so this morning i set out for a mountain path i've had my eye on for a while. i took my son past it one day and told him, that's the path i've never taken. i think i know where it goes, but i really have no idea. to get there you have to start on what's called the osha trail, near our house, a two or three mile loop that goes down, at the far end, to what i call the meadow. back behind the meadow, on what we've come to call the meadow loop trail, this path shoots up a mountain into the wilderness. that's why i've had my eye on it. it's the path i hadn't taken.
the osha trail was surprisingly snowy, even slippery - that's because the snow is gone most places, but where there are lots of trees, and the sun takes longer to reach, those are the places where there is snow. i walked down a mountainside to the meadow, and had to be careful. a whole group of hikers were coming up; they are fairly common on the osha trail itself. also at the meadow, another group of hikers at a bench. but behind the meadow, on the meadow loop trail, i found my mountain path and took it, up the mountainside. First place i saw was a kind of glade, a high mountain clearing that looked back down the trail, but was fairly open. then i went over the top of the mountain itself, and down a ways on the other side. i came to another clearing, this one with piles of fallen logs, but clear regeneration - trees were coming back. from this one, a road came out to the east - north east. it wasn't like anyone had been on the road - no one had been anywhere near this trail, the best i could figure - but my guess was that the road went back to the paved road, near the campground, and the slash pit, where they give away wood. it was possible, conceivably, to carry this wood out of there. in better weather, of course.
the place was quite empty, no tracks in the snow, except maybe one elk. no sign of any life anywhere, deer, elk, bear, or anything. the morning sun was coming up, and by the time i got back to the meadow, it had that morning light, clear blue sky, and the people were gone. but the path back home was still snowy; the sun hadn't made it into the forest yet. it was a long walk, beautiful, and invigorating, and now my day is shot. i sit by the computer, doing online boggle or maybe facebook, and not much else. 'course, it's vacation.
feeling sentimental upon my return from illinois, i found an old supply of pop, made by the computer at work, mostly, and uploaded it, thinking i would apologize to all my carbondale friends on facebook who i was unable to see. the good part of it is, i had an excuse, a 16-hour ice-storm marathon which literally robbed me of the time to hang out. the bad thing is, chances are, i'm not too good at looking them up anyway, and the ten extra hours, i'd have probably spent it in longbranch with endless cups of coffee. i was glad to be back. on the other hand, i was glad to turn around and start heading west - southwest, back to my new home in the mountains. sentimental, yes. but really wanting to be back there, live there, soak in the gently decaying, shrinking nature of the place, not really.