Saturday, April 2, 2011

Spring Slips Into Hidden Places

As we drove towards Cody after coming back off Chief Joseph Scenic Highway the other day it was still early evening and we were still not yet ready to head back to town.
The drive to explore still not satisfied Jamie needed to walk and I needed to walk, and my Mountain Boy was eager to see what a sign indicating a shooting range and fishing place led to.

I was eager to see what this body of water, in the midst of high desert plains actually looked like as well.
The shooting range turned out to be a large complex of structures that on this day were secured behind a locked gate.
A large sign indicated that it was open and available for use at any time to those who have purchased an annual pass, which we already knew cost only $50.
As we approached the lake we realized two things - that there were actually two bodies of water known collectively as Newton Lake, and that one of them was a very popular fishing spot.
Even this late in the evening there were at least ten men fishing thigh deep in the water.
Watching them for just a few minutes it was obvious that this was a good fishing spot - as we climbed out of the truck we saw two men almost immediately pulling good sized trout out of the water.
Scenes taken from the dirt road leading to the range and the lake...........
I find myself almost compulsively searching for water in this region - a river here, a creek there, a mountain stream, the reservoir, and yes, this small lake.
It was a lovely and quiet place set in the middle of seemingly nowhere.
There was obviously good fishing, and I looked the lake over over wondering if it could be a potential place to kayak.
Maybe........probably not.
But the reservoir is not far and neither is the Shoshone River and neither are other rivers close to Yellowstone.
Enough to make it work...........
We watched the guys fishing for just a few minutes before heading for a trail that ended up covering the entire circumference of the lake............
Only 90 minutes before, we had been at 12,000 feet in the dense clouds, freezing cold and gale force winds.
It was difficult to believe that we were now standing in bright sunshine and warmth.
I like this place.
Different.  But good different............
The second smaller lake was up over the rise..........
After following the easy-to-walk and wide open trail for about 15 minutes we finally climbed up over the rise to take a closer look at the second lake.
Unlike the drive leading to the lake which was barren, sandy and dusty, the area around the lakes was filled with small trees, prairie grasses, sage bushes.
Again different..........and again a good different..........
There are no streams or creeks that feed into these lakes so I have to assume that the bigger of the two lakes is stocked with fish, because nobody was fishing in this second lake.
It was very peaceful and very quiet, and I looked around me at the hills and valleys and it was beautiful..........
When I first looked out over the mountains in the background I thought that I was looking at snow-covered mountains.
I have fallen for that a few times since arriving in Cody.
At certain times of the day and while looking from certain perspectives, the bleached sand and dirt reflecting in the sun looks so white that you think you are looking at snow...........
I did some math the other day trying to remember exactly how old Jamie is.
Trying to remember exactly what year she showed up on my doorstep out in the country in the middle of winter in Tennessee.
I was surprised to realize that she is probably 11 years old.
I have dragged her all over the country recently.
She used to sleep on the couch down in Tennessee, but ever since she began her travels to Alaska and all of the places we have dragged her since, she has taken to sleeping with us on the bed.
Sometimes in the middle of the night we inadvertently kick her out of bed when one of us rolls over.
When that happens she wakes us up when we hear the thud of 45 pound mutt hitting the floor.
  But most of the time the three of us co-exist well with each other - namely she has half the bed and we have half the bed.
She is so incredibly sweet, has so much personality, is so loving, sheds like crazy making it impossible to wear dark colors, and I don't know what I would do without her.
Even in Wyoming she still likes to take the lead and play Point Dog...........
All kinds of interesting colors at the end of the day in early Spring........
Even though there were a good number of guys fishing on the lake I was impressed with how quiet the place remained.
There were one or two who fished together, but mostly it was individuals just quietly doing their own thing.
By this time we had walked one half of the lake and were circling back on the opposite side, heading back towards the truck.
In all the walk was about 1 1/2 miles..........
I have no idea what this structure is all about...........
What I have learned over the past month since we left Juneau is that starting life all over again, when we had just started life all over again 14 months ago is extremely exhausting.
Exploring, being outside, being in the mountains, being close to nature, seeing and feeling the big sky and the wide open spaces is healing for both of us.............

Spring slips into even the most hidden places of the countryside
     and transforms them into mossy-green mansions of delight....... 

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