Monday, April 30, 2012

This time last week

 It was only raining and dreary in town last Monday, but I knew it was snowing somewhere because I saw cars on Rt. 7 covered in snow.  After my morning rounds, I went home, put on my waterproof winter hiking boots for one last time this year, and headed up the mountain.  The mountain did not disappoint.  Snow was swirling as I approached the Glenmark center, and the higher I68 climbed, the more snow there was.  At the Coopers Rock exit I confronted a Very Snowy Roadway.  But I still had the winter sandbags in the back of the truck, so I figured I'd be ok.

I parked in the Day Use lot near the entrance to Coopers Rock state park, because it didn't look like the road into the park had been plowed at all. About 6 inches of snow had accumulated. Only two sets of footprints, one human and one canine, disappeared into the woods along the trail in front of me.

Spring buds covered in snow,  the young trees bent low, and the strange quiet that accompanies a heavy snowfall,  these were the things I noticed along the trail.  Most frighteningly for me, the landscape I was familiar with seemed foreign underneath the fresh blanket. Instead of going for a really long hike I had to turn around and retrace my steps because I started to worry about getting lost in the blizzard.  The twenty minute hike was super fun, and I was plenty warm in my cold weather kit.  To paraphrase an old Norwegian saying, there is no bad weather, only inappropriate clothes.
Back in the parking lot I bushed the snow from the corner of a picnic table to have a cup of coffee.
All the wet snow inspired me to build a snowman  It was hard work, but I was loving it.  I felt like I could have rolled the whole parking lot up into one big ball, if only I had more physical strength.  I managed to get two snowpeople built and one pretty awesome snowball fort.  But there was nobody to have a snowball fight with.
By the time my snow fort was about waist high, I had sweated through my cotton base layers and the snow had penetrated my jacket and dampened my wool sweater.  I was still plenty warm, because WOOL IS MAGIC. But I decided to go home after that so I wouldn't get snowbound in the parking lot.  Which I almost did, because a front wheel drive truck is not so good in the wet, muddy parking lot snow, even with 350 lbs of sand in the back.
The alone time was really good for me, as was the physical exertion.  It was a great way to cap off this winter,  which hadn't really felt much like winter at all until I got to build a snowman!  Now spring can come, all the way.

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