Saturday, December 3, 2016


Living near a national park and surrounded by national forest, my hiking companions and I see a lot of people doing things that are, well, questionable.  Things like starting off on a 12 mile trail at 4 pm with one plastic water bottle, hiking in camouflage in hunting season, and trail running solo in known grizzly habitat in the early morning.  Many times, people stop us to ask what trail they are on and where it goes, as if they don't even see the trailhead signs.

I thought of those people the other day as we drove towards a trailhead.  I thought we probably resembled them, with our optimistic thinking that didn't include snow blocking the road. Snowmobilers undoubtedly thought so, looking curiously at us as they unloaded their machines.  As we retreated to an unknown trail we had seen on the way up the road, late season hunters drove past, probably noting our lack of guns.
Hmm...time to turn around.  Only snowmobile tracks from here.
As we hiked up the hill in the snow, I thought about the difference between being adventurous and being reckless.  It's a fine line, and many times I've crossed it: going out unprepared for conditions, stubbornly pressing on when the weather deteriorated, becoming temporarily lost while not paying attention to landmarks.

The trail we ended up on
 But while we may have seemed clueless, that actually wasn't the case.  We all carried extra warm clothes.  J. had firestarters and a headlamp in his pack.  We had snowshoes, although we never used them.  Like Everest climbers, we set a turn around time so we wouldn't be coming down near dusk when hunters might be around, desperate to get a deer on the last day of the season.  We had topo maps.  So maybe the difference between the two is having a backup plan.
Snowy trail
We didn't get to the fire lookout we were hoping to hike to.  We didn't even get out of the deep woods.  But a day outside with friends is always worth it, even if it didn't quite go as planned.


  1. Maybe you didn't reach your destination, but those beautiful snowy landscapes were worth the trip!

  2. i find that if you are in a group you are more likely to be sensible about what you are all doing - when you are by yourself you tend to be more stubborn about achieving what you set out to do - at least that's what happens to me.

  3. The journey is important too, as they say! By seeing your pics, I can imagine it was an adventure!
    PS- I told my twins about you & I think I might have implanted an idea for a secret language ;)

    1. Haha! Great! I can't remember most of ours.


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