Mush a Mile

Mush a Mile

Sunday, April 7, 2019 — Red Rock Lake

Sometime this afternoon, I remembered it was Sunday, as I looked out the kitchen window to find a gaggle of guests in the neighbors’ back forty, all guzzling swill and boiling up shrimp. Time to get the heck out of Dodge, I thought to myself, lest I sit there glaring out the window all afternoon, muttering curses like some old curmudgeon who doesn’t appreciate southern hospitality (however well that shoe might fit).

Didn’t have a whole lot of time, with plans for dinner out on the high plains somewhere that evening. In my hurried preparations, I almost forgot sunscreen (it’s been a while since I wandered uphill to the sun and snow).

A balmy 70ºF in town, the car’s thermometer said 45ºF when I parked at the trailhead. Wind moving the trees, people bundled up, me in shorts braving the elements to put on sweats, jacket, hat, gloves. Snow drifting eight feet deep across the road; my trekking poles, with no baskets to speak of, went right in. Note to self: next time, bring ski poles. Snow was soupy, slippery, and although reasonably firm in the middle of the path, exhausting to walk on.

I set a goal to reach Red Rock Lake.

Red Rock Lake panorama

The lake had receded at least twenty feet from the usual shoreline, with untrustworthy ice in the middle, covered in snow. Plumes of snow billowed into the distant sky, carried aloft by high winds over the peaks. I took a few shots, then remembered to focus; took a few more, and trudged back down to the car.

Only a mile up and back, but pretty tiring. I didn’t notice any particular altitude sickness, so that’s something.

Dinner that night, out on the plains at mom’s, was good, as was the short open-space walk afterwards in a symphony of songbirds: robins, meadowlarks, blackbirds, and a happy coyote or two, all singing songs about the sunset.