As the snow began to wind down today, I took a hike. There’s no better time to be in the woods than during — and immediately after — a winter storm. The falling (and fallen) snow cushions the forest, and only the bravest critters stir about . . . creating a feeling of solitude and tranquility that you won’t find in the woods at any other time. 

The recent ice storm and yesterday’s rainfall made the hike a bear. Trees are across the trail everywhere, and parts of the John Muir Trail along the Big South Fork River’s west bank were flooded and underwater. 

Cover

The bridge across Fall Branch. Ordinarily one of the prettiest creek bottoms in the BSF, with multiple camping spots near where it empties into the river, Fall Branch Valley was completely underwater today.

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Another view of the bridge across Fall Branch. The only set of footprints is mine.

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One last view of Fall Branch, always picturesque no matter the time of year.

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Out here, even flooding rains create beauty.

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Just a little proof that I was actually out in the snow. (Yeah, it’s a selfie…each your heart out, fellas.)