Winter Roads

Massive backups and multiple crashes on snow-packed highways. Traffic-choked mountain towns and ski areas. I’m not taking about those kinds of winter roads—I’m talking about getting away from them. Out where things are quiet and peaceful, where schedules and cellphones take a back seat to the wonders of nature.

Double the beauty with the reflections in the hood, find a nice place for a picnic, and be patient with others using the road (even if they drive like a bunch of turkeys).

Polly says to take a friend who enjoys winter, too.

Cabins of Winter

Polly decided taxes and book work are boring and that we needed a break. I agreed. She said, “Road trip!” I agreed. She’s a wise dog and knows life is too short not to get out there and enjoy what we love doing the most: taking the camera for a hike and a picnic. Even in the winter. Especially in the winter.

We love the history of old cabins, mines, ghost towns, and other lonely places. Winter is a wonderful time to visit them. It’s when the temperatures drop and the snow closes in that you get a real appreciation for a snug little cabin, with its promise of shelter and warmth. After the hustle and bustle of summer tourists and fall color peepers, when everything is a silent drift of white, those voices from the past can once again be heard drifting from the gaps in the chinking.

Who was here before us? Miners, perhaps. Maybe settlers, homesteaders, and ranchers. Those for whom a cabin meant the difference between life and death when it was 20 degrees below zero, there were several feet of snow on the ground, and the nearest town was miles away.

Be still and listen. The wind rattles the branches and hisses snow over the ground. Frost turns a rusted piece of barbwire into a twist of shining crystals. The memories are still here in the crumbling logs and dirt floors. Each one has a story to tell. Listen, and you just might hear it on the breeze.

A short word to the wise about visiting these places. Never trespass. Know where you are and if you don't, take your shots from a distance. Be respectful. Unlived in doesn't mean abandoned. Don't take anything except pictures, leave nothing but footprints.