After a busy week of work, I escaped the urban hubbub for a quiet afternoon ski in the mountains.
Winter wonderland! Or so I thought. Yes, there was still plenty of snow and clouds clung to the surrounding peaks. But there were small, but vivid, signs that winter had given notice to vacate and spring was preparing to move in.
The first telltale sign was the temperature. The air was chilly, but not cold. It didn’t take me long to remove my jacket and ski with only my long-sleeved wool top. I stopped yet again to remove my hat.
Snow and ice is the norm in deep winter in the mountains. But on this day, I was aware of water. The snow was soft and slushy at the trailhead. The trees were drippy as snow slowly melted and fell from their limbs. I listened to the soft “thumps” in the woods as nearby trees released snow bombs.
The distant sound of water tumbling over rocks became louder. Soon I was a crossing a creek on a bridge. A few weeks prior, this creek would have been buried under snow. I spied a watery hole in the once frozen solid lake.
I noticed bugs! There was an occasional flying one and I spotted small bugs crawling on the snow’s surface every time I stopped for a break.
It was after five o’clock when I finished my ski and, despite the overhead layer of clouds, there was still ample light in the sky. Yet another sign that the seasons are changing. As I toss my skis into the Outback, I am looking forward to my next mountain outing and wonder what new changes I will observe.
Old Blewett Highway is a great break from the urban streets that I am accustomed to riding around Seattle. It has almost no traffic, beautiful scenery and offers a great nature fix. It’s roads like this that I enjoy bicycling. Continue reading
The Columbia River Gorge explodes with color in the spring when the wildflowers bloom. Hillsides, like this one at Tom McCall Preserve in Oregon, turn golden with balsam root. The best way to experience wildflowers is to hike among them. I wandered high up on the hillside, taking in views of the dramatic landscape. Roll on, Columbia!
Metro Seattle has an amazing network of trails. On a sunny spring day, some of these trails become clogged with people recreating, commuting, and enjoying the outdoors. It makes for great people watching.
But today I didn’t want to watch and dodge other trail users. I wanted to take a quiet bike ride and embrace spring. It was time to ride the trail less traveled, the Snoqualmie Valley Trail.
At 31 miles, the Snoqualmie Valley Trail is the longest trail in King County’s regional trail system. It meanders through scenic Snoqualmie Valley, passing through the towns of Duvall, Carnation, Fall City, Snoqualmie and North Bend, before terminating at Rattlesnake Lake and the start of the John Wayne Pioneer Trail. Continue reading
Night is turning to day earlier now and the birds wake me up. The temperature is mild at 45 degrees, so I drink my coffee on the deck. The air is moist and coats objects with its wetness.
I stroll around the yard and through the garden, marveling at how quickly weeds move in. This is the spot. I crouch and clear some weeds. There it is–a rhubarb leaf. I pull the rest of the weeds around it, giving it room to grow.
Spring is here.