Saturday, February 9, 2013

Big Eau Pleine County Park

This is my secret spot. I almost hate to write about it because it's a good place to avoid crowds. It's a bit of a drive to get there and typically secluded ~ especially this time of year. Or so I thought... today we crossed paths with a few other couples out snow-shoeing, saw cross country ski trails, heard snowmobiles and waved at some ice fishermen. All in all, a pretty busy day for this park!

Blazing her own trail

It was 14 degrees when we got there at 10:30am this morning. The weather forecast had predicted temps in the low 30's by mid-afternoon and partly cloudy skies. While we can "predict" the weather, it shouldn't be relied upon. It started snowing when we left the house this morning and continued on through early afternoon. It was the kind of snow where the sun is trying to peek out, but never quite makes it. There was a bit of a wind too. We stuck to the trail on the less-windy side of the reservoir. The snow and frost was stuck to all the tree branches making it look like a winter wonderland. The breeze blew clumps of snow from the branches which then mingled with the other snow flakes as they drifted down to the trail below. It was so quiet.

She can hear the mice scurrying beneath the snow

The snow on the trail hadn't been trampled down by anyone in awhile. It was almost knee-deep on me and up to Charlie's belly. I was the only idiot in the woods with *just* boots on... everyone else had snowshoes or ski's. It was hard. I was tired. At one point I stopped to lean against a tree for a rest, tilted my head back and yelled, "WHAT WAS I THINKING???!!!" 

At this point on the trail, I was about halfway. No point in turning back, might as well keep walking. No one was going to swoop in and whisk me away back to my warm vehicle. Must. Keep. Walking. My legs were cold, I was tired from sludging through the deep snow and I was out of breath. Even Charlie was lagging behind; obviously tired out too.

Finally the trail opened up onto the road, which we took back to the parking lot. It was revitalizing walking on a flat, plowed surface! We trekked the mile back to the Jeep, blasted the heater and munched on a snack of home-made granola bars (Kanine Kitchen dog treats for Charlie!). I couldn't believe this small section of trail had taken us an hour and a half to walk! Normally we would do three times this amount of trail in that time. Deep snow really slows you down.

On the road back to the parking lot
We had a nice nap when we got home. The effort of our hike was worthwhile to be able to snuggle with my sleepy puppy all afternoon. It makes up for missing her all week long when I'm stuck in my office cubicle, wishing we could be out hiking together instead. I love being in the quiet woods with my best friend watching the snow quietly falling.