With no precip in town and a promisingly mottled sky, I “headed east” (Bellingham vernacular for “towards Mt. Baker“). I packed snowshoes with anticipation of spending a few hours in winter, then coming home to blooming heather and budding barberry.

An hour into the 90 minute drive, the seasons changed nearly instantly, only backwards like Benjamin Button.


I was prepared for this, but not for the fact that snow began to fall at an “inch an hour” rate. The intermittent “branch-alanches” didn’t help either. Where were the plows we usually get stuck behind?!

With our 4 wheel drive vehicle at the Seattle airport patiently awaiting my wife’s return from Colorado, I was behind the wheel of my “landscaper’s special” ’96 Toyota Tacoma rear wheel drive. This truck is so light in the back that any acceleration around a wet curve can cause the wheels to spin. I’ve taken the truck into some snowy/icy conditions in the past, but I’ve always had an ace up my sleeve.

In these situations, I like to stop along the forest road and pick up a couple hundred pounds of basketball-sized stones. Stones that with my expert placement and occasional shaping, eventually end up lining garden beds.

This time, however, the snow-line came on way too fast for rock harvesting and some fish-tailing did ensue. Abandoning my quest for the sweet snowshoe route called Salmon Ridge, I tucked tail and headed back down the mountain.

You see, part of the problem is the way people drive to and from the ski resort. Its like they are still carving up the groomers with the safety of a bank of powder self-arrest in if need be. I’ve seen many cars awaiting tow over the years and I did not wish to compete today. With them, or myself.

So, the pups and I salvaged the day with a wettish walk along a hustling river…


…on a trail full of towering sentinels. And I discovered exactly why exactly they are called Western Red Cedar.


Western Red Cedar root

Found a peaceful meditation spot:



And have to give props to whomever built the cairns in the middle of icy waters!


stout cairns

Its always good to have options!

5 thoughts on “Options

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