A Grand Day Out

Today was the day to check the south end of Kachess Ridge Trail #1315. It’s usually one that opens early, at least up to the hanging valley where the snow stays till later in the summer. Jon and I headed out with a variety of tools. We took a gamble and left the chainsaw behind. It’s steep trail and neither of us wanted to pack it up the hill. I had a 5′ crosscut saw just in case. We got lucky and only had a couple small logs to cut before Jon found a 20″er up by the snowline.

Oh, what a day. Blue sky and sunshine and a consistent upslope wind. When it ruffles one’s clothing, it’s blowing at least 10 mph (according to the informal Davis scale). It was a little brisker in the tree tops, filling the air with the sound of air moving through Doug-fir branches.

I stopped to cut a limb out of the way and spotted this bug on a spiraea leaf. A lifetime spent in the woods, and there are still new things to discover! I’ve never seen anything like this before. After my long illness, I am still enthralled by the woods, and am delighted by all the little things. Time enough to be jaded and tired in August. For now it’s wondrous to hear the sound of snowmelt rushing down the canyon and the bright song of an unseen warbler, to scan the rocky slopes for mountain goats, to watch a wasp bury itself headfirst in a huckleberry blossom, sit on the ground to eat lunch, kick rocks and flick sticks off the trail, feel the heart and lungs working easily to carry me up the trail. (We can talk about the illegal ATV rider cutting out an illegal trail another time…)

Calypso orchids are always greeted with quiet joy–a highlight of spring for me. They never last long enough. That such a remarkable plant can pop out of the ground after a summer of drought and a winter of snow still amazes me. I didn’t stop to smell these, but a few years ago I learned that they have a delicate fragrance.

Yep, it’s the little things that make life feel so sweet. What little things are you finding?