journal . stories . life

2 ~ February 2024

The dogs and I spent the day hiking off trail, bushwacking up across pine covered ridges, slopes, drainages, and deep snow. The day was warm so I wore my hiking boots with spikes, but carried my warmer winter Baffin boots in my backpack. By noon my feet were chilled from trekking through the snow, and when resting at an exposed snow free spot, I shedded my cold boots to warm my feet in the midday sun. I then switched to the insulated winter boots. They felt so good and warm I sort of congratulated myself that I had the foresight to bring them along, just in case.

I wanted to check out a rock outcropping for good campsites. It was a spot I have been eyeing from some time on the ground and on Google Earth, but had never made it there. This time I had the exact coordinates loaded into my gps, so it was pretty much a matter of following an arrow on the device to get there.

The last approach was very steep, and my 55 inch pole was a necessity to keep myself stable climbing through the snow and rocks. I did find a good level campsite behind the outcropping, but the whole area around it on all sides was steep and dangerous. I was glad I scouted it out with just a daypack, rather than climbing up there with an overnight backpack filled with a tent and a sleeping bag. There are many better spots close by, and I will skip this one for an overnight trip.

I so enjoyed the silence and beauty of the tall very healthy looking Ponderosa Pine. Beau and Hayley stayed close to me, but Jess was in front and all around checking out the scents and the secluded wild places. I saw her stick her nose in deer tracks in the snow, registering the scent.

The only trouble I had was some stiff and painful leg muscles in the first hour, which I figured was a combination of my age (72), and dancing hard last night at the Rose until after 10pm. Stopping and sitting on a stump or a log now and again eventually cleared the leg pain, and I ended up hiking the whole day, until sunset.

Wednesday at the Rose is just about my favorite night, since there are a lot of ladies that show up to dance, but the floor is not crowded like on Saturday Night. Some dances on Saturday fade in my memory pretty quick, because of all the effort it takes to weave through the crowd and find an open spot to do some swing on the dance floor. (I am pretty distracted because of that)

That doesn’t happen on Wednesday, when I can immerse myself in the experience of the beat and rhythm and the movements of my partner.

The best dances last night were with a tall brunette with a long skirt and blue western boots. She was a skilled dancer and had a lot of western style. I appreciate a woman who knows how to dress like she is going to a cowboy dance.

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More journal notes:

January 29th: On days like today, after midmorning one can already feel the glorious warmth from the sun, a month higher since the winter solstice. I can tell my chickens like it also. They are more active and position themselves in spots around the yard that get the maximum heat. The ground is still frozen, but I start to think of what it will be like turning the soil and spreading aged compost over it, then planting my kale and beet seeds. Just like every spring, it will feel like happiness in motion; the earth starting to tilt towards spring and summer.

January 25th: Now that I am (trying) to get serious about keeping my house clean, I realize how much harder that is when you have dogs.

But after I spend an hour or so cleaning, enough time to convince myself I made a good faith effort, I usually quit and take the dogs out on a walk by the river. Their happiness is contagious and spreads to me walking behind them.

It becomes easy to forget what is left to do at home.

(eventually my goal is to hire a housekeeper every couple of weeks).

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“Wherever you go, go with all your heart"