My childhood winters: Six foot snow banks. Warm winter day: Anything above 32 °F. Cold winter day: 0 °F and below.
The sun was down by 4:30 PM at the solstice. The light just before dusk lit up our living room windows with what I called “electric blue,” a reverberating, zingy neon blue that only appeared during the depths of winter.
Though my life path led away from cold and snow, my heart still aches for deep winter.
“I miss the snow,” I tell friends. “I loved five mile walks with my beagle even when it was 10 degrees below zero.”
Now I live in a temperate place. Throw darts at a “guess the weather” dartboard and 90% of the time you’ll hit “58 °F and foggy.”
As autumn progresses, my heart is tugged toward winter hikes. I long to be on a mountain or seaside trail when the sun is about to set.
I thought it was the snow and cold that I missed.
I realize now that what pulls on my heartstrings most is the magical late afternoon light. East coast or west, snow or no snow, there is something transformative about dusk in December.
You don’t have to travel far to sense the special light of winter. Stand by a window at dusk, and the mystical glow of the season will come to you.
This week’s Hike Notes take us to Tennessee Valley Fox Trail, a lesser traveled extension above the popular Tennessee Valley trail. A recent visit just before the winter solstice bathed the view in hazy golden light, the residual glow guiding us back to the trailhead after sunset.
Please feel free to share. If you’re not able to take one of these Northern California hikes, hopefully you can enjoy the photos!
The list of hikes is getting long! Please check the Quick View Hike List or scroll down the main Hikes page to see the current list of hike notes.
New this week:
Hike Notes 42: Tennessee Valley Fox Trail