We hiked the ridge (Blackhawk Ridge, west of Madison), up, then into the forest...
...where views, hidden at full foliage time, trickled in between the trunks of young trees.
The path was empty, and then it was not, as a team of dogs (they seemed teamed in spirit) and two owners scampered past. And then it was empty again.
The sun was finicky. Most often hidden, sometimes throwing delicate sparks on the clean snow.
We lost the trail. Maybe it ended. Who can tell. We climbed hills following animal tracks. We found no animals, but we found the quiet that they must enjoy on the afternoons when no strangers come this way, breaking dry twigs along the forest floor.