Perfect! Just perfect! Soft fresh snow, a bright cold day with a radiant blue sky, a beautiful woods to walk in, and my good buddy Sue to have fun with. And the roads were clear enough today to drive to our favorite places. Who could ask for more?
Sue and I met at the end of Potter Road in Moreau, where we entered the woods to snowshoe down to the Hudