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This is why birds fly south

Finally made it out into the woods. Oh, what a glorious feeling! I was beginning to give up hope that I would be able to get outside for some winter R&R. Not sure why since I set my own schedule. I sometimes just get in a hamster wheel and spin, spin, spin but go nowhere. I work really hard, I even get out of breathe, but have little to show for it. Sometimes it even feels like the faster I go, the further I get behind.

Saturday though, I jumped right off that contraption and into my snowshoes. Patch, our son who lives in New Hampshire with his fiancé, visited us for the weekend. Stephen, our oldest, and ourselves, met Patch and Brittany at Bruce's parent's place. We had a wonderful short -socially safe - visit with my in-laws at their new home Friday evening, then we spent the rest of the weekend here at the lake. It was nice being all together. In the spirit of keeping germs to oneself, hugs and kisses and no hand-holding during the meal blessings took place. I so miss that physical touch. I have to wonder what mental and spiritual harm we are doing to ourselves while giving our physical well-being priority and if we have the focus backwards.

It would have been nice to scale a summit somewhere in the Maine highlands but we opted for no driving and ventured out in our own back yard. Out the side door we went, across the camp road, up behind the barn (spare garage and storage), and into the woods.

If you read my posts from last winter, I wrote about finally bushwhacking a trail from the end of one trail we hiked for years to a dirt road that we knew was there somewhere. I wanted to show Patch where it was. So off we went. I was not even sure I could make it that far, I am so out of shape. I get winded going up and down the stairs. I was sure I would bore Patch with my slow pace. After all, he has been hiking almost daily in the White Mountains of NH, often taking off at 8pm for a night hike, just because he felt like it.

While there is not a 360 degree summit, or any other grand view, it is a wonderful hike. There are no other hikers. For a short section we may encounter a neighbor on a snowsled, but the trail dead-ends for machines. We have never met a snowmobile but have seen their tracks. I like to go here since it is close to home, easy but not boring, and so quiet.

Another nice aspect about it also is that there will be a small climb, then it levels out, then another climb and levels out. It does that several times for a total of 357 feet total accent. It is a nice simple hike but still gets the heart pumping and lungs expanding. Since it is not an actual trail for most of it, the challenge is in navigating the rough terrain.

It's the simple things on this hike that make it so enjoyable, like this snow covered birds nest.

This must be why most birds fly south in the winter, they don't own a shovel. I bet my in-laws where wishing they were back in Florida and not at their new place here in Maine. They have been home less than two weeks and have cleaned the snow out of their "nest" three times already.

Once I blazed the way through the woods following the previous path I mentally marked out last season we reached the road that is now used for a snowmobile trail.

We traversed the snow covered seasonal road for a couple hundred yards and disappeared back into the forest.

(PAUSE - I have to get back on that hamster wheel)

This time Patch took the lead following an old logging twitch trail at first. Using his knowledge from previous hunts up that way and his handy-dandy Gaia hiking app on his phone - what would we do without technology - he guided us through the trail-less woods back to Mollie's trail - the trail we started on. It made for a nice short 3 mile loop. We even were blessed with a peek-a-boo view overlooking the lake. On a cleared day I am sure Katahdin could be seen, my favorite sight.

We even found a deer bedding area. There were several spots like this one where the creatures slept.

Unlike the snowbirds of the feathered kind and human kind, deer cannot escape the long winter months, they must do what it takes to survive. For those of us who do not have the luxury of escaping the cold, and or just choose to stay in the north during these brutal times, we too must survive. But instead of just surviving, let's thrive instead.

February may be the shortest month of the year but after a cold, dark, and long January, February seems to go on and on. I challenge you these next 19 days to make the best of what this month has to offer. If you are cooped up and can't get out, find an indoor activity you enjoy like reading, crafts, baking - just don't eat it all yourself. February is "I Love to Read" month. Pick up a good book - I recommend Happy Hiking, then curl up with a blanket, hot tea and read the month away. Or if you can get out; tackle a mountain or two, blaze a new trail, or stroll around your neighborhood dressed in your warmest woolies.

Whatever you choose to do, just enjoy it even if you have to fake it until you make it. Life is too short to be miserable. And if none of the above are your cup of tea, you can always fluff those wings and fly someplace else.

Happy Hiking,



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