29 December ~2012
After having my daughters over for a nice Christmas, I was in the mood for an adventure. Me and the dogs climbed high into Lost Creek Wilderness on a bitter cold day.
This trip was a good test of my gear. I walked around all day in Baffin Snow boots and never got cold feet. I was forced to put on my snowshoes when going up a steep slope, or slide off the mountain. The metal spikes on the snowshoe bases kept me from slipping even once.
I wore Terramar silk glove liners under my down mittens, which allowed me to take off the mittens to operate the camera, and delayed the hurt of cold fingers.
I put Musher's Wax on the dog's paws, to keep ice from forming between their toes. That mostly worked, but I saw all of them drop once or twice to bite the ice out. I also noticed old Ben and young Hayley getting out of the snow when they could:
Ben loves going on these trips, but I can see he gets tired, and they are harder for him. It is not easy getting old. I hope I have a fraction of the heart he does when the going gets tough for me.
Once we got on top there were no tracks in the snow, and me and the dogs were in the perfect silence of solitary Winter. I have always felt that there is where you find the true sacred in the holy season, in the blessed white and quiet, with no distractions.
I made a fire up on top. We warmed up and rested, and waited for nightfall. The full moon was scheduled to come up just before dark, and I wanted to see that happen from the cliff edges. I was hoping to hike back down over fresh snow by the light of the moon.
That didn't happen though. A cloud came in over the mountain just as it got dark, and there was no sign of the moon rising. It was light enough that I could follow my tracks back to the truck, but never enough that I had a shadow on the snow.
Partway down the dogs saw something across a drainage, and stood their ground in front of me. I couldn't tell what it was.
My love for my dogs and the high country is inseparable, and has kept me from slowing too much as I get older. I always look forward to our next trip, with hope and wonder for what mountain day miracles we might witness. There is always something new.