I sense my time outside on this amazing day is passing too swiftly so I stop and stand in the stillness to reset. A fallen tree nearby lies nearly perpendicular; I clear a butt-width of snow, lay out a bandana, take a seat, and fire up a medium strength Nicaraguan.
I’m halfway down a broad, snowy ravine on England Mountain. The mid-morning rays of a low hanging winter sun crown only the rims. The rays won’t reach the deepest depths of this ravine until late spring. It’s a fine place to rest… and to stall the swiftly passing time.
Snow has dampened all sounds, but enough emanate to create a soothing cacophony.
Breezes passing through what’s left of the deciduous canopy.
The creaking of a weakened tree as it fights for its life.
The calls of brown & black flittering Robins.
And the hammering of pair of ample-breasted woodpeckers.
Earlier, I had doubts I’d make it this far. Four inches of top-crusted snow slowed my pace hiding the trail and its ankle twisting challenges that lay beneath. I had to connect the dots – going from marker to marker as I trail blazed through the unbroken snow. At times I hesitated to continue on, but the closer I got to halfway around, the more moot the decision became.
Moot too was my reaction to spotting bear tracks. Last month, discovering them caused a retreat. Today though, I crossed them twice and didn’t flinch. This place continues to grow in comfort, bear-n-all.
Though I’ve walked this loop now many times, I’m still surprised by its surprises. Coming here on a regular basis I thought would ruin her. I’m not much of a repeater; I prefer the magic of first impressions to become my only impressions of places – like Pingvellir, Burke’s Garden, and White Point. Returning to those places, I feel, would only dull their lusters. But routine returns to this loop have only been adding to the shine. Today’s trail blazing experience has made for yet another unique outing. The luster here comes from a building up of many layers.