UPDATE: In only a few days, this trail has gone from do-able to downright amazing! It's true. A run up the trail on Friday, May 10 found a pathway almost completely devoid of snow (yeah a little squishy in spots).
With the return of the rain, this outing may be a great choice for those looking to stay off the snow and out of the mud.
Under the canopy of the Southeast rainforest, the torrential downpour was nothing more than a mist. Through the trees, the rain could be seen falling sideways, as it was battered downward by the wind.
His little Bogs boots crunched across the snow-covered, frozen boardwalk. Every few feet my son would pause to stomp an ice ball, peer into a dark hole or swipe his mitten through a tuft of downy snow before plopping it promptly on his tounge.
"Of course your are," I said. "You can be my hiking buddy any day."
The clouds lifted briefly this week to reveal a downy white dusting of snow on the peaks above Lemon Creek.
My husband, absolutely ecstatic about the sighting, called me to share the news. Talk of the fresh snow percolated through town and our paper's photographer, Michael Penn, was even asked to snap a photo of the tell-tale sign of winter's impending arrival.
I fiddled with the touch buttons on the screen of my iPhone, navigating into the depths of my running log.
I had to know.
Perhaps seeing my mileage tally would be a motivator; perhaps I was subconsciously plotting my own defeat.
It has become habit, you see (I blame my days of competitive skiing and running) to log every footfall, every minute and mile spent exercising. I examine the run times, the mile averages, my pace, the terrain and route. Most times, doing so acts as inspiration.
On Friday, I found myself surrounded by volumes of bound Daily Alaska Empire newspapers from 1929. The old editions of the Empire were tattered, at best. Some were held together by fragile strands of aging duct tape, others were only a shadow of their former selves as newsprint fell from the spine and pages snapped like twigs when I tried to turn them.
It’s hard to say how long it had been since someone had flipped through the volume before me — years certainly, possibly decades, maybe even half a century.
My feet sloshed and squished around in my shoes like they were in a washing machine. The lower half of my legs seemed to disappear into the trail as thick, black mud coated every trace of skin beneath.
Somehow, my son had avoided the wretched mud holes. He bounded along, over logs and carefully snuck past wide leaves of devil’s club.
“The prickly parts,” as he called them, were “not nice.”
It was one of those days that felt perpetually bathed in twilight — clouds moved easily on a breeze and hung so low they seemed to surf the tree tops. Rain fell in short bursts. It is June; but summer felt like a world away.
Despite this, our family was out amid it all. The kids were layered up, waterproofed and snuggled down in the double-jogger. One slept, while the other chattered away, like a busy (and slightly ruffled) red squirrel.
I have a confession to make: I have not been fishing.
I’ve been skiing, I’ve been running, hiking and gardening, but no, I have not been fishing.
My trusty fly rod — “Joan” — sits neatly in the rod holder in a corner of our dusty garage. My waders and boots are coated in last year’s mud and bug repellent; the smell of deet puts my mind at the river’s edge.
But in my mind is as close as I’ve gotten this season to the water and, well, that’s just not acceptable.