We hiked up in the warm air of late afternoon, stripped to our shirtsleeves as the sun slipped down behind the mountain ridge.
As the sky faded slowly into indigo, we arrived at the hut and were greeted by a warm wood stove, a hot cuppa, and the welcoming cheers of old friends. The conversation was laughing, loud and fast, and lasted into the wee hours, long after the coals burned down to wispy ash.
Later, I woke in the night, climbed down from my bunk, and walked out towards the lake. Thousands of stars filled the night sky, and I inhaled the fresh scent of something sharp and clear blowing in on a mountain wind.
In the morning, the mountains reminded us that winter is still very much alive; gusts of snow danced mad pirouettes across the pond as we dashed for cover in the woods.
Now, back at my computer again, I can still feel the brush of soft snow on my eyelids, and hear the calls of mountain ravens clamoring for spring.