The steepest slopes of our area have few trails, but sometimes it is better just to climb into the hills and explore. It is never easy to go straight up a steep hill with no trail so we go slowly and take note of what we find along the way. This is slow hiking with lots of attention to picking a good route, but with stops to appreciate what find along the journey.
On this loop route, there were stumps, snags, wildflowers, bones, a lost cell phone, a wrecked truck, glacial erratics, and early wildflowers.
Steep hills lead to viewpoints. I picked up a trail near the top and found this bench overlooking the river.
From the hilltops we get fresh views to the high country ridges well above the roads below.
From different viewpoints we get new angles to view the hills above.
Eventually we need to come down, but we keep our eyes open for new discoveries and for new views.
This kind of hiking requires faith in an ability to explore off-trail in a variety of terrain, some of which can be challenging. We stay in the moment, focused on the immediate route and what we find in that spot. The journey comes with the rewards of unexpected discoveries and new views.
There are many more hills to climb:
"The woods are lovely, dark and deep, But I have promises to keep, And miles to go before I sleep, And miles to go before I sleep." (R. Frost)