Gopher Gulch: Some musings as the winter’s sunshine fades

By Inez Castor January 18, 2012 09:54 pm

I may hate being cold, but there’s much to be said for the weather we had last week. Words like glorious and gorgeous! Having a sunburn in January is a bit surreal, but I have no intention of blocking all that Vitamin D. I’ve spent so much of my life on a foggy coast or working in the woods in deep shade that I hunger for all the sunshine I can get.  

I’ve been walking nearly every day, which would be a lot warmer if I didn’t have to start out first thing in the morning. If I don’t start before the sun comes up, it simply ain’t gonna happen. I’ll get busy, something else will grab my attention, then the day is over and I’m too pooped to pop.

So I shiver my way down the trail when the ice is as thick as the puddle and the grass is crunchy. But every turn brings new views of magic with air so clear it sparkles. Tassels on the silk tassel bushes are lengthening out, Oregon grape leaves are scarlet and meadowlarks fan out in front of me.

The idiots are cutting live wires along Old Mill Road again, destroying the fragile ecosystem of barely stabilized dunes with deep ruts, leaving what appear to be live wires dangling in the trees. I don’t recommend grabbing any wires you find hanging in the brush.

The new camera is quite the nicest toy I’ve ever had, and I’m using it as a sort of log book of hikes. As the shutter snaps it records the date and time, so if I ever need an alibi, I’ve got one. I’ll be recognizable by the shadow in the bottom of the frame, a perfect silhouette of what appears to be a fat baby in a snowsuit. Because I hike alone friends sometimes worry about me. Sally laughingly said she could just imagine someone finding pieces of me scattered around, camera nearby.

“Ah yes, there’s the bear coming toward her. My, that paw is huge! Well, at least we know what happened.” In truth, though I’ve encountered a lot of bears over the years, none has ever threatened me. Even the cougar seemed willing to live and let live. The only thing that scares me is the wingnuts that value life so cheaply they cut live wires, but they’re nocturnal and I am not.

And now there’s a second new toy, a refurbished computer. Like cars, I’d just as soon let somebody else put the first few thousand miles on it. That way I can get a lot more bang for my buck. The last computer was so old it didn’t have any print on the “E” when I got it five years ago. If I’d stuck to writing and email it might have lasted a bit longer, but the sudden flood of photos was too much for the poor old dear. May she rest in peace.

Reach Inez Castor, a longtime Triplicate columnist, at This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it