Spock the Vegan
Yaktrax For Hiking In Snow And Ice - Poem by Spock the Vegan
Up in the morning when it's cool -
We want to get to that big pool
called Pinewood Lake for our next hike.
We pack our backpacks, hiking poles and
shoes in the vehicle, and off we go.
The familiar winding mountain road
has not yet become routine. The drive
gives us time for insouciant thoughts.
We stop at the boat launch area near
the outlet and put on our hiking shoes.
Two of us have Yaktrax attachments to our shoes
for added traction on the packed snow and ice
that is expected on the trail.
One of us has a type that is more expensive,
but he has misplaced them. The question
of senility crosses our minds, but briefly.
A fourth person in our group is loafing in
Arizona for the winter. We miss his jovial
personality and companionship.
The outlet is pinpointed by a circle
of swirling water in an ice-free area near
where we parked. An eerie sound accompanies
its swirling agitation. Low moans reverberate
off the far sides of the lake, making the source
of the sounds uncertain. Echoes of resonant
notes played on a natural ice harp bring
images of angry dragons beneath the surface.
Occasional cracking sounds add to the mystique.
We decide on counter-clockwise for our loop
around the lake. That takes us past the new
campground up in the whispering pines above.
New wooden steps every few feet lead up to
each camp site, handcrafted by caring park
rangers, some of which we have met.
We pause to examine the concrete spillway
at the start of the earthen dam, and awe
at its size. Why does the ruler come all
the way up to 40 feet? , we wonder.
All snow and ice has melted from the dam,
but we encounter them before the inlet.
The trail makes a sharp bend around
the inlet pipe that we have photographed
before. This time it is underwater.
Turbulent swirls and eddies give evidence
of fast water flow. Is the lake level rising?
One with a camera and mini tripod
takes our pictures there. The one without
his shoe spikes is relieved he didn't fall in
the raging turbulent froth. We continue
around the lake, meandering through long-
needled pine trees, on a trail that is sometimes
snow packed, and sometimes muddy.
At the mid point we stop for hot chocolate.
It's a nice tradition for cold weather hikes.
The sides of the trail have an abundance
of bushes and plants long since turned brown
from the bitter winter cold. One lonely
red-branched bush is uncovered. It has no leaves,
but is adorned by three red berries. What an
The trail leads us to the cliffs overlooking
the icy lake. One throws a rock to see if he
can break the ice. Not so, the rock splatters
Into a hundred pieces. As we gaze through
the long-needled pines to the openness
of the lake, all depression, anger, and hostility
drifts off into space.
We come to an area that is often marshy,
but a board walk has been made to keep
our feet dry. Then an uphill stretch that we
remember when we came with our bikes.
It was a challenge to see who could make
It up the farthest. Then on to home stretch.
Back at the vehicle one brings out four
chocolate-chip cookies. We each have one.
The last is put back in remembrance
of our missing companion.
Down the mountain road, then we stop
for lunch at a restaurant inside a company.
After the receptionist is a rock supporting
wall with a mounted moose head.
On the other side of the wall is the rear
of the moose with the back legs.
We enjoy our meal, then notice
as we leave, the hallway by the rear
of the stuffed moose has a sign that
reads "Moose Butte Avenue."
The end of a perfect morning.
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