Monday, January 4, 2010

Winter Perfection

Yesterday was the perfect snowfall. Today was the perfect day to enjoy it: cold enough to keep that snow dry and fluffy, but warm enough to enjoy the outdoors, no wind, a bright sun, and a cloudless blue sky. I even got my husband to come for a hike with me. There he goes, up the trail ahead of me as we climbed to the Spring Overlook at Moreau Lake State Park.

The trees were still laden with sparkling white snow, and now and then a tall pine would shrug a shoulder and fill the air with clouds of sequin spangles. Icy tingles peppered my cheeks, which were rosy and warm from the effort of climbing that steep trail.

Up, up, up we went, reaching the rocky crest of the mountain. There we could look down at the frozen Hudson far below us and gaze across the river to the Luzerne Mountains heading off to the north.

Rising high in tier upon tier above this overlook, these rocky outcrops were covered in cascading ice that glittered brilliantly in the sun.

We weren't there long before the ravens announced our presence to all who needed to know. Their raucous calls echoed through the forest as they sailed across the blue, blue sky over our heads.

We saw no other animals but those ravens. Not even a chickadee. We did see some tracks: deer, fox, possibly coyote, and this exquisite trail of a tiny mouse, stitching its way across the gentle curves of snow.

I am captivated by the shapes of dried leaves and seeds, sharply profiled against sparkling white. Any guesses what this dainty plant is?

I do know that this plant is Sweet Fern, with its leaves so elegantly curved and its catkins already formed and waiting for spring to release their pollen.

After descending the mountain and shedding our snowshoes, we drove along Spier Falls Road to the boat launch and back, peering out across the river in hopes we might spy an eagle, as we have several times before.

We didn't today, but our hopes were high, since the river below the dam was still wide open. At least the reflections were lovely. And so were the bittersweet berries.


Carolyn H said...

The mouse trail is beautiful! I envy you the calm sunny day. Here, it's windy and overcast. Sigh.

Carolyn h.

Ellen Rathbone said...

My first guess for your unknown weed is spotted knapweed. But without seeing it really close, I hesitate to make any definite claims.

Nice pics!

catharus said...

'Some lovely stories and pictures you've posted lately! I'm jealous of the winter wonderland you and other Adirondack bloggers are experiencing -- just great for getting outdoors with skiing & snowshoeing! Enjoy!
Thanks for sharing your stories. Happy New Year!