Thursday, March 24, 2011

Over the Meadows, Through the Woods

Unseasonably cold. That's what it was today and what it will be for days to come, according to weather reports. At least we didn't get the snow that was predicted for last night and today. Lord knows, we have enough still on the ground, shin-deep in the woods and heaped high on north-facing slopes. The land is so packed in ice, I wonder how it can ever get warm. Craving to feel yielding earth beneath my feet, I headed over to the Saratoga National Historical Park in Stillwater, where I guessed the wide-open fields would be bare of snow. And so they were.

I chose the Wilkinson Trail, a 4.2-mile loop that follows the supply road the American army used in their battle against the British in the Revolutionary War. Where the trail ran across open meadows, it felt terrific to feel that wide blue sky over my head and to swing my feet without crunching through icy snow.

There was still lots of snow, however, where the trail ran through shady woods.

I was glad to see that deep in the woods the vernal pools were forming, although they were eerily silent. A year ago around this date, the woods were ringing with the shrill calls of Spring Peepers and the urgent quacks of mating Wood Frogs, who use these fish-free waters as safe places to lay their eggs. (For proof, see my blog post from last year by clicking here.)

I took a short detour off the main trail to explore this pretty little brook. The smooth surface of its pooled waters remained unmarked by any sign of Water Striders, which just a year ago were darting here and there on their spindly waterproof legs. (See my blog post for March 25, 2010.)

I love how ripples form as the brook takes a plunge through a rocky chute, ripples that cast sunlit streaks of gold on the underlying rock.

I could find no signs of new spring greenery, so I had to content myself with enjoying the lovely remains of last fall's flowers, including these tiny fluted trumpets that once held the disc flowers of Black-eyed Susan. (You have to click on this photo to see those pretty flutings.)


Louise said...

I bet it was great to be able to really stride out! Things are later than last year around here, as well. Sometimes it seems like I just CAN'T WAIT to see a coltsfoot.

Woodswoman Extraordinaire said...

I had been thinking it was just my imagination that spring seems late this year - apparently not? I, too, am longing for warmer, snow-free surroundings!

Ellen Rathbone said...

I wanted to go out today, too - it was beautifully sunny, but very cold. But, I had a ton of work to do, and a meeting to boot. No rest for the wicked. I'm beginning to appreciate how laid back it was in Newcomb!

Mike Whittemore said...

Reminds me a lot of the woods near my home in MA. Great photos and info. Thanks for sharing!

Jacqueline Donnelly said...

Thanks for your comments, old friends and new. And welcome to Mike, whose blog about the flora and fauna of the Appalachians is full of great info and photos. Just click on his name.