Wednesday, January 04, 2017

Seen(s) along the Pack

I'm thinking there must be a good story behind this. 

For my friend Becky, it was the fresh broccoli cheese soup with garlic bread; for me, the chicken caesar wrap, and for Bill, a steak burrito complete with sour cream and salsa did the trick.

The three of us enjoyed a "Pack Attack" yesterday aka home-cooked goodies from the Pack River General Store.  Bill's experience came later at dinner time after Becky and I had met for lunch at the country store which consistently puts out some of the best eats in the area.

A trip to the store also provides additional heart-warming treats, including unplanned meetings with neighbors and often a healthy dose of banter with Arlene's dedicated staff who combine friendly faces and topnotch service along with their incredible culinary talents which are in constant motion back in that kitchen. 

Becky and I did some catching up while trading some light-hearted "Hon's," "Sugar's," and "Ma'am's" with staff member Laura who's been with the store forever, it seems. 

Before leaving, we also met the Parnells who own the fabulous Clydesdale ranch a couple of miles down Selle Road from the Lovestead.  

Nice, nice people and especially very nice when I learned that they had a 3-year-old "Clyde" out in the truck, of the Border Collie kind, that is.  

During our visit, Michelle Parnell told us that one horse in the Budweiser hitch at Monday's Rose Parade was bred at their ranch.  

I've yet to see the ranch up close and personal and have been hinting to various family members and staff my desires.  Seems like after yesterday's meeting we've got an open invitation, so I'm planning to make do on that offer----with a camera, of course.

Anyway, after saying good bye to the Parnell's and their manager Ben,  Becky and I spent some time outside schmoozing with a very friendly and adorable Clyde before heading on our way. 

Upon my arrival home, Bill had returned from working at the office and was ready to head out for another snow-shoe run at the Trout Creek Fish and Game property which borders Lower Pack River. He had gone there for his first snow shoeing run on New Year's Day. 

The area is a favorite of folks around here who enjoy its wonderful opportunity for hiking, horseback riding, biking and even some hunting.  This winter's dry snow has made the area ideal for packing down trails and for folks not wearing snow shoes to enjoy walking those trails. 

Bill asked if I wanted to join him, so I said yes, with hopes of no bladder attacks out there in yesterday's cold, cold air.  Kiwi came along too, while Liam and Foster stayed inside the warm house. 

It was a great but comparatively short outing, walking across the big field, into the woods and toward the bridge which often scares young horses on summer trail rides.  

On this day, the water of Trout Creek was stunning as it has been progressing daily from raging water to a frozen, icy pathway meandering through bushes and trees.  

While standing on the snow-covered bridge, Bill pointed out frozen surfaces in the creek bed which just the day before had been running water.  

We then moved on through another meadow, eventually reaching areas where we could see Pack River, mostly frozen with some snow cover.  

Our goal was the meadow where the old cabin and a shed have stood through generations but continue to show a slow deterioration from old age.  

The features of the cabin have changed considerably since the first time I rode my mare Lily down that trail from the Ginter WMA property.   

She was just 3, and I was still brave/young enough to go on a trail ride all by myself WITH A FRESH-BROKE horse. 

Well, Lily's going on 12 and pregnant, while I'm facing a major life milestone in a few months.  It's easy to state, for obvious reasons, that I'll not be riding her solo to see the cabin this summer.  

Still, the structure, even with its gradual weathered aging and weakened frame, stands proudly as a favorite icon to all who pass through on foot, horseback or even rowing down the Pack River on a lazy summer afternoon.   

Yesterday, our time spent at the cabin was brief, for it was there that I truly realized just how dangerously frigid it was.  When I took my gloves off to snap some pictures, my fingertips went numb almost immediately. 

Bill asked if I wanted to walk on, to which I said no, explaining just how cold my hands had become.  He had given me a pair of hand warmers, which I put inside my gloves. 

Hand warmers don't quite fit inside the part where the finger tips reside, so I suggested we head back.  Eventually, as we came out of the meadow and back into the woods, my hands warmed up.  

We enjoyed a nice walk back to the truck.  Bill said he'd like to go there again today if the sun is shining like it was on Monday.  And, by golly, as I look out the window, I see cloudless blue sky to the east and a hot pink Schweitzer on the west.  

Could be we'll do a return trip with lots of hand warmers.   The Pack River may be frozen, but there's still a lot of good living and some yum yum eating along its shoreline.  

Happy Wednesday.    

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