Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Christmas at the Cabin, Day 11, New Years Day

This was truly meant to be a holiday with little stress, good food and being lazy. Still, we started the day with a dog walk “around”. Since I’ve mentioned this walk several times, I thought I’d give you a more detailed description.

We leave the cabin and follow a worn trail to the north along a gentle ridgeline. Just north of the cabin we pass the “salt lick”—an area where we place salt licks and mineral blocks for wildlife. In the summer we often see moose at the lick. And, it is always fun to look for the tracks of moose, deer, elk and coyote. The snow makes it easy to spot tracks, but there weren’t any today. Further along the trail to the north we come to Serenity Point. This is where the ridgeline ends and I’ve put a bench there where you can sit with your hot coffee in the morning (in the summer) and look down over the valley.

From Serenity Point the trail cuts along the east-facing side of the valley, slowly decending through the aspens into the bottom. At the bottom is Dick the Tree, just a little off the main trail. Bart’s Creek runs through the bottom and we cross the creek to get to the east side of the valley. At the creek crossing is an area we call The Blowdown. When the wind is blowing, this area becomes very volatile with wind whipping in all directions and apparently accelerated by the terrain. There are a log of trees blown down in this area—it is a real tangle—and there are new fallen trees often. I have to cut through fallen trees to keep the trail open, often.

Here, you can find aspen trees so big and old that I cannot wrap my arms around them!

From The Blowdown, a short trip north takes us to the south end of the Beaver Pond. This is a pond that is about 1 acre in size. It used to host a healthy beaver population and still has a hut. And, even though there are always a few fresh aspen branches added to the hut every year, there is no full-time beaver population any more. The pond is slowly silting up and will become a nice meadow in 30 or 40 years. Meantime, there are a few fish in it that are challenging to catch (and I release them back). Today, the pond is mostly frozen over.

After a brief rest at the pond we turn south and begin to follow the valley along the west-facing slope. In the summer we must stay well up on the side of the slope because of the creek running in the bottom where it is wet an soggy. But, in the winter we can walk along the creek’s path in the bottom of the valley and that makes it much easier in the deep snow. After a while we come to Picnic Rock. This is a huge granite rock that has fallen from the rocky cliffs that now line the east side of the valley. It is very flat on top and is a great place for a summer picnic. We used to have our picnics on the rock when we would visit the land for a day before we built the cabin.

The east side of the valley is now lined with huge, beautiful granite cliffs—a great place for marmots, bobcats, and coyotes to den. The lichen on the rocks comes in every color. So, we follow the bottom until the cliffs give way to a steep slope which we must climb gently to get around a tangle of dense forest that we call “the deep dark woods”. It is simply impassible on foot because it is so tangled an dense (although the dogs seem to find a way through.)

Eventually we come out on a road. This is Hidden Meadows Lane which bisects our property. We follow it back across the bottom of the valley toward the west through some very pretty forest. This is a great place to find mushroooms, raspberries and wild strawberries. The road winds a bit to get back to the top of the valley. This area of the road is impassible throughout the winter. The valley wall forms a natural snow fence and snows accumulate on the road. We’ve seen the snows there as much as 25 feet deep. Once we trek up the road to the hilltop, we are at the entrance to our driveway, which we follow back to the cabin.

The distance is about 0.6 miles and makes a good walk for us and the dogs each day.

I am cutting other trails on our land, especially on the southern half of the property, but these are not ready yet.

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Posted under: Cabin News • by Rick on 01/03/2006 at 09:14 AM
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