June 06, 2007
Walking through clouds
Our first morning in the Town That Sounds Like Batman's Punch, clouds descended upon us, hiding the tops of the mountains, curling about behind the tallest pine trees, creating a shifting, mysterious landscape. When the mist would move, I'd catch glimpses of mountains, covered with green trees at the lower levels but capped with grey rock and white ice.
For the first two days of our trip, my husband has been attending a conference. So yesterday we had breakfast together at 7 am, and he went off to early morning sessions, while I put on my hiking boots, took the rental car, and spent the day hiking. Even though I enjoy hiking with family and friends, I also love having the luxury of exploring a new region all by myself. I'd brought all kinds of maps and guidebooks, but in the end, I just drove around, never entirely sure where I was (I am terrible at directions), and parked at any trailhead that looked promising. I'd agreed to save the most famous sights for later in the week when my husband would be joining me, so on my own, I explored the trails less travelled.
Cool overcast weather is wonderful for hiking. The first trail I took wound through stands of Douglas firs, and the moist air smelled like at Christmas tree lot. Sometime the sun would peek out, and shadows would fall across the trail. Other times, a light misty rain would fall, the drops falling on my bare arms, cooling me down. I saw rivers that churned white as they rushed through rock, waterfalls that crashed down through mossy canyons, groves of aspen overlooking meadows where moose graze, and forests of lodgepole pine growing on steep slopes. Always, I could feel the presence of the mountains around me, their rocky slopes coming into focus any time the mist cleared.
Posted by jo(e)