I had noticed the other day that the number of comments had dropped off recently, and I thought, oh well, at least I know people are still reading, as I can see the stats, and I hear it directly from people. And then yesterday, it seemed like I was getting the internet version of first-footing or New Year house-calls, suddenly an abundance of conversation on the sidelines, a boosted seasonal sense of bonhomie on a quiet and wintry day.
We are still on the receiving end of much rain in these parts, and I am starting to get a little envious of those who have been getting to play in the snow - I know, it's not all play, but at least it can be fun for a while, like other people's children. On my computer desktop, I have a running slide-show of my 'Tassajara Trails' folder of photographs, and every now and then one of these pops up, which is probably the last time I really got to play in the snow, just about three years ago.
Often at Tassajara, there would be plenty of snow on the ridge, up at 4,500 feet, but not so much down in the valleys. On this day, which happened to be a personal day, it was falling pretty thickly, so I decided the best thing to do was to run out to the Wind Caves with my camera. No-one else was foolhardy enough to want to accompany me on this trip, except Ginger, the Tassajara dog at that time, and I was grateful for her persistence and enthusiasm. There wasn't a lot of running in the end, as the trail was largely blocked by snow-laden branches; I got to the Wind Caves as much by crawling as anything else, orienting myself mainly through my intimate knowledge of the trail born of many runs. Still it was a spectacular experience, and I always love seeing these pictures.