I started early this morning because it’s long way to Larison Rock. You may remember my heading there on February 20 and turning back about halfway because the snow became deep. I called it a Ginkgo Walk and suggested that my pictures taken along the way might serve as canvasses for your haiga. Many of you responded, and I posted your haiga on March 5.
Today, again, on that north-facing slope, above Oakridge, I ascended the trail to a ridge, then south along the ridge, in land dominated by old-growth douglas fir and cedar. The trail climbs from 1,300 feet to 3,700 and I expected snow again near the top. But this time I went prepared.
It was raining when I started on the snowless trail, but I carried snowshoes in my pack for the upper, colder, snowy part. I wore rain gear, and knew that boots and gloves are never completely waterproof. It didn’t matter in the rain, but temperature would surely drop with elevation, and if it dropped much below freezing, then wet feet and hands could become targets for frostbite.
The green lush woods with their fresh-smelling moss and little trickles of rainwater are a nice change from when I walked here on dry ground. Uphill exertion reduced the cold, and I enjoyed the deep green of a rainy forest.
This old douglas fir was burned some hundred years ago in a forest fire. It has recovered and wrapped itself around the wound, making a homey nest for forest creatures and a rhododendron to guard its entrance.
Halfway up, rain gave way to falling snow, and old snow gained a depth of two or more feet as expected. Wind had brought down needles and little branches onto the snow, giving it an old appearance. I put on the snowshoes, and trudged ahead, much slower now.
My feet and hands were wet, as expected, and I knew that they would not stand much decrease in temperature. It was about twenty degrees, much warmer than the twenty below I had withstood in International Falls, but the difference was in having wet gloves and socks.
I didn’t actually make it to Larison Rock. I had half a mile to go, and my toes were going numb. I had an hour’s walk back to lower temperature. It’s not so much cold that freezes toes, it’s wet and cold combined. So I turned back just a half mile short. Anyone who has seen frostbitten toes and felt the precursor numbness, or rather not felt their toes, would be proud of me. Maybe I have returned from all these hikes because making the goal is not my goal. I just go until it feels wrong to keep going.