Tuesday, February 11, 2014

the trail less traveled

It was a cold day in the national park.  My water bottle froze.  The road to the trailhead was closed by snow.  There were no cars in the parking lot.  I slogged along on snowshoes through the quiet forest.

 
When I reached a junction in the closed road, I hesitated.  I had seen people hiking on the left fork before, but I had always turned to the right, to take the trail up to the fire lookout.  That way was familiar; the views were beautiful.  I vaguely knew that the other route followed a decommissioned road.  It looked flat and boring, just a path through the woods.

A confession:  I'm sort of a hiking snob.  I'm so busy with work in the summer that when I do have time to hike,  I choose the mountain peaks and the picturesque lakes.  I want the big views, not acres of trees.  But today, I made a split second decision.  I turned to the left.

Immediately all the other prints vanished, except for a single set of ski tracks.  The snow was deep and soft.  I saw nobody.

The ski tracks stopped at the top of a hill.


I continued on and came to this cute bridge:



The trees creaked and groaned in the wind.  There were glimpses of mountains though the forest.


The trail was longer than I thought, and I had started late.  I reluctantly turned around, covering about 7 miles.  I realized I had been missing out.  The forest was so peaceful, and I didn't have to follow anyone else's tracks.  I don't need mountain peaks every time.  Sometimes a quiet forest is the perfect choice.


I'll be back to hike the entire trail sometime soon.

7 comments:

  1. Looks like a lovely hike! I enjoy discovering new trails.

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  2. I understand the wanting the views when you hike...but that last picture looked like a great view! We don't get snow often enough here to warrant snow shoes, but I sure want to go somewhere and try it out. Looks like a lot of fun...though cold..ha!! Glad you had a good hike. 7 miles is an awesome distance in the white stuff!

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    1. *Edit...the next to last picture...though your show shoes look fun!

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    2. I get spoiled by the REALLY great views...but yes, it was nice!

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  3. Oh I'd love to go skiing there!

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    1. There's lots of places to ski in the park, and the bears are asleep!

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  4. Imagine hiking all alone in this crowded-in-summer National Park! Seven miles on snowshoes is an awesome hike....and new areas to see!

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