Sunday, January 30, 2011

Deceptively Close To Civilization

After brunch at the MiCasa in the Valley late this morning LC and I walked for a short while at Montana Creek.
LC is only recovering from the Juneau Crud that knocked the wind out of me not long ago so we did not walk far.
But he was finally ready to be outside and moving again which was a very promising sign.
We left Jamie at the house today much to her noisy and protesting chagrin.
She loves to be outside and to walk with us, but the walk yesterday at Echo Cove tired my aging pup, and she was moving last night as though her hips were sore. 
Another walk for another day for my sweet and spoiled Jamie Point Dog...........

Montana Creek is located immediately off a side road close to Skaters Cabin.
It is located at the end of the same road which contains both an indoor and outdoor shooting range, so visitors to Montana Creek trails are used to the regular sound of gun fire.
The pictures above and below were taken on the way out to the trail head..........
As we continued further down the road past the gun ranges we were both extremely surprised to see so much snow on the ground.
The woods on both sides of the road were filled with deep snow and surprisingly so was the road.
We were on the Back Loop only a few miles from the restaurant in the Valley.
There is almost no snow in the Valley right now just as there is almost no snow between the Valley and our house.
As we continued to drive the few miles to the trail head the road became more and more filled with ice and snow. 
It was beautiful, drivable, but unexpected...........
Jamie and I have crossed this bridge at the trail head and walked the wide open and flat and gravel trail a few times over the past few months.
My Mountain Boy has not walked this trail before though, and today it was covered in crusty and slippery ice and snow, making walking challenging.
This beautiful bridge overlooking the creek was beautiful in a way that was new to me in this winter season..........
Views of the fast flowing creek, taken in both directions while standing on the bridge..........
We did not walk far today.
We walked only to the end of one short trail that is usually easy to walk on, flat and covered with gravel.
Today though it was a cold walk in the shade, and we found ourselves navigating a trail that was filled with deep snow and was rutted out from snow mobile traffic.
The creek at the intersection of two trails.
The rest of the trail parallels the creek and is a wonderful and beautiful and soothing walk.  
But a longer walk will have to wait for another day..........
Trails veering in two different directions.........
We stopped in the middle of the road for a few minutes to take these pictures.
At Montana Creek we were enveloped on both sides of the trail by tall pine trees. 
Being in the shade, and located not far from the glacier, the place was much colder than expected.
But out in the bright sunshine again the sky was blue, the sun was shining and warm, and I was compelled to stop and take pictures of this beautiful place.
This entire area is filled with open fields, gun ranges and archery ranges.
It is a beautiful and wide open space located deceptively close to civilization..........
How glorious a greeting the sun gives the mountains........John Muir

Saturday, January 29, 2011

The Color Of Winter

On a very beautiful, sunny and quiet day, and with LC still sick, I took Jamie for a drive as far Out the Road as I could.  To the End of the Road.  To Echo Cove.
I wanted quiet.
I wanted peace in a beautiful and sunny place, and I found it today.
There is a lot of snow Out the Road and a lot of ice.  Much more than there is at the house or in the Valley or at sea level over on Douglas Island.
My dog followed me around the house all morning looking expectantly at me and waiting for any sign that I would be going out for a walk.
Waiting for any sign that I would be taking HER out for a walk.
I got a late start, but when I was ready she was ready as well............

