Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Clear Blue Day

Full Blue Over Elmira
Snow on Grouse Creek
Weasel Tracks
Clear blue illuminates the skies over Elmira like high-beams on a dark country road at night. It's as if a light-bulb was changed and this time the wattage is brighter. The absence of clouds--high, low or fog--allows the day to be brilliant. No matter how bright though, the sun is chilly enough to reflect off the thin skin of ice fringing Elmira Pond without melting it.

As if the presence of a full-sun-blue-sky awakens the wanderer within, both Todd and I hanker for a drive. To scan for elk, we tell each other. We get coffeed-up at our favorite drive-thru shack in Sagle and we meander the back-roads like tourists, gawking and sipping joe. We see a legal muley, meaning it's a buck that Todd can shoot and tag, but we drive by instead.

Maybe we follow old summer patterns, but our road trip leads us to the base of Grouse Creek. Should we? We have the red car, not the Blue Goose and we suppose that if the road gets mucky or icy we can always back out and turn around. The dogs recognize where we are driving and back seat whining ensues until we go as far as we can and let them run on crunchy snow.

If it's chilly in the valley, it's downright cold in the shadows of the Cabinet Mountains. We don't make it far, lacking 4WD and higher clearance than the snow burm building up down the middle of the road like an exaggerated white line. The dogs delight in running until Grendel realizes that his paws are frosty. Dog booties would be great, and I'll add that to my growing list of stuff I can probably live without. For now, the dogs romp on bare pads.

Todd snaps a photo of his favorite fishing hole, crusted with snow. All the rocks I like to pick through rest beneath a blanket of white. No fishing, no rock-hunting today. We find tracks in the snow, each as small as a thumb-print and agree that it might be a weasel.

It's good to have a clear blue day.

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