That One Time I Skated On Thin Ice and Almost Died

Dear Diary,

There was some good news and some bad news this Christmas. The bad news was that there was no snow in Yosemite. The good news was that because there was no snow, the Tioga Road was open. The Tioga Road leads to the isolated Tuolumne Meadows section of the park, about an hour away from my parents’ house. This meant that for the first time in my life we got to go up and ice skate on Lake Tenaya, which is one of the most beautiful, serene places on earth.

First things first: here’s what I wore. Purple Sunglasses from Urban Outfitters, a grey scarf from Gap, a hoodie by Levis, a coat by David Mayer, jeans by Levis, and skates by GodKnowsWho.

Everyone in my family got new ice skates when I was 13. Thank goodness my feet were already size 12 by then so I can still wear mine. Also, check out these AMAZING skate bags we bought in 1995. Jealous?

This is my dad’s skate bag:

This is my mom’s skate bag:

This is my skate bag:

These are my man figure skates. They’re pretty old school and awesome, still in good condition after all these years.

Even Rex, my brother’s dog, got to skate on the lake.

I’m not going to lie, skating on a lake is actually kind of scary. Mainly because it seems like you could fall through at any moment, dying immediately in the frigid water.

My mother skated for a bit, then canoodled with my little niece, who I regretfully inform you is the cutest baby in the whole world. Apologies to any babies you know.

This is my attempt at a Volvo ad.

Part of the lake was so clear that you could see fish swimming underneath. Which was pretty exciting. Those poor little fishies must have been freezing!

As you can tell, it was pretty ugly and disgusting there.

My siblings and I have been skating our whole lives, but my brother and sister are dramatically more talented at it than I am. When we were kids, we would go skating every day after school at the Curry Ice Rink.

You can see my thumb in this picture. The reason is that as I was taking it, the ice made a terrifying cracking noise under my feet as the ice was breaking. I almost died. Not really.

Because the Tioga Road (which leads to Lake Tenaya) is usually closed this time of year, this is potentially the last time I’ll ever skate on this lake. It was a super rare opportunity. And the most exciting and glamourous thing I’ve ever done in my life.

Love,
Orlando

7 Comments

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7 responses to “That One Time I Skated On Thin Ice and Almost Died

  1. super glamourous. in the best way. i love the showiness of nature. looks like an amazing time.

  2. Stunning!
    I’m reveling in admiration over the eye candy of these photos & your ice experience.
    We have no snow in northern MN, either, which is absurd for Christmas. But our lakes are just like this – frozen crystal clear. It’s like no other winter.
    Happiest Holidays, Orlando.
    PS: I attempted a near identical Hyundai ad in Zion National Park.

  3. Catherine Soria

    I don’t think you mentioned the numerous booms of the water under the lake suddenly lapping up to meet the ten inch thick ice layer. As fun as it was to be on natural ice on a big lake we are unused to the natural cracks and booms of lake ice.

  4. ian

    beautiful pic’s. i grew up in eastern canada near the laurentians where there are many many lakes. it was very rare to have an open expanse of ice like this, usually one could snowshoe across a lake, but it wasn’t highly recommended. one could never be absolutely sure the ice would support you. plus, i was and am totally inept at skating and skiing, sad winters for me! lol.

  5. Gorgeous photos Orlando. Your niece is a beauty and I hope one day she and Casey will make beautifuler babies together. LOL

    Please note that beautifuler must actually be a word as there is no squiggly line ‘neath it.

  6. When I was little, I wanted to be a professional ice skater. Only my mom didn’t want to spring for lessons and I’m not exactly athletic, so maybe it was for the best. My aunt used to skate on the edges of the lake behind my grandparents’ house, but I was always afraid to. How cool that you got to have the experience in such a beautiful location.

  7. dabney

    oh man. it’s been awhile since i’ve skated on a totally frozen lake, but i’ll never forget the sound of ice expanding. there has to be a word for a situation that’s beautiful and terrifying at the same time. (i just can’t think of it).

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