I took the tree down this morning. Sigh. I always feel a little sad when the tree comes down. It confirms that the Christmas season is truly over. Sure, I still have the decor up and candles lit, but the centerpiece of the holiday decor is gone. Once upon a time I would take the tree and all of the decorations down at the same time. But, two things have occurred over the years: a) I’ve realized that doing it all at once is like ripping off a band aid stuck to a scab. The house is too bare all at once, and b) It’s too darn much work doing it all at once.
In the midst of my holiday sorrow I am very happy to report that my amaryllis will likely bloom in time for Valentine’s Day (it’s red, that works). I’ve never had an issue “growing” them before, but the first one this year was an absolute dud (sat in the pot for three weeks). I chucked it and bought another, which I “planted” the week before Christmas. The plant is just now starting to grow. What’s up with that?
And, finally, since I’m off on a bit of a tangent before getting to the real story of the day: I am quite convinced that memory cards for my camera are a bit like socks in a drier. They disappear into thin air, never to be seen again. I bought three new cards this fall…and, as of this morning, am only able to locate one. If I find my missing socks I am willing to bet that those two memory cards will be nestled in the toe.
So, (I’m starting the reason for the entry now) the husband and I have gotten into the habit of hiking on New Year’s Day. We’ve done it the last…three? four? years. It started out just being something to do on a year that we had stayed home for NYE and had no plans for NYD. It has since become a bit of a tradition. On NYE I cook great food, we drink sparkly and non-sparkly wine, I’m in bed by 10, the husband stays up and watches the fireworks at the Space Needle, and that’s that.
Most of our NYD hikes are pretty local (meaning, less than an hour and a half from door to trail head). We’re not looking to kick our own butts, we just want to get out, breath the fresh air and enjoy the new year. Yesterday we were marveling over the fact that we have had incredibly good weather all of the years that we’ve hiked on NYD.
This year’s trail was Big Creek, up just on the edge of Olympic National Park, very near Staircase Rapids. We were aware that temperatures were expected to plunge beginning NYE and continuing through this week, but remained hopeful that it would be clear and cold, not cold and wet.
We awoke to a skiff of snow on the ground and decided to take our time getting out the door so the roads would have an opportunity to thaw. It’s not uncommon to hit snow along the top ridge at Big Creek, but this year it looked like we’d have snow for most if not all of the hike.
We hit the road around 9, stopping for a coffee (for him) and a chai (whoo-hoo, they still had eggnog!!) for me. We arrived at the trail head around 10:30. I had been somewhat concerned as we drove up Hwy 101 as we regularly hit pockets of snow/rain mix, but once we parked (sharing the lot with only three other cars) and got our packs on the clouds were pulling away.
There is nothing like blue sky, clouds and snow. Perfectly beautiful. A stunning day.
Big Creek is a relatively easy 5 mile hike with negligible 1000 foot gain. A nice winter leg stretcher. We were in snow all of the way, and I was eager to try out the microspikes the husband got me for my birthday. I battled valiantly for longer than I should have before taking them off. There just wasn’t enough snow on the trail to make them effective.
About mid-way through the trek we stopped alongside a creek so I could pull out the tripod and the neutral density filter and play with the water a bit. We ate lunch at that same spot, but agreed to save the hot cocoa (special hot cocoa…if you follow me) for when we got back to the truck.
We headed on down the trail, continuing to marvel over the fact that we had it almost to ourselves (though we did start meeting more people as we headed back down), and gaping at the beautiful views. Well, “view” isn’t quite the right word. Big Creek is a nice loop, but there are no real views to speak of. It’s just a nice little trek through the forest.
Arriving back at the truck we gaped at the number of cars crowded into the parking lot and out next to the main road. We though hitting the trail around 10:30 was a bit late. However, there seemed to be quite a few people just enjoying the snow rather than hiking. After enjoying our hot cocoa (it was fantastic) we made our way back down the hill, pausing for a few lake photos.
All-in-all, another extraordinarily successful new year’s hike!