Took off on a hike today, intending to reach a viewpoint above Lake Ann. Even before the viewpoint, the hike is a feast for the senses. Scents are of hemlock, fir, and trail dust. I find a colorful sub-alpine meadow, broken up with patches of fir trees. As I climb the hill, I hear plaintive cries of a bird that looks (without my glasses) like a swallow, the squeeky-toy call of a pica, and a bird that goes "ni."
This hike has stunning views. The low-growing blueberries have turned red, and false hellebore leaves yellow, splashing their colors across the meadows. Fir trees form dark clusters against the skyline. I reach my viewpoint, have lunch, and decide to hike the full loop.
Up and up goes the trail. Beyond my lunch spot it becomes steeper, and I'm working considerably harder to make progress. I leave behind the fir trees, and come upon rocky corridors with wind whooshing around them, and rugged mountain vistas. With all my photo stops it takes me three hours to reach the high point of the trail. I descend more quickly and return to my car, considerably sorer in the knees. I do a small painting of a meadow at the trailhead. Would you rather see that, or one of my six hundred photos? How about a local resident?