The trails in summer are full of horses and hikers, a place to generally hurry through enroute to a high mountain lake. But in winter, you can have them all to yourself. I was looking for a trail a short drive from the house, and this one, only six miles from home, was perfect.
I often wonder if dogs feel sorry for us as we plod along slowly on two feet. Ruby and I headed up the East Fork Wallowa trail, which in summer is a rock-studded slog until you reach the alpine shores of Aneroid Lake. The forest is unhealthy here, with little sunlight reaching through the thick mat of trees. It's not particularly lovely; you don't get views for at least three miles. But in winter, a thick coat of forgiving snow turns it somewhat magical.
I followed someone's Yak Traks toward the dam that feeds the small hydropower plant for the resort houses. That person had turned around and accessed the dam road to return to the trailhead, a steeper and shorter option that also avoids some avalanche paths. Because there has been little snow until now, the avy danger is low, although it won't be soon. Light snow has begun to cover the surface hoar, and hikers will have to beware the danger.
|Ruby patiently waits for me to appear.|
|Is there anything better than a small cabin in falling snow?|
|The water backs up by the dam to create a small lake. It doesn't freeze because of the force of the river running into it.|
|But, I don't want to turn around.|