Barton High Cliffs

Sunday I hiked into the Barton High Cliffs with the ADK. This was a bushwack - no trails, no markers. We made our way with compass, GPS and the instinct of people who had been here before and knew the woods.
The woods was snow covered. Ice filagreed the streams. Icicles hung in muted blue and jade from rocks. Great fingers of ice stretched down from the cliffs. Winter still had her way here and I was grateful for her presence.
The view from the top of the cliffs is expansive and treacherous. Getting too near the edge risks rocks giving way from beneath my feet. Peeking through the trees, holding tightly to a pitch pine seemed safe enough. A raven called and soared unafraid of the height and edge. He dove and climbed and mastered the windy heights.
We enjoyed the views and the drama of the cliffs and made our way down into the gulf below. The descent was tricky. Snow and beech leaves made the going slick. Butt slides teach humility and caution. Besides they're fun - as long as I stopped before smashing into a tree!
We made our way onto the valley floor. Rocks from slides eons old converged there. A jumble of huge boulders had been thrust down from the cliffs; cast like children throwing pebbles. The rocks were covered with fern and moss and ice. They were surrounded by deep crevices. Creatures had sought shelter among them. The snow told stories with tracks of grouse, mice, rabbit, squirrel, and bobcat. 
From these boulders, I looked up the face of the cliffs to the top where I had stood. Fiercesome the potential of nature to create and destroy and re-create. The peeling away of the rock from the cliffs had created this dramatic, magical place. The woods gave up some of her secret beauty to humans willing to risk, to climb, to descend, to be



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