Saturday, March 5, 2011

Stopping by snowy woods

I explored the Carbon River when I first arrived in the summer but was curious to see what it would look like covered in snow. The trail is actually a road that was closed years back after floods washed it out. Now, it makes for a mostly flat, easy 11-mile roundtrip hike along the river and ending at a campground. With an achy body and not much energy, I decided to let distance overthrow my need for a challenge, at least for the day.

Snowshoes weren’t necessary for the first 1.5 miles so I left them attached to my pack and kept myself occupied by trying to match my boot prints to the ranger’s who had started out before me. It was a brisk, cold, clear day and rays of sunshine streamed through the tree branches. Gigantic trees blocked the road and I found myself crawling over and under them, occasionally slipping on the damp bark and bending myself into limbo-worthy positions as I tried to get myself and my pack beneath the felled trees without dipping into the pools of melting snow below.

There was less than two feet of snow but it added vivid color against the robin’s egg blue of the sky and muddy brown of the river rushing alongside me. A mini alder forest brought to mind Robert Frost’s poem “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening.”

When I was almost five miles in, thunder boomed above me and the heavens opened. A heavy fog rolled in, obscuring my views, and rain soaked me for the next 10 minutes. Then just as quickly as it came, the storm left and was replaced by blue skies.

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