Friday Night Lights ski, candle event a hit
The snow, temperature, wind and moon gods came together Friday and provided an absolutely stunning evening for some 50 lucky Homerites who enjoyed Friday Night Lights at Lookout Mountain. Kachemak Nordic Ski Club sponsored the event.
Several hours prior to the gathering, the Women's Nordic Masters Ski Group distributed bag torches containing LED lights around the hayfield loop trail. The LED lights replaced the historic, but messy, oil-based lanterns.
The LED lights were not as bright as the previous oil-based lanterns, but for many this provided a subtle and enjoyable ski tour experience. Some skiers used headlamps to light their way, while others chose to use the light from the full moon that was translucently veiled behind misty skies. The softly diffused light, along with the lantern bags, created a lovely nighttime ski tour.
Several ski tourers wore strings of colored lights or had them wrapped around sleds carrying young ones, creating slowly moving bands of light that were visible from all over the hayfields. The temperature had risen significantly from previous nights. The air was crisp and clear but not too cold, and the calm atmosphere was a delight through which to ski.
Early in the evening, the soft light of the alpine glow provided views of the Iliamna and Redoubt volcanoes when looking west from high points along the hayfield trail. A more perfect nighttime ski is difficult to imagine. When not out on the trail, some gathered around the bonfire to chat, enjoy the firelight and warmth, and just relish the lovely winter evening.
There was more fun to be had at the Ski Club maintenance shed. For three hours, the maintenance shed was home to some very fun candle-making. Local artist Deland Anderson set up five candle-making stations, each of which contained a gas-fired stove and a large pot of water that supported cans full of beeswax suspended down into the water.
Anderson provided the beeswax, wicks and a pegged candle drying rack made out of retired skis and ready instructions for all to create their own candles. We learned how long we had to wait between dipping events, before we could dip again. The fun result of all this dipping was candles of all shapes and sizes, many of which I'm sure will never feel the heat of a match. Others may be saved and used to provide light for special occasions.
Throughout the evening, Anderson monitored the dipping stations to make sure the beeswax was warm, but not too hot, and filled to just the optimum levels. And amazingly, with several dozen frenetically engaged childred whirling around five stove stations with warm beeswax, there were no mishaps.
It was delightful to watch everyone from 3-year-olds to 70-year-olds dipping and hanging and dipping some more to create their own, and which for many were their first, beeswax candles. In addition to lots of candle-making, there was much chatting and visiting among the adults. My favorite memory of the evening was a young dad holding his 2-year-old carefully over the beeswax pot as his youngster delightedly dipped a wick into the melted beeswax.
Throughout the evening, people would come and go from the beeswax candle central in the maintenance shed to take multiple tours around the hayfield loop on skis. I also saw at least one pair of snowshoers or snowshoe tracks, out enjoying the evening, loop and lights. In addition to the beeswax extravaganza, the maintenance shed was also well supplied with large containers of hot chocolate, providing a welcome warmth and sweetness when coming in from the cool night air.
I particularly remember the entirely new and enjoyable mixture of the subtle sent of the beeswax admixed with that of the hot chocolate that I was sipping with one hand while dipping my beeswax candle with the other. Evenings such as this Friday Night Lights create smiles that live long in memories.