Marten CreekDespite being steep, the first mile is an old (1940s) road. Climb uphill and past a small tree plantation. These little saplings were planted in 1915 after a major fire in this area--they were taken from various locations and elevations to see which species saw the best growth success. The goal of the study was to discover the best species of trees to replant after logging. Researchers were looking for disease resistance and fast growth in trees, but made some other interesting discoveries. Namely, that the parent of a given tree has more to do with the growth success of a tree than weather conditions do.
Get out out of the house, strap on snowshoes, head uphill and break a sweat. That is how it started. It was one of those days where you really don’t feel like doing anything, but you know you have to. You drag your feet, you ho-hum the gear gathering process and you somehow get ass out the door. Then, once on the road it begins to come into perspective. Not a car to be seen on the gorgeous mountain loop highway and with the windows down we could hear the winter filled river raging at deafening levels. At the trail head, not a car to be found. We snatched the perfect parking spot and off we went with the river roaring at our sides. Nearly instantaneously the trail greeted us with a sweeping mood swing so refreshing it almost made us blush. As for the trail, it is not the easiest to follow during the winter season, but with a little patience and practice it is well worth it. The snowshoeing conditions were perfect.
Spar Tree Food and Spirits. After heading back we stopped to grab a cold one at the Spar Tree, which couldn’t have come soon enough. A small unique bar decorated with items made by local artisans who at some point couldn’t pay their tab. Instead of getting 86’d the owner/manager/bartender asks that they make something to adorn the bar, creating a warm, unique and truly fun atmosphere. With that said, we sat for quite a while discussing the adventure, drinking well earned and deserved cold ones.
If by chance you decide to look up Spar Tree and see the not so hot reviews, remember not everything is as it seems. There’s something to say about a place where the owner is your bartender, there is no hum of Dos Equis signs and every piece of decoration has a story.