A flock of black-billed magpies patrol the area above the Deschutes Land Trust Indian Ford Meadow Preserve. Searching for food as they glide above the willows that border the creek, they call to each other if something exciting is found.
Tracks are everywhere in the snow-covered meadow. Deer hoof prints lead toward the water in Indian Ford Creek. This spring fed creek usually has some open water, even in very cold weather. A doe tests the strength of the ice with her front hooves and then carefully backs away as the ice cracks. Her yearling backs away too, a lesson learned.
A heavily furred coyote standing in the snow with ears pointed forward listens for the sound of prey, nose twitching with the scent it leaps and finds success in its mission, spraying snow as it pounces and comes up with a tasty morsel of food.
The willows bordering the creek have lost their leaves but are now an amazing deep red-brown color; their stem and branches glow against the white snow. Small birds glean food and find shelter in nearby ponderosa pines.
The view of the Cascade peaks in midwinter provides a photographic paradise across the meadow. Lenticular cloud patterns form in the clear blue skies and evening sunsets fill the sky with breathtaking color.
Walk the path from the entry gate in boots or snowshoes to the signed overlook. Take time to sit quietly and absorb the essence of this memorable scene. Use all your senses to enrich this experience.
~ Norma Funai