Patience paid off Saturday, twice.
First, a recreational ski day began with constrained terrain while patrollers navigated steeper slopes -- loaded with snow from a recent storm -- to assess safety and, in some cases, to trigger purposeful avalanches with explosives. Word trickled our way by early afternoon that Kachina Peak was open for hikers, so we joined a line of ants, numbering in the hundreds, to follow the kick-steps along a lengthy ridge to the top of the mountain. The way up demanded 45 minutes; the way down, less than 10. As I've written about earlier this month, it was worth it.
The ski day done, that night found us at a recommended restaurant nearby. Crowded with diners, the small establishment already had an hour-long wait, but it was well-equipped for the scenario with outside space. We pulled a few vacant chairs into a circle of people around a fire pit. We stayed warm and made fast friends, three of whom we ended up dining with when our eventual tables proved adjacent. The New Mexican food, by the way, was delicious.