Last Saturday I had a chance to take my own advice and head out to the Land Trust's Whychus Canyon Preserve for a little "winter wandering." My husband and I had a rare free day together and, though the fresh snow beckoned, New Year's crowds did not. We decided instead to head to Whychus Canyon so I could show Andrew the newest Land Trust Preserve and its canyons and creek.
We started our hike by heading out along the main road towards the boulders. A light dusting of snow remained in the shadows while our boots sunk into the sunnier muddy sections. Tracks criss-crossed the road--mice, squirrel, and the occasional deer. The birds seemed quiet, except for a noisy group of juncos as we neared the boulder spine that marks the northern edge of the Preserve.
We climbed up to the boulder overlook noticing the little rivulets the recent rain had carved in the notches. Though afternoon clouds had started to arrive, the view of North and Middle Sisters was just as breathtaking as usual. The view seemed especially beautiful with that thin dusting of snow.
After a somewhat icy scramble down the trail to the canyon floor, I was hit immediately by the smell of sagebrush. The long awaited rain and snow must have made this pervasive little shrub release its fragrance. I love the smell of sagebrush, maybe because it reminds me of warm days in our high desert. But now I have a new winter scent memory to add to the mix.
We tramped through the sagebrush and then along Whychus Creek enjoying the sound of rushing water. The creek too was reveling in the rain--in fact, it seemed like the entire Preserve was taking a deep breath to soak in the moisture after a long dry spell. The hike back up the canyon walls was invigorating and peppered with views of the creek and mountains beyond.
We moseyed back to the car and vowed to take another day to explore the Preserve.