Sunday, November 12, 2017

Cold feet on Cayuse Flats

I am having a hard time admitting it's winter. Which means winter running, which means the fearsome choice of a treadmill, some icy streets on soul crushing pavement, or foolhardy attempts at trails you really should be skiing instead of trying to run. Yesterday I chose the latter, only to flounder through six inches of snow. Yes, the trails are shut down for the season.

Today I set off in trail running shoes as T and I headed up the trail to Cayuse Flats. Spoiler alert, I regretted this decision as we walked through fresh snow. Soon my feet were freezing, aided by a stiff breeze that forced us to don all of our layers. Not yet used to winter, we were not carrying enough, and could not linger.

Luckily the trail climbed steeply uphill, which allowed us to warm up slightly. We passed through silent forest before the trail petered out and we made for the ridge.

We climbed this hill to get to the ridge
There's a road you can actually drive to get here, but who wants the easy way? Not us. We headed along the top of the world for awhile before heading over to investigate some abandoned looking buildings. Peering inside, we noticed a brand new box of Red Wings and fresh cut firewood. Was someone living in the shack? A stock truck cruised the road, bringing hay to the horses we had seen earlier,  but there were no footprints in the snow.

Buildings from a distance
This would be a great cabin to spend the winter in, I thought. But then again, maybe not. Winters are harsh up here. The road would drift in soon. It will be eight months before it opens up again. Or more.

Lately more of my friends are speaking wistfully of warmer climates. Some have even made the break, claiming not to miss skiing or winter at all. I have to admit, sometimes it sounds good--no running in microspikes, no driving in winter storms, no skirting the edge of frostbite on hikes like this (although I will wear boots next time). But then again, living in a constant climate might get kind of boring.

A moody sky, with the Wallowas in the distance
T and I headed down the ridge; the buildings would have to survive the winter without us as tenants. But survive they will, just like I will survive another winter. "I feel like last winter took it out of us," a friend said in the grocery store. He isn't ready for winter yet either. But here it is, ready or not. It's a time to adjust: running has to slow down. You can't break eight minute miles in winter, not on the ice. You have to switch from hiking to skiing. You have to bring boots, not shoes.

And maybe that's a good thing. Around here, you can't get set in your ways.


14 comments:

  1. echoed my thoughts about winter...it's here and the snow and temp don't care if I'm not ready. It's either change venue (not gonna happen) or adjust attitude. Working on that! Good things: It really is beautiful on the trees, ice formations on the lake can be beautiful too, less people in our favorite places.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'll be glad to ski. Just not prepared! We need more wood!

      Delete
  2. Mmmm, winter. I miss it still. Boulder is pretty much California with the occasional May snowstorm. It's supposed to be nearly 70 degrees tomorrow!

    (I did completely freeze every limb during a long bike descent on ice-coated pavement when I was woefully underprepared for upper-20s temps on Thursday. I've already conveniently forgotten about it.)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. 70...that's just weird. I'm usually over prepared. Not that day.

      Delete
  3. I'm excited that winter's coming. Here (in Connecticut) we've had snow, but it didn't stick. Right now we're in the beginning of what we call stick season, after the leaves fall but before the snow falls. It's nice in its own right, but I prefer winter. Of course, by March I'll be tired of it and more than ready for spring to finally come around, but for now any sign of snow is to be celebrated.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We will be able to ski soon. Which is good! Not ready to give up hiking yet though.

      Delete
  4. Of course, I'm happy about the mountain snow! Gotta get my skis waxed in anticipation. For me there's still the WA side of the Gorge available for hiking.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's what I meed! A winter hiking place. Maybe the Canyon will stay open this year.

      Delete
  5. To quote your words Mary, you 'live in a fascinating' substitute, amazing place! So hard for me to comprehend living with such long snowy winters.
    Your images bring me great joy.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, such a nice thing to say!

      Delete
  6. Just get me through winter without 3 feet of snow in town, and I'll be happy. There are things I love about winter, but hip deep snow is not one of them. We have a few ski resorts open already, and our local ski resort is looking pretty white up top. I sense possible snowshoeing for the kids and I Thanskgiving weekend. I am still hoping for a redo on summer and fall though.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'd love deep snow at my house and the ability to ski from the front door. Honestly it's just driving to the airport that I dread. Such a long way through such remote terrain. I need my own driver service, haha.

      Delete
  7. I'm kind of bummed because I've been hearing rumors that where I live is predicted to have a dry winter ... boo. I think there will come a time when I don't love winter, but for now, I do.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I hear predictions but a lot of the time they don't seem accurate. Maybe it will snow a ton!

      Delete

Hello out there. If you liked this post, please leave a comment so I keep writing!