We realized, to our chagrin, that we hadn’t been hiking since last September. First there were my two hospital stays plus eventual surgery. Then the new business got rolling and ate up a lot of our time. And even we aren’t quite mad enough to get up before dawn on a winter morning and go walk for several miles along a mountain ridge while our several layers of clothing put up about as much resistance to the howling, frigid wind as your grandmother’s password does to identity thieves. But we’ve hiked this trail twice in the past week, and it’s great to be back. No bears yet, but lots of chipmunks, plus what appeared to be a beautiful pair of orioles, a pileated woodpecker, and one bald eagle! The long-term forecast is calling for a cooler-than-normal spring in the mid-Atlantic; ’tis a consummation devoutly to be wished. We’ve got a lot of lost time to make up for.