We did our last hike about a week ago in anticipation of big winter storms. For once we got the timing right as shortly thereafter mighty snows blanketed our surrounding mountains, with some snow even reaching the valley floor! This weather extravaganza, mixed with the usual holiday diversions, kept us limited to snowy walks around the neighborhood.

So we had a very comfy, at home, non-traveling Christmas. ๐Ÿ˜ Sofie (our cat) and the tree coexisted, with no damage to either. The traditional dinner was deliciously excessive (for us at least). We’re facing caloric offsets in the form of rice cakes in the week ahead. ๐Ÿ˜’ But we had a White Christmas, for the first time in 33 years! So, done and done! But no, wait, it’s still snowing and snowing and seemingly will be doing so for the next few days. Looks like we ordered the deluxe White Christmas package by mistake! And it’s too late to return it! ๐Ÿ˜ฒ

Despite this exuberance of frozen magic sky water, we needed to get outside for some exercise. Burn-off a few Christmas dinner calories and thus skip having to eat a rice cake (or two or three…). The roads around here aren’t in great shape but we figured we could get as far as the Rogue River and the Ken Denman Wildlife Area without too much automotive drama. And so it was. True, we were passed by a few folks who seemed a little, ah, optimistic about their ability to actually stop a heavy, speeding truck on an ice-covered road. Expect some crash video on TikTok! ๐Ÿค” But, being old and slow, we managed an intact arrival at the TouVelle State Recreation Site’s back parking lot.

Once safely parked, we followed established and use trails along the Rogue to TouVelle Road, then did an out-and-back on the old road toward Camp White’s abandoned ammo bunkers, before returning past the Agate Desert on the Denman Trail.

Brave hiker smile
Along the Rogue on the nature trail
Rogue River
Fishing in “full conditions”
Leaving the nature trail for the Denman Interpretive Trail
Along the well-used Denman trail
Nearing TouVelle Road

About 0.25 miles (0.4 km) from the parking lot, the recreation site’s interpretive trail veers south (right) and loops back to the parking lot. We went straight ahead on a use trail within the wildlife area that arrives at TouVelle Road in another 0.25 miles (0.4 km). We went east a little ways to the old dirt road that goes northeast toward historic Camp White’s long abandoned ammo bunkers.

Someone’s home come next Spring
Teasels in the snow
Last season’s rose hips
On the old road toward the abandoned ammo bunkers
Snow fallen on shrubs
Lichen on the waters
One of the old fields in the heart of the wildlife area

We went about 0.25 miles (0.4 km) up this road before doubling back to the Denman Trail at Military Slough. Last time we were here, the lower pond in the slough was a mud flat; today it was full to overflowing.

The lower pond in Military Slough
The pond is now full
On the Denman Trail
The LovedOne tries her phone camera
Continuing on the Denman Trail
The oaks won’t drop their leaves until Spring
Reaching the Agate Desert
A vernal pond forming on the Agate Desert
An old fence on the desert
Back on the interpretive trail

We spent about two hours going two miles (3.2 km). It snowed and snowed and snowed and we walked and walked and were home in time for a warm lunch of leftovers. Not much of a hike, but it was real nice getting outside to enjoy the snow. And, as far as those rice cakes are concerned, tomorrow is another day. ๐Ÿ˜‰