As the weekend unfolded, Saturday turned out to be what I consider a “perfect” day.  It started out with an early morning walk (just under 2 miles) on a dirt road with someone special and the dogs running and playing the entire way.  I love peaceful mornings before the world wakes up.  Our destination, Camp Eureka, where I had left my truck the night before.  We were invited to join a hike that was coming together when we arrived and we quickly said yes.  I hear of Duff-Will mountain quite often, but have never been.  I wasn’t even sure where it was, I just knew the side of the mountain was owned by friends who hike it regularly.  I was excited to go.

The party consisted of four people and three dogs.  As we hiked up the side of the mountain, our friends were gracious enough to give us the history of the mountain, pointing out historical sites and views.  It was stunning!  The mid-February day was bursting with sunshine magnifying down upon the little to no snow or ice packed trails.  Our friends hiked with poles which I spotted when they got out of their truck and couldn’t help but think they looked like professional hikers.  I’d never used a pole, probably I’d never thought of it.  As our uphill climb progressed, I was handed a pair of poles to try on the way up.  What a difference!  I was hooked!!  Who knew?  (Note to self:  Get poles.)

Our first encounter with wildlife right out of the gate was a very large porcupine.  Lizzie sensed it first as she stood perfectly still in pointing form.  Then Baby J and Ralphie saw it.  Ralphie, being the smartest of the three, stayed away from it but Lizzie and J were all about it and went after it.  Thankfully, Mark and Barry’s quick thinking was enough to make the dogs think twice and they retreated under protest, away from the porcupine.  Whew!  That was close…






As we continued hiking, I learned Duff-Will is the “doughnut-hole” property surrounded by conservation land.  With rambling stone walls, wild animals and surreal views, I felt lucky to be experiencing this wonderful day.  We hiked on and disrupted a moose just ahead of us who takes off into the woods.  We follow the dogs who are tracking it, hoping to catch a glimpse.  It was exciting even if we didn’t actually get to see it.  I’m sure it was watching us.






We encountered a bit more snow as we descended down the mountain.  We took a trail-in-progress path which wasn’t completely carved out or packed down yet so the soft snow left little to imagination.  I got up and carried on…  As the terrain levelled off a bit, we all seemed quite content just quietly taking it all in.  It seemed we were all lost in our thoughts on this perfect day.  The dogs were nowhere to be seen, but we could hear them up ahead somewhere. 








Kathleen, Barry and Mark up ahead.

It was midafternoon as we approached the trucks.  I was sad to leave the mountain, but I knew we’d be back and I was already planning on new hiking poles for the next hike.  Yeah, we’re coming back.

We went our separate ways for a while to feed the dogs, cook, shower and wind up for a night full of friends, food, fun and fire!  Oh how I looooove a bon-fire!  What could be better?  It was like the icing on the cake.  It was a perfect day, followed by a perfect night.  Woot!  Woot!