The last day of 2017 was cold and austere in our backyard. The skies were a slate, gray and the ground remained snow-covered. There is beauty still in how the aspen trees stand out against this foreboding winter background and their contrast added to the scene.
Staring upward and feeling the sun on my face while walking through Cheswick Park, Richmond, VA.
I can’t quite put my finger on what it is, but there’s always been something about this picture I’ve wanted to blow up into a huge print and hang on a wall.
It still reminds me that in this quiet moment on a random foot trail, it was that perfect warm feeling you have when the sun seeps into your skin while being neither too direct or hot. I could hear small chirping birds about and the branches were so ever lightly swaying in the breezes shifting above, clicking against one another in time. The light was filtering through the leaves as they danced into this beam of light and then that one, like a kaleidoscope of leaves.
Simply a very fine day.
An Afternoon in the Clouds of Wyoming
Interesting cloudscapes over the plains of Wyoming near a little town called Egbert.
The overcast skies seemed endless and no matter which way I pointed my camera, they were different in every direction. It was such a relaxing and warm day.
Dried yet still fiercely beautiful yucca plants dotted the hills.
The NCAR (National Center for Atmospheric Research) Trailhead off of Mesa Trail.
The Mesa Trail system in the Boulder, CO area didn’t disappoint. Craggy mountain vistas, views of the city of Boulder, birds, spring growth, icicles and stunning evergreen forests abounded.
The really great part about hiking in the Flatirons is that within the first 10-15 minutes of walking, you’re already seeing fantastic mountain views and photo opportunities from the trail.
At this elevation, just go ahead and keep the 45SPF with your trail bag.
A curious little fellow singing to the sun.
The trails began out of the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) property where we parked. It’s an easy drive from just about anywhere to get here and parking was plenty.
I’ve also found that while everyone is usually focused on their feet, it goes a long way to be friendly and thank those who stand to the side for you, offer a comment about spots to tackle with caution you just passed or where there’s an awesome camera shot ahead.
I’m surprised by how much plant life continues to flourish in the mountains under and through the snow as the seasons change.
Admittedly, I was a bit worried that I would struggle with the winter out here and possibly find myself not enjoying it. But I love winter so far here! And for me this includes still getting out on weekends when to enjoy the gorgeous country that is just a few miles down the road.
Sunday morning, I was treated to my first hike in Eldorado Canyon State Park.
It was a perfect day to be outdoors.
It was in the high thirties with a light breeze (brisk!), beautifully sunny and the ground ground was either hard-packed ice, several inches of snow or a slush-mud mix that you sank at least an inch down into with each step.
I was warm and toasty the rest of the day. My base layers are a merino wool mix, yet thinner than a t-shirt and worth every darned cent.
I had also picked up some proper hiking shoes the day before; a pair of waterproof Merrell hikers. Admittedly, I would have been miserable and heading home early if not for those shoes.
The views of the Flatirons from the Canyon State Park trails were stunning. Craggy and sharply defined, these paths made for a perfect starter hike.
We were treated to open vistas, crystalline creeks partially frozen over and thick evergreen trees that lined wandering foot paths.
As we neared the end of the trail, I turned and was treated to the best view of the day.
I can’t wait to head back to try other trails and do the same trail again (only this time on dry dirt vs. the snow and slush). It’s truly God’s country out here.