Being on a mountain with snow-dusted trees is always a source of deep joy. Most of the times I've been actually happy in the past few years were when I was in the mountains or on a sailboat.
The hike was on a trail that was snowed over. For much of the trail, we were able to follow the footprints of another group that had done the hike that morning.
During the hike, the weather alternated between calm and sunny, driving wind and snow, and heavy snowfall. The forecast said to expect gusts up to 55 mph with regular wind between 30 and 35 mph with the high around 1C. Perfect winter hiking weather!
There was an almost magical quality to the way the light would change between stark contrasts and crystal clarity to a hazy grey pea soup of snow-saturated skies.
The trail went up, it went down, it crossed several small streams. Though we tried to avoid getting the snowshoes in the water so they wouldn't freeze when we got back in the snow, sometimes it was unavoidable.
The forecast called for three to five inches of fresh snow, and it certainly seemed on track for that. On the way back, some of the tracks had already been mostly filled in.
The scenery was breath taking - it was hard to keep from taking pictures every few minutes. Most of them didn't turn out, but I'm pretty happy with those that did.
Even just a few minutes apart, the light and conditions would completely change.
The trail would meander into stands of trees, where we'd get some reprieve from the wind. When the wind died down, there was a beautiful stillness with the orchestra of several streams playing in the background.
When the trail led us out of the trees, the wind often picked up.
In several places, when the wind died down and the sun came out, the contrast between light and shadow was remarkable.
It's often rewarding to look back to see where you came from.
We decided to head up this hill to break for lunch.
Trailblazing up the hill was a lot of work but absolutely worth it.
The view from here was spectacular.
We cut our own switchbacks up.
There aren't a lot of pictures of me on the Internet, but here's two heading up the hill.
We took a five or ten minute break while I tried to take these pictures, which are a sort of variation on a theme.
It was too bright to tell if any of the twenty or so tries I made were successful, but eventually we decided to keep going and hope for the best.
The scenery was something out of a winter wonderland.
Wandering amidst the trees, following the trail back down.
Near the end, we looked up and saw our tracks.
Already can't wait for the next time on the mountain!