Which Way?

Cee Neuner hosts a biweekly “Which Way” photo challenge over on her fantastic photography blog, with the intention of capturing signs and directions: anything that points “this way.” I admit I’ve never considered signposts a subject for photography before, but after looking at Cee’s photographs, I changed my mind.

The mountains near our home are getting their first big snow dump of the winter, which means it’s raining in town. I’d take snow over rain any day, so we headed up to Mt. Baker with our snowshoes to enjoy the quiet before the ski resort opens and Hwy 542 becomes a steady caravan of one-way ski traffic.

The snow up at the resort is 12-15-inches deep, which is plenty deep to be grateful for snowshoes, but not quite deep enough to bury the underbrush. The shrubs along the trail poked at our eyes much of the way, although they’ll be completely buried in snow in just a couple more weeks.

The flags and signs that mark snowshoe trails can be whisper subtle and easy to miss, especially this time of year when you have to train yourself to look UP 15 feet above. The height of the markers seems extreme, except that we know these same flags and signs will be completely buried by midwinter. At that time, skiers and snowshoers have to rely on the tracks in front of them to know the way.

Today we were lucky to break the first trail of the year and enjoy the absolute quiet of falling snow, interrupted only by the occasional whoosh of a branch-a-lanche. “Which way?” Absolutely any way. You can’t go wrong.

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