The chit chat that took place during our short drive to the trail head revealed that each of us needed to shift focus away from our "life is happening" lives. We know what it takes to do that, so off we go with gear in tow to escape, explore, enjoy a day in the foothills. The McLean Hills area is a new destination for all of us so it would be a day not only of escaping but discovering too. Hitting the trail shortly before 9:00am, we were greeted with dismal fogginess plus cheerful ribbons. The ribbons would partially guide us today.
As the minutes ticked on and added up to an hour, we realized the fog may hamper us from obtaining wide open, blue sky, mountain range photo shots. It was time to shift focus away from that type of scenery to seeing beauty in what was close up right before our eyes. The frost was heavy in spots which had a prettiness all of its own. I picked out a name for this photo, "Mother & Child" seems fitting.
We were presented with great macro opportunities.
We came upon a few sections of clear cutting which did not offer up any far away views. One of the clear cut trees stayed put but we were not ready to stay put yet, it was still well before dining time and was quite chilly in the open areas.
We reached the summit of McLean Hill. There is a view out there, there has to be, but we didn't need long to admire it, whatever it is. I believe we could potentially glow in the dark with our chosen bright attire. The fog was persistent and it was very cold here, so we packed up quickly and carried along off McLean Hill Trail and aimed towards Stallion Run, but....
....not before I got my summit shot!
We reached the valley below and it was now time to shift focus from hiking to dining. As we were searching for a spot to settle, the fog lifted, the sun came out and the sky turned blue. No matter what the weather, the trail conditions or where we are, I am always thankful for being able to be out & about. While "life is happening" we can still find little reasons to celebrate. I know I do have a good life! I brought my new Christmas toy along today. I slid it to on, turned up "Good Life" by OneRepublic as loud as it would go then Short Stop and I danced in the sunshine while Agent X participated in our celebration by documenting it with the toy's camera function.
It's a good life!
Yes, a good life!
A good, good life!
Celebration complete, check mark! Shift focus time again, this time to eating. We laid out the tarp, sat in the sunshine, and carried on with our chit chat as we dined. Today on my menu was a quinoa apple dish, bow tie pasta mixed with roasted red peppers and asparagus, a boiled egg, all paired with lemon zinger tea. This entree hit the spot.
Now feeling refueled, we began the ascent up Stallion Run.
The open forest was pretty.
We could see there was wide open beyond the trees.
Oh boy, there was wide, wide open!
Banded Peak, Outlaw Peak, Mount Cornwall, Mount Glasgow
Our ascent on Stallion Run was taking us much longer then expected. We had a few issues with route finding in this section which meant numerous stops to re-read the directions and this took up valuable time. The afternoon was getting on, the sun was working its way from high to low, now creating the long late day shadows.
It was time once again for us to shift focus. Shortly along Grizzly, which was to take us back to the start, we aborted the plan to follow it, in favour of trekking a little distance through some bushes to the closed off road for the last few kilometers. We knew we could move faster here and get back while it was still light. At this point, we already had enough. We escaped, we explored, we enjoyed!
Wildlife sightings have become routine!
Yes, it's a good life!