A Little Adventure Beats the Winter “Blahs”

Reader Contribution by Jennifer Quinn
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Homesteading sometimes involves a lot of tedium, especially in the winter and especially if you live alone. So recently, on a balmy morning, I decided to do something I’ve been wanting to do ever since I moved here: climb the ravine behind my house to the property line at the top of the ridge. I had planned to do some work outside in the morning, but figured I could do this first and still have some time left. I had always wanted to see what the view was like from up there, and my curiosity finally got the better of me. So I put on my hiking boots, grabbed my sturdiest walking stick, and headed out.

The climb turned out to be a bit longer and more strenuous than I had imagined; I remembered why I had started out a couple of times before and had given up before getting very far. Since the little stream that runs down the ravine was at a minimum, I could walk in the stream bed most of the way without getting my feet wet. But there were places where the rocks were either slippery or too steep to climb, and I had to detour up the slope on one side or the other. That was more challenging since there was very little to hold onto, and I couldn’t go fully upright without sliding.

Still, I finally made it to the top and got to enjoy a few peaceful moments of solitude and reflection on a carpet of dry leaves, under a canopy of bare trees and blue sky. By now it was almost midday, and all was quiet except for the occasional sound of a car or a farm machine in the distance. An orange-brown butterfly flitted through the branches — the first I had seen this season. In the picture below you can see the ravine I just climbed on your left. Not far behind me is a tree with a piece of orange tape that marks my property line.

I had been curious to see what was on the other side, but all I could see was another spine extending away from the ravine since all the slopes were completely wooded. Still, I had a nice view of the tops of the other ridges against the blue sky. I couldn’t help thinking what a nice spot it would be for a campsite, until I realized what it would be like lugging a tent up there, along with water and all! Soon, I thought I’d better head back down. Here’s what the descent looks like:

Going back down was faster but more challenging — part of the way I was just sliding by the seat of my pants! What a relief it was when I saw my chicken coop come into view, then my house. As for the morning work plan, though — forget about it. I spent most of the day recuperating.

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