You ever get that deep yearning feeling within to take off to the hills? To breathe that fresh mountain air and take in the sweet smell of the pines. To perhaps catch a glimpse of an elusive creature among the thickets and brush. I could almost see myself strolling through the trees as I sat at my desk and wrapped up yet another project for school. I could almost feel the wind through my hair and feel the soft flakes of snow rest upon my skin. I knew I needed to get out and go!
Swan Valley is a personal favorite area of mine, perfect for an afternoon drive or a week in the mountains. The Palisades recreation area stretches for more than 25 miles and includes the large Palisade Reservoir. I chose to take my evening walk on the Palisade Creek Trail nestled tightly between several mountains. The trail is passable this time of year, with some necessary caution though. The thick snow pack makes the trail treacherous in spots as the top layer is all ice and little snow now. The constant freeze and thaw of early spring leads to less than ideal hiking conditions, but offers an environment completely unique from the rest of the year. Not quite my favorite scene as half the plants appear dead or laden with the weight of the off-white snow, but in its own way, the trail still offers a deep, raw connection with nature. Combined with the thick, low cloud cover, gentle falling snow, and the appearance of dozens of deer, I was at home.
I have to mention as well that some of the most remarkable sunsets I have seen in my life have been on highway 26 which takes you from Swan valley back towards the Snake River Plain. I don't know what does it for me, perhaps the elevation of the road, as it rises into the hills before dropping into the valley, which offers the perfect viewing vista of the distant western horizon marked by the Lemhi Range stretching across the valley floor. I love the feeling of breaking past the low hills and surfacing on top of the ridge to have the whole western sky appear before my eyes lit to high heaven in nearly every evening color imaginable. My breath leaves my body every time I see it! Even while in Swan Valley the low sun will cast brilliant orange, red, and pink glows across the peaks to the east. Well worth the visit any time of day, I am just a sucker for sunsets!
Here are pictures from this weekend's excursion, enjoy!