I’ve been squandering my time off work this holiday season. My family might not see it that way since I’ve spent most of that time at home with them, but I’d really rather have spent more of it outdoors. With all the snow we’ve received over the last couple of weeks, and with my two 4WD vehicles out of commission (the truck has a transmission leak and the Jeep has some as-yet undiagnosed noise/vibration), I’ve been quite limited as to where I can drive. Yesterday, however, Traci and I were determined to get outside with the kids. The boys were reluctant to leave their computer/TV screens behind and venture out into the cold, but in the end they admitted to having a great time. I chose the Joe’s Valley area for us to drive the car to, hoping that the roads would be plowed and passable in 2WD. Before reaching the reservoir we stopped at a short side-canyon off of Straight Canyon and hiked up to a trickle of a waterfall that was mostly frozen. It was sunny and warm enough that icicles were calving off the cliffs and crashing down with great force, so we couldn’t get as close as I wanted. The icicles were beautiful and the water running below the ice under our feet made for a fun experience for the kids.
We drove on toward Joe’s Valley Reservoir and found the road to be plowed, though a little snow-packed. I pulled in to the boat ramp and we walked down to the edge of the ice. I was a little jealous to see an unoccupied Subaru in the parking lot and fresh footprints in the snow leading up the CCC Trail–that would make a great winter hike, but it’s not something my family could do with me. The kids played on the ice for a while after I tested the thickness by throwing a large rock out onto the surface. Torrey didn’t like the slick surface but the kids enjoyed running and sliding on it.
We drove around a little more trying to find a spot to stop for lunch. The road to the pavilion on the west side of the reservoir hadn’t been plowed and it was a little far to walk to through the snow, so we continued toward Reeder. There were some deer grazing alongside the road and we stopped to watch them for about 15 minutes. They seemed relatively tame–most watched us warily but a few kept wandering toward the car while pawing (hoofing?) at the snow to reach the dried grasses below. A little farther down the road we parked at the bridge over Lowry Water and enjoyed a lunch of cup-o-noodles. We hiked along the creek for a short while, then returned to the car for some hot chocolate before ending our short outing and heading for home.