Feb. 1, 2004

The plan a week ago Sunday was to take Sophie for a hike on the OHT, but when I woke up that morning and saw that fog was just kissing the hilltops of Fayetteville, I thought that there ought to be a pretty good chance that up in the Boston Mountains the fog would be blanketing the highlands. So Sophie's hike had to be postponed while Junie and I went off in search of fog pictures. After motoring down there and shooting here and there for awhile, we found ourselves at White Rock Mountain about mid-afternoon, and that turned out to be an interesting time to be there, as the fog broke up once, then reformed and socked in everything again, and then broke up again. The pictures above and below are a couple taken there that afternoon.

This week brought a couple more sharply cold nights, including Friday night. So Saturday Junie and I went in search of more ice formations, and our search was not in vain. If you can hold still for yet more ice shots, I'll be posting one or two of those next week.

As I sat on a boulder by Salt Fork on Sunday afternoon munching on a little chocolate and relaxing to the murmuring of the creek and enjoying the view, which included a beautiful blue cloud cover inlaid with silvery creases, Sophie was perched on a boulder in the middle of the creek doing a hesitant dance as she worked up to jumping into the water where it was running fast and deep, or at least deep enough that she had to swim when she did take the plunge. When she came back across a few minutes later, she discovered and used a ford just upstream that was at most a few inches deep all the way across. I'll be interested to see if the lesson takes hold and whether in the future she'll look for places like that to make her way across streams.

We had just hiked down the OHT from Potato Knob Mountain and were spending a few minutes at our destination before hiking back out. When we were there a couple of weeks ago after hiking down from the opposite direction, from White Rock Mountain, it was a cold, foggy, and drizzly day, and the stream was rain-swollen and fast and dangerous, and if our plan hadn't already been to stop there and turn back, we would have changed plans in a hurry. The hike down that day was largely uneventful, and most of it had been in a thick fog that cut down visibility to about fifty yards, which made the hike sort of like walking in a domed treadmill, with the same trees and boulders popping up at more or less regular intervals, until we emerged below the fog as we got lower on the hillside. On the hike back out Sophie had what I believe was her first encounter with a white-tailed deer, which of course didn't last long since the deer quickly outpaced her.

So by putting bookends around Salt Fork we have completed another leg in our dayhike of the OHT, and we also put bookends around Sophie's sixth birthday, which I estimate to be somewhere in late January. There was a time when Sophie's life expectancy had receded to almost nothing, back when I found her on a country road homeless and starved and about 10 weeks old, and when I see my little 30-pound dynamo now I still think of that miserable little three-pound bag of suffering bones and all too little flesh, and I think that, no, I haven't done everything wrong, and, yes, at least I did that right.