Most people living in a cold climate would probably tell you it isn’t the cold that bothers them as much as the endless succession of dreary, cloudy days. (Heck, even people in the balmy Pacific Northwest complain about how dark it is in winter!) Well, today it was sunny for a change, so I went for a walk up the hill into the woods. (Click on any photo to enlarge it.)I turned left to walk through the Secret Garden. (View this same path through the seasons here.) It’s obvious the rabbits were here before me. You’ll be seeing their tracks in just about every picture. I have this recollection from Girl Scouts that rabbit tracks look like two exclamation marks side by side. Occasionally I find one like that, but most of them run into each other and aren’t perfectly aligned. As I walk through a low area that is squishy wet in spring, I pass my branches bench on my right. Here’s what I see when I sit on that bench: Then I start to climb the hill. We had 12 inches of snow, then we got some freezing rain, then we got more snow. With every step I take, I feel myself break through the icy crust and sink down below the top of my boots. I turned around at the top of this rise so you could see my footsteps: It turns a brisk walk into slow trudge. But the next part was fairly level. In the spring this area is also rather wet. Much to my surprise, I discovered it is wet in winter, too. When we first moved here, our feet followed the paths of least resistance as we explored the land. Well, the easiest way through was along wildlife tracks and where snowmelt ran down the hill. Hence many of our paths are pretty muddy in spring. And there are other places besides this spot where the water table rises to the surface.
I continued walking into a more wooded area and then turned right, making my way toward the main path that runs up the center of our property. Finally I came to the bench in the Juneberry room.No, I didn’t sit there. There was snow on the bench, and anyway, I knew the view would be much better in a few more steps. It is a nice view. Most people in our family walk straight up the field to enter the woods. But I like to circle around through the woods before coming to the field, so that there is a greater contrast between the feeling of enclosure and then the wide open space.
Now I’ve walked down the hill to the point where the slope drops more steeply.This is where the sleds really build up speed, and my kids have built a jump to take advantage of that. My walk is almost over, and since I’m now walking in the path that the sledders use to go back up the hill, the walking is much easier than when I was breaking trail. I soon arrived back at the house. I hope you enjoyed the walk as much as I did.