A winter wonderland on a small scale anyway.

On the day I usually don’t write, Sunday, we go to church in the morning, and afterward we often go for a hike, since it does me good to do something totally physical and out-of-doors after the mostly mental work of writing 5-6 days a week that keeps me tethered to my desk (I’m not able to tote a laptop out of the house and work in places like Starbucks, as some writers do. I need as few distractions as possible).

This time of year the snow level is creeping down the mountains and we’re more limited in our options for places to take a day hike. Oftener than not, we wind up at our favorite reservoir about 45 minutes drive from our home.

Trails wind around this big lake created in a mountain valley, providing several easy to moderate hikes. One of those trails leads to Blue Grotto, about 2.5 miles in from the parking area. Blue Grotto is a narrow draw tucked between the foothills on the lakeshore, with a climbing trail that leads along a tumbling stream to a rocky basin where, in the winter/rainy season, a delicate waterfall spills.

We recently hiked to Blue Grotto on a day that was cold enough for the spray from the falls to freeze on the surrounding rocks and trees, and form a beautiful ice sculpture. What a surprise it was to come over the rise of the trail to see this. We couldn’t resist climbing down the wet, slippery rocks for some not-so-easy-to-get shots.

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