on trails and smell the fresh air.

  15. Sherrinda says:

    You two are so incredibly cute! I love the romance oozing from you both. 🙂

    My husband likes to canoe, which is hard for this non-muscled gal. The last time we went, my hands and shoulders throbbed so bad I thought I would cry on the way home. But I was a trooper. Sometimes I bring the computer to the couch and write (with earphones playing some music) while he watches sports. There’s something about me being there with him that he loves. Sweet. 🙂

  16. Whew Keli, I’m thankful my husband isn’t a winter-sports enthusiast. 🙂 But I love how you made your hubby’s day even if it wasn’t your cup of tea.

    As for your question, we enjoy playing tennis, hiking, and going golfing together. (I don’t golf, but I’m a very skilled golf-cart driver. :))

  17. Donna Pyle says:

    Wow! Your photos of the beautiful, snowy countryside just made me sigh. Big. How very blessed you are, Keli! Thanks for sharing your story and wonderful pictures!

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