Friday, January 17, 2014

Hiking to the Bluff

My husband and I went on an extended hike during the Christmas holidays.  The day was not a particularly pretty day for a hike.

In fact, it was kind of a messy, wet, overcast, cloudy, and gloomy kind of day.  The roads were snow/ice covered, although typical for this time of year.

This would not have been the day I would have penned into my calendar as the one to choose to take a 3-hour hike.  Nope!

There was a heavy dense cloud cover and snow flurries in the air... not the most pleasant day to be out hiking.

But ... we didn't start out with the intention to hike... it just kind of .... happened!

When we started out, we had just gone over to our property to check on it.  We love walking around it, and planning what we intend to do when spring comes.  Which trees we are going to take out, which ones can stay, where to put the road, and all those kind of fun things.  As we walked around the place, we decided to venture further into the acreage behind our property. We had not done so before because of hunting season. The land behind our property is tree farm land, which is a very popular place during hunting season. Again, we didn't care to be a target for an over-zealous hunter, so we had not explored it at all.  However, now that hunting season is over, we are free to roam around and explore.  So, without quite intending to... we ended up hiking together for over 3 hours.  We would stop and look around, and so, we weren't hiking the entire 3 hours, but we took our time exploring as we went, which was wonderful! We had no deadline and just took our time.

After getting to our property, the snow flurries subsided, and the whole forest was covered in a kind of quiet, expectant stillness....

Except for the noise Cosmo and Annie made as they excitedly rambled around in the snow!

They could hardly contain themselves with excitement at being out in the forest with us, without being on a leash, free to roam!

The fog had somewhat lifted, and there were drops of white beauty silently waiting for our admiration in every direction.

Annie had things in overdrive, and nothing was escaping her attention!

It was a winter wonderland to behold!

And all kinds of sights and smells for the dogs to report on!

Apparently something had spent some time around this tree... the dogs did a thorough inspection here, although I never did get a clear report from them on just WHAT it was...

Annie's favorite thing to do in the snow is dig her nose down deep in the snow... don't ask me why!  She also loves eating the snow too!

As we left our property, and began to hike on the tree farm land, I snapped a picture of this super-tall tree that stood out high and above all the other trees... just in case we needed a landmark to return back home to!

Another view of our "landmark" tree..

Since we'd never hiked out here before, it was all new to us, and we weren't sure how far we could go before private land would stop us.  However, it seemed that the tree farm land seemed to be a lot larger than we realized.

We walked along this trail that seemed to separate a heavily logged area, from an area of tree farm land that hadn't been logged in many years.

The dogs were enjoying this new adventure with great abandon!

So much to look at and investigate!

Finally the trail we were following led us to this bluff area.  For a while, we weren't sure whether to go down into the draw and follow it around, or stay on top of the bluff.

We decided to stay on top of the bluff, and continued our hike.  As we hiked, we kept hearing this very loud "cawwing" sound, it sounded more like a crow than anything, but yet, it didn't really sound like a crow.  Suddenly my husband stopped and silently pointed.  There was a huge eagle sitting on the limb of this tree just watching us.  I pulled out my camera, and my husband pulled out his phone.  Our motions and movement scared the eagle, and he immediately flew away, and I all I got was a picture of the limb he was sitting on. I was really disappointed that I missed out on this shot!

From the vantage point of the bluff we hiked to, you could see the town below and the Pend O'Reille River in the distance.

The bluff we were on dropped sharply.  We tried to hike down it a bit, but found ourselves sliding, and slipping, and decided to call it off, and stay on top of the bluff.

Another view from the top of the bluff.

You can see how the fog and cloud cover prevented being able to see very far today.  It was still really neat to know that we can hike to this outlook or bluff from our property.  Having a tree farm next to your property really opens up your backyard in an amazing way!

Annie and Cosmo had no problem running up and down the slope...

I preferred to stay where I didn't feel like I was going to slide down the hill!

We continued on our hike, and decided to do some switchbacks going down the other side of the bluff, and there we found a road that had been previously carved out by the loggers many years ago, which we followed.

At one time, someone had a fence out here, and the remnants of the fence were still embedded in these two dead trees.  The rest of the fence was gone, except for this part.

It was a huge playground out here for Annie... jumping over trees - no problem!!!

We walked through some heavy, dense brush for a time, until we got to the bottom of the draw.

I am sure this area in spring has running water in it.  But now, it is just frozen over.

As we hiked through the draw, it was slow going.  The snow was very deep here, and at times up to my knees!

We saw this old relic that someone must have pushed over the bluff many years ago and just left it.  It looked to be the remains of an old Model-T car perhaps.

It had found its final resting place here, for who knows how long!

As we continued our hike back, it seemed that it took much longer to get home, than it did to get out here, or perhaps it was just because our legs were weary!  Even the dogs followed in single file behind us, with their tongues hanging out.  As we slogged along, it seemed every step we took was exhausting, even though we hiked the same trail back, following our footprints.  It took every ounce of strength we had to make it back the way we had come.

Finally though, we got back to the truck, and headed home.  The sun was lowering itself over the horizon, signaling the end of another day.  It was casting a halfhearted glow over the river and trees.

But even with its halfhearted effort... there was a still quiet beauty about it all that my camera attempted to capture.

I know you've seen this view many times... but strangely enough, it seems different every time I see it, and there is always something about the clouds, the water, the trees that always changes the mood and the setting each time... and for that reason, seeing this view is always new to me!

Quite a dreary, overcast day, that was brightened, at least in my mind, by the beauty and stillness of the the water, and the sky.

Even on a day where the weather is just not cooperating... still there is a stark, still beauty about this view that just grabs your heart and doesn't let go.

Whatever God has created, its beauty never fades, and there are always endless possibilities in it.

Look for the beauty that our Creator placed in our world for us to enjoy today... even if its the same view you've seen a thousand times... it can be new, fresh, and exquisitely beautiful each time.  May you see something in a new way today, even if you've seen it a hundred times before, but our creative Creator delights to see our delight of His creation... but we must first be expectant, ready, and desiring to see!

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