There was only one other vehicle in the parking lot, and I set out with Jamie eager to walk and to be outside close to the water and the mountains and the pine trees..........
And with Point Dog leading the way as usual...........
After walking on a snow covered and icy trail for only a few minutes, the trail opened up to the beach.
I love to walk on quiet beaches in the winter.
There were a couple of people standing at the end of the boat ramp looking out over the water in the cove, but there was no-one walking around the outside of the cove.
James and I were alone and I liked it that way............
I stood on the beach for a few minutes looking out over the cove towards the open channel.
The Chilkats were out there, barely visible from where I stood.
But I stood there for a few minutes looking out the quiet cove enjoying the view and thinking about standing in this same place last summer watching LC fish from the shore.
Other beautiful days this past summer.  The same blue sky.  The same quiet water.  The same quiet mountains...........
I found this rock and painted heart last summer, and stopped for a moment to take another picture of it in the winter.
When I see these kinds of personal things - things touched by hand - I always wonder what the story is behind them.
I wonder about this heart.  Simply and unthinkingly created for no-one in particular?  Or carefully created as a gesture to someone special?
Once you round the cove walking becomes an interesting and irregular combination of beach, rocks and trail.
Sometimes the walking was challenging. 
There was deep and crusty snow that I frequently broke through as I stepped.
In many places there were large patches of ice, and while struggling to stay upright I also watched Jamie's four little legs often slip out from underneath her.
And sometimes we walked on very rocky terrain and I worried about her foot pads.
Thankfully no injuries for either one of us.
I worry about my dog sometimes because I drag her through some tough places every once in a while, but she loves walking so much that she troopers on regardless of the terrain.
Sometimes we have to find another way to go.
Today though, we stayed the course.
Making our way purposefully towards the end of the cove and wide open channel and endless snow capped mountains.............
A young and frozen pine tree..........
A boat speeding back into the cove.
I am envious of the boat, and of the owner's ability to travel into the open..........
Beautiful frozen reeds by the water, covered in snow...........
The sky was deep blue, which made the jet stream from this plane stand out even more.
By this time in my walk I was getting too warm, and stashed my hat and gloves deeply into my coat pockets..........
Looking back towards the cove.
We had walked quiet a way and my puppy was still pulling on her leash.
Filled with too much energy, just as her momma was.
We continued on.........
This past summer my Mountain Boy and I walked part of this cove along the beach, before heading into the woods when we realized we had unexpectedly found a trail.
Jamie and I picked up that same trail again today, and I was amazed to see that for a while there was absolutely no snow at all.
We were walking on moss and pine needle covered trails that were soft under our feet.
It all of a sudden felt like a spring walk instead of a winter walk.
A gentle and quiet portion of a walk that was both fun and challenging...........
And then all of a sudden the snow mysteriously and gradually began to reappear on the trail.............
A very beautiful scene.
One of many on this walk...........
Eventually the dirt trail was replaced completely with snow.
Jamie and I continued to forge ahead, enjoying this wonderful walk...........
The final stretch before finally reaching beach and then channel was a slippery and very rocky place.
I chose my route carefully because there was also a lot of slate in this section.
I was worried about Jamie's feet, and we kept to the frozen moss and icy sections as much as possible..........
One very small section of the Chilkat Mountain Range.........
Jamie and I walked along the sandy and snowy beach, and I was pleased.
I felt the sheer joy of being.
I felt it in the time I was walking the beach.
Listening to the waves crash.  Feeling the mountains.
Just the sheer joy of feeling free.........
I was stopped at the end of the cove by this sign.
Around the bend is the Echo Cove Bible Camp.
It is a beautiful private camp, and with this being winter I had planned on walking along the beach of the camp because it is a very very beautiful place.
But it was not only the sign that stopped me. 
Close to the bend in the cove I  ran into what I think must have been the camp Caretaker who smilingly stopped his truck to let me know that the beach around the bend was camp property and closed to visitors.
The camp was closed for the season , but OK..........
After spending much time standing on the beach and feeling very good, it was time to head back anyway...........
While heading back the way we had come I looked at this beautiful scene, snapped a picture, and realized that we had a good bit of walking still to do...........
The final snowy stretch back to the truck.........
As Jamie and I were driving home we stopped for just a few minutes at an overlook where I took this very wonderful picture.
We were out for almost four hours this afternoon and my dog has been sleeping on the couch ever since we got home.  My tired pup............
The color of springtime is in the flowers, the color of winter is in the imagination......Terri Guillemets