A few weeks ago we were supposed to be relaxing in our cabin with sounds of a crackling fire and the gurgling stream to lull us to sleep. That plan got nixed when upon arrival we found that we had no power. Not really up for ruffing it that particular weekend we decided to not stay. These turn of events were particularly disappointing, I was looking forward to the snow. At least 2-3 feet or more had fallen just a few days before in the Laurel Highlands and I wanted to capture snowy scenes in the forest. There is no better place I can think of close-ish to home than the Laurel Highlands to do this.
Determined to capture snowy scenes this year, it was exciting to see snow falling again a few days ago. It was that heavy snow that produced large flakes that stuck to anything it touched. It was the snowman making snow! The weather has to be watched as it can change in an instant on the ridges. It’s certainly much different weather than where home-base is, so I have to make sure to be prepared.
It was lovely driving into the forest boundary to see the roads covered and 2-3 feet on the ground. I found the trailhead I was looking for, it was empty to my delight. As soon as I hit the trail, the deep silence struck me. The trail was covered with fluffy snow and the last foot steps were covered over. The mountain laurel was bogged down with snow, almost touching the ground. The tree branches covered in a few inches bending under the weight of the snow.
It was exactly what I needed to try to clear my head, decompress, de-stress and try to make sense of the events of the last few weeks. I’d often stopped along the trail taking time to look around, take in the intense silence, clear my head of all the thoughts that often swirled around. I was comforted by the silence and by the absence of other people and their noise for a time being out in nature.
The trail to a beautiful overlook wasn’t very long, about a mile, if that, fairly flat with offshoot trails that lead to the wildly popular LHHT. It was here, after I’d been out there for roughly an hour or so, that the silence was broken. I heard voices and I wasn’t sure how many people were hiking down the same trail that I just came from. I couldn’t help to find myself disturbed with the noise. My concentration broken, golden silence stopped. I had the overlook to myself for another 10-15 minutes when I saw a group of 7 people or so come down the trail. Really wanting to avoid them as much as possible I set out on one of the side trails. It was no use, they came the same way. Seven noisy people, some in tennis shoes, slipping down the trail and some in shorts in 20 degree weather making a spectacle of themselves.
The trails are for everyone and I do encourage people to get out to the woods, but mother nature needs respected. Wear proper foot wear and proper clothing so that you do not put yourself in danger. Especially in places when cell service is not available and in the winter even less people travel.