Spring is (almost) here

Weeks of warmer 40 °F weather and lots of rain have greatly reduced the amount of snow on the ground.  Instead of a blanket of white, we now have a patchwork of brown grass and dirty white snow.  Beautiful on a sunny day – bleak on a rainy one.

Sarah is home from UW on spring break and we finally got a beautiful sunny day so the whole family went out for a walk.  Here’s a We-can-almost-taste-Springtime tour of the grounds.

We started down the driveway.  Doesn’t look too bad here.

But in places we have deep ruts and lots of mud.  This part of the road is ok – though when car wheels get caught in the ruts it feels like you are getting jerked around on Disneyland’s Autotopia. The car goes where the ruts go – period.

The forest service road, however, especially the hill past where the county road ends, is a definite e-ticket ride (think Disneyland’s Indiana Jones).  Between mud, ice, snowpack, ruts, and meltwater rivulets – 4WD and all-terrain tires are a must this time of year.  Turns out driving on snowpack is NOT the worst.  Who knew?

From the driveway, we headed down to the lake.  This is my favorite photo spot.  Something about the light and the framing of the trees.  Happy sigh.  Brian and Sarah are center and somewhat silhouetted.  Can you spot Coca’s tail?

And it is fun seeing the Castle from this vantage point.

The lake itself is still snow (slush?) covered in the center, but starting to melt around the edges.

That didn’t stop Cocoa from frog-hunting along the shore.  She was destined for disappointment – which for dogs lasts about 3 nano-seconds before moving on to the next exciting thing.  And everything is exciting for a dog on a walk through a field by a lake 🙂

There were signs of emerging life everywhere.  Clearly the moose (or possibly elk) had been through recently as evidenced by hoof-prints and droppings.  Did we see them?  No.  They are stealthy buggers.

We did catch this picture of a Tween Moose earlier this year.  Not quite a baby, but definitely not an adult yet, guess it hadn’t quite come in to it’s stealth super-powers. It froze when we stopped the car, thinking that if it didn’t move, we couldn’t see it.  But the minute we started driving again, it disapparated.  Poof!  No more Tween Moose.

There is lots of evidence of gophers (oh goody – not the best for gardening). Not sure if these mounds were made recently or are left-overs from before the snow.  Almost looks like they are writing messages.  Is gopher sanskrit a language?  Do we need the linguists from Arrival (awesome movie!!) to help us communicate with them?

With the summer vegetation flattened around us, this cone shaped haystack-type structure stood out along the shore.  We thought it might be something beaver related.

Nope.  Did you guess…

Ant Hill.  We’ve seen them scattered around the property.  I know “nature in all its glory” and such – but these things creep me out and I give them a wide berth – except when taking pictures.

We had fun throwing snowballs (more like ice balls) at the lake to see where the ice was solid.  3-6 feet from shore – the ice balls ka-thunked through the surface.  Further out, they landed with a resounding thud and the broken pieces slid off in all directions.  Didn’t stop Cocoa from thoroughly enjoying her exploration of the shoreline.  This was the first time we’d been able to get down to the lake itself since Snowmageddon started in December (snow was too deep for a dog to walk there).

We finished our walk by climbing the hill to the Castle.  Much easier to deal with our sand-dune type hill in the winter when it’s hard.  In the summer, it really is like climbing a dune and I feel guilty for using the plants as makeshift steps.  Hard sand much easier to walk on than warm, loose sand.

And the view this morning as the sun was rising…Yep, still loving retirement 🙂

5 thoughts on “Spring is (almost) here”

  1. Well, that’s one more winter than I figured you’d make it up there. Can’t wait to see it. Heading to Mt Hood 2nd week (12th) of June, you there the week after?

  2. Your humor and personal “voice” shines through your words. Love your blogs and the photos too. Keep ’em coming–I’m living vicariously through you!

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