Two dogs, two people, two days in the Central Oregon forest. You live cleaner with a view like this out your window, you wanna wake up early just so you can walk in the woods and smell those morning smells—deep pine and dirt all sharpened by the cold air.

But the dogs, Lefty and his brother Duke (who we borrowed from his family for the trip), had the most fun. I like the way they rip it all fast for the sheer pleasure in running when they encounter a wide open space—bursting with joy and a kinda existential wild animal-ness. I watch that and it makes me feel good to be alive.

At night, this festive little bridge lit up the river in front of the cabin, and I couldn't help but feel like, with a thick blanket of snow, this might be the very bridge St. Nicholas himself would trudge across with a coal lantern and big burlap sack. You never know ...