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After lunch on December 9th, 2013, Debbie and I decided to take a hike from our house up to the top of Pilot Butte. We do this about once a week, but today was different — we had snow. The day was clear and cool, but the wind was still, so it was very pleasant when wearing a down coat. DSC05562a(All of these pictures can be clicked on for a much larger image.) This is Pilot Butte as seen a few blocks from our front door.DSC05568aThere were rabbit tracks, deer tracks and dog tracks in the snow and on the base trail lots of human tracks.DSC05574aDebbie leads the way. There were lots of tracks, but we saw neither animals nor humans.DSC05588aAfter a couple hundred yards we approach the Pilot Butte summit road. Retreating into the distance is Greenwood Avenue, with downtown Bend a mile away, at the other end.DSC05596aOnce we are on the Pilot Butte summit road there are people. In this case a young woman running. Bend is a training area for Olympic-level athletes, and the previous Decathlon Gold Medal winner is a local man. DSC05598aAscending the road a few hundred yards we encounter the juncture of Pilot Butte summit road and the access trail from the east side parking lot. That is where people who don’t live within walking distance usually park and begin their trek. Note the tree behind the people.DSC05610aThe tree was filled with birds. They look like robins. I thought robins went to warmer places in the winter. There were six on this single branch.DSC05622a1The view east from halfway up Pilot Butte summit road. Beyond those hills it’s 225 miles to the Snake river, with few humans in between, but there is plenty of sagebrush, and a couple of roads.DSC05641a1Further up this is the view looking west along Greenwood, Avenue, but from a higher elevation that the previous picture. The snow-covered peaks on the right are named the Sisters, and the one to the left is Mount Bachelor, which has a famous ski resort. Pilot Butte itself is a hopefully extinct volcanic cinder cone, but the South Sister is a potentially active volcano. DSC05669aThere was a snow angel on the Pilot Butte summit plaza, which Debbie made a little more human by flapping her shadow wings. All of the pictures above were taken on December 8th, 2013.DSC05810cTwo weeks later, we hiked The Butte again on December 24, and as you can see it was warm, windless and beautiful; And, as the Japanese Ainu conclude their folk tales:

“We lived and lived and nothing happened.”