Another seemingly endless period of snow, then rain, and I finally got a decent day for a walk, so I drove down to the Crags to head out the River Trail again. Thrashing my way over from the road I floundered through zillions of downed branches and almost knee-deep snow but had the "trail", such as it is, all to myself. The river was a few feet higher than the last time I was here and flowing impressively. The lack of sunlight did, however, keep the snowpack reasonably firm to walk on.
Hoping to find somewhere to hike that wasn't covered with snow, I drove up to Sheep Rock. The sky, which was perfectly clear when I got up in the morning, developed an almost solid overcast by the time I started hiking, but it wasn't windy so I had little to complain about.
The sandy trail, which was a slog in the summer time, was now frozen and easy to walk along. A single jackrabbit and a dozen or so quail were the only wildlife I saw, and the farther away from Highway 97 I hiked, the quieter it became.
indian creek nature trail
Another stretch of snowy weather, then a clear morning prompted me to go for a hike. Waiting around the house until the temperature got up to 20°, I drove down to the Crags to check out the Indian Creek Nature Trail, which probably had the least amount of snow cover. Donning snowshoes, I made quick time on the rock-hard snow left under the trees but it thinned out as I got to more open areas. As interesting as it is hiking through a snow-covered forest, I much prefer to be able to see the rocks, leaves, and mushrooms that lie underneath.
Another break in the weather, another 20° morning, and another trip to the Crags — this time to snowshoe along Root Creek. This cross country route is complicated in the Summer by lots of downed trees that must be <large word>circumvented</large word>. I hoped that a few feet of snow cover would allow me to walk over these obstacles, but it created its own set of problems. The heavy snow coated the young trees, forcing them to be bent over, creating even more obstacles to try and pass by going under, over, or around. This limited my "hike" to the lower section of the creek, but I had an enjoyable, if tiring, day in the woods.
Hoping to find an easier snowshoe route, I drove over to the trailhead at Sulphur Creek. The snow was nice and firm and there weren't many downed branches to deal with at all. The down-canyon airflow reminded me immediately how the creek got its name. I visited a few of my favorite spots, including the spot on the creek above. Except for perennially overcast skies, it was an enjoyable hike and I had the woods to myself.