Winter. Winter! Winter!! Winter!! Aaahhhhhhh! Wait, wait, don’t fight it any longer. Be strong, get out there and enjoy the stark, quiet beauty that only a four-foot blanket of sparkling snow can create. Really, it’s a time of year when you can hear the forest snoring. You can glide gently past on a pair of skis or trudge lightly on the fluffy pillow of snow.
I started one of the best days this winter in Spearfish, South Dakota. There are many great accommodations in Spearfish, but being a social bug, I stayed with friends. We woke up early to have breakfast at the Vanilla Bean Bakery and Café. There’s no way to leave this place feeling bad.
We drove north on scenic Highway 14 through Spearfish Canyon. This drive, on its own, is a great outing. You cannot help but admire the crystal, clear waters of Spearfish Creek, the pinkish, yellow cliffs and the rushing water of Roughlock and Bridal Veil Falls. Heading west at Cheyenne crossing, we drove Highway 85 toward Trailshead Lodge.
Ten miles down the road put us at our destination, the Eagle Cliff trailhead. This system of trails can be utilized in both the summer and winter. However, in the winter, one of the trails is groomed for cross country skiing, which makes it….awesome! We were there to snowshoe though, so we picked the snowshoe route, careful not to leave our tracks on the groomed cross country ski track.
The 3.4 mile loop led us through the sleepy, snow blanketed forest from great lookout points to open clearings perfect for snow angels. There were old tracks on the trail but on this particular day we had the trail to ourselves. Every time we stopped we were immersed in the tranquil beauty and quiet serenity of the white forest. Any stresses I had slowly slipped away in the frosty air and stayed buried in the sleepy snow.
Toward the end of the hike giant snowflakes began to fall, as if conjured to cover up the single set of tracks we had left on winters’ bed.
We drove back down the mountain stopping at Cheyenne Crossing to warm up with a hot drink and some food. The big flakes continued to fall as we made our way back down Spearfish Canyon to our beginning point. Winter, winter, winter, winter, you won’t last long.