A Toothless Lion

Today is March 1st.  Here in our corner of Idaho the sky is blue and the temperature is approaching 50F. Down in the valleys the snow is all gone, save for the smallest of well shaded patches that piled up during the last large storm, which fell a couple months ago back in early January. The roads are muddy, the ground is soft and Crocus and Daffodils are beginning to emerge.  So, you’ll forgive us if we think it’s more like April than March.  My shovel beckons and I may go turn some dirt in the garden, just because I can.

It’s really hard to believe that it’s the start of a month that is supposed to “come in like a lion”. From the first look of things, the Lion appears to be toothless. Of course only time, 31 days to be exact, will tell us how tame and timid this lion really is. We know that our friends who live on the east coast are either in a state of disbelief, disgust or denial and have probably stopped reading this. But early spring is not always bliss.  If El Nino holds true to pattern, we could be in for a wet spring and two or three more months of mud. Ugggg.

Then there’s the still pure white Snowshoe Hare we saw on our walk yesterday, sitting against a brilliant green patch of moss, basking in the afternoon sun, with no where to hide that out of place colored body. Unless that hare knows something that the daffodils don’t, he will soon be an easy target for one of the predators who feast on the bottom of the food chain.

And such a spring plays havoc with our Friends of Scotchman Peaks Winter hike series. Even though the snowpack is far less than normal, the rain that has fallen here in the valleys has brought enough white stuff to the peaks to ensure winter recreation for weeks to come.  But some of the lower elevation walks may be more well suited to boots rather than snowshoes and a spring wildflower book may be more interesting than a thermnos of hot chocolate. It’s hard to say whether our lion will find any reserves of ferociousness or whether she may mellow even more.  The best bet is to check in with your hike leader, unless you’re busy out digging in the garden, planting those early crops. For me, I’ll return to dreaming of spring staying just the way it is!

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Categories: Blog
About The Author:

Phil Hough is the Executive Director of the Friends of Scotchman Peaks Wilderness.

He has hiked the "triple crown": the Appalachian Trail, Continental Divide Trail and the Pacific Crest trail (twice). He has also paddled the length of the Yukon river. Phil's love of wilderness guides him as he works to save the incrediblly wild Scotchman Peaks, one of the last and largest roadless places in northern Idaho and western Montana.

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