Tuesday morning, Aly and I hiked out to the road, the first time any of us has left the homestead in the last 10 days.
We went expecting trouble—we departed half an hour earlier than we normally would to arrive at the desired time, and I carried a bow saw. The most recent storm’s intensity led us to expect blow-downs.
We only found three; two trees had fallen across the trail, one less than 4” diameter, and another over a foot thick. The third one unsettled us: the rotten top third of a tree at the very edge of the trail fell and speared into the earth in a pile of broken limbs. Thank goodness no one had been nearby when that happened!
We arrived at the car to find all the locks frozen. We’d forgotten to bring a lighter, hand warmers, or matches; we weren’t prepared for conditions we should have expected. My joke about our Jeep is that a gentle northerly breeze on a summer’s day will freeze the driver’s side lock. The others are a bit hardier, but not much!
We did what we could. We swept the snow off the windows so the dark interior could begin to absorb heat from the weak sunlight. I circled the car, trying each lock with the key, warming it in my glove and wiping it carefully dry before each attempt. We even backed up on the door handles and rested our butts on them, to thaw them with body heat.
We soon realized that we might need to recross the bay before the tide got too high. We risked being stranded on the roadside!
We opened the car with 15 minutes to spare. To my surprise, the driver’s side thawed first. Aly climbed through to her seat. By the time we arrived in town, she managed to open the door, after further struggle.
We returned to the bay around 4:00 p.m. The forest trail is much darker in the fading daylight, but we’d remembered to take headlamps with us. We worked our way homeward from windfall to windfall, cutting the downed trees and pulling them off the trail. The one that had stabbed into the trail proved to be too much for us—we returned the next day and cut off the standing log, then yanked the remaining piece out of the trail. It had embedded in hard packed trail more than a foot deep.
I take an inordinate pride in avoiding trips to town. I consider it a gauge of our independence. It also saves gas and money, and allows more time on the homestead.
However, as Aly and I broke through the tree line at the trailhead and stepped out onto the bay, to see towering, snow covered peaks, and the clouds above and around them dramatically backlit by the low winter sun, I realized that these outings refresh our appreciation for the beauty of our home and the unique lifestyle we lead. That can’t be a bad thing.