We got an impressive snow dump the last few days. It's easily a foot in the mountains and half that in town. Those of us who had our snow tires taken off early stared in disbelief, forgetting that really, this is normal. It's just the last couple of years that we've actually had a spring in March. It is, truly, still winter.
I've had a good couple of skiing and snowshoeing days, but sometimes a person craves dry ground. The trouble with being a scout in this county--someone who is on the move to check snow and trail conditions before anyone else--is that you can happily drive someplace only to be denied. But what can you do? Stay home, convinced that the 70% chance of precipitation forecast dooms you to the gym? No, of course not. I optimistically put on waterproof socks and headed out.
Nobody else was at the Devils Gulch trailhead when I arrived. A sullen and unrelenting wind pounded the trees. This didn't look promising, but I was here, so I marched on. Once this used to be one of my favorite running trails. With only a gentle uphill grade, unheard of around here, and a few water crossings, it was the perfect mix of solitude and challenge. (You might have to jump over a few rattlesnakes, but where's the adventure in not? Also, Tough Mudder races make me snicker. Just come to Eastern Oregon. You don't need to pay for a race with obstacles.)
However, over the years brush and downed trees have reclaimed some of the trail, particularly past the old cabin (probably two miles up) and even before that, pants are a necessity, unless you like looking like you've been in a fight with a couple of cats.
Even so, it's still a nice trail to cheat the season. Here I could see that spring was actually on its way. The sky remained harmlessly blue even as rain and snow circled. I was in a strange little pocket of sun. I even found the remnants of a fire. I poked around but could not see the cause. (It's kind of ominous that this fire spread as far as it did this early, in this high snow year.)
I hiked a little ways past the cabin before calling it quits. Not a strenuous hike by any means, but enough to remember what sun felt like.
|Selfie fail! But it makes me laugh. And look, bare ground!|
I was now ready to go back to this.
What's it like where you live? Are you one of those people happily posting that it is seventy degrees? Honestly I would be scared if it was 70 here. It'll be snowy for another month.