Friday, December 20, 2013

The Porcupine Diaries

I'm going to buy a ticket to Bali, I snarled to myself. A ONE WAY ticket. And then I'm gonna lie in a hammock far from an Outlook calendar, and a to-do list, and people! And I'm just gonna lie in that hammock and DO NOTHING!

As I type this the world outside is white. I think it's safe to assume I'm not in the tropics.

There comes a time in mid-winter (it's not even mid-winter. There's at least five months left!) when I just feel...prickly. I never get like this in summer, mostly because I can look up from my work and see my trusty backpack, ready to go. Lately I've been confined to front country adventures and it's making me...not so nice.

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But I know what the remedy is. Even though my inner coach protested ("Slog up to the dam? Just that? That's not enough exercise! And how come you ate all those dark chocolate peanut butter cups, Fatty?") I decided it was time to go into the woods.

The thing about the East Fork Wallowa trail is, you need to work for the good stuff. It's five miles to the place where the trail opens up into big meadows and bigger mountains. In winter, that little five miles can take five hours, especially when you are breaking trail. To go less far is to mostly mindlessly slog for no real reason. Except for the reason that you feel like a porcupine and that you might kill somebody if you don't go.

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All the time I had today--because of all the obligations. Grr--was to go two miles up to the dam. Here the creek is contained in a small pool which then tumbles back down into the woods, some of it used for hydropower. It almost didn't seem worth it to only hike four miles, but it is a worthy slog in itself, pointed straight uphill through a deep, dark forest. The snow was much deeper than I expected and I churned along in slow motion.

It didn't take long for the magic to work. All the obligations vanished. It was silent, just the crunch of my boots. And somehow I had forgotten about the mystical views of the lake from this hike.

You can totally see the path of the glacier. See the moraine?



Snowmaggedon is coming, maybe 16 inches, maybe more, and I saw it start to arrive.


I feel much better now. Though I'd take a ticket to Bali, if anyone's offering.



18 comments:

  1. I don't have a hammock or beautiful sand beaches, but we lack snow and rain right now, you're welcome to come spend whatever days you have off for Christmas here. It has even been sunny!!

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    1. That sounds pretty great. I've got a plan, but i definitely want to come see redwoods someday.

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  2. Oh, yes...prickly as a porcupine and having to try extra hard not to take it out on the blameless folks that I really do love...really. Snowshoed just a little way but it was enough to feel better. Love your views.

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  3. I wish our mountains here would get more snow! I want to go skiing! We've just had gray, dreary, rainy icky weather. I think could handle snow and cold temps if I got some sunshine.

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    1. Yes, it could be worse. I spent 7 years in the rainforest. Couldn't go back!

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  4. I saw a porcupine one time on one of my solo hikes up Silver Star Mt. It never showed it's face and slowly moved off into the brush. John

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    1. I do wish the porcupines who come out to chew on our porch at 2:00 am would slowly move off into the brush. I do remind myself this is their land, too!

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  5. Remember what porcupines do to dogs! Is that how people feel when we are porcupiney to them? Oops.

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  6. I don't think you would enjoy Bali at all.

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    1. Perhaps not. I know nothing about it. it just sounds pleasant.

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  7. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    1. Oops, a little new to this and deleted my post. Here's what I wrote;

      I know what you mean about feeling prickly this time of year. Here in eastern Oregon this is the time of year when you can go for weeks without seeing the sun, and we don't even have snow to enjoy. I still take my pups for a walk every day and try to make the best of it but I am always dreaming of spring and the mountains. Hang in there, you'll smell the wild flowers soon.... :-)

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    2. Thanks for the comment, Kim! It's been a little dreary, hasn't it? Snow and then rain?! We did get some good skiing in.

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  8. hmmm...porcupiney? Well yes maybe here too. Maybe I need to buy me some of those Dark Chocolate PB cups. We are getting our kids some learn to ski packages this winter for Christmas. We also got my daughter some new snowshoes (son already has some). I plan on making the most of this winter yuck. Have entertained the thought of running in the cold snow too which is a first. :)

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    1. Well the learn to ski packages got forgot about, but the snowshoes were a big hit yesterday for my Maddie's bday. I can rent some from REI for myself for next to nothing. So we are heading up the mountain to find some snow since we still don't have any here in town.

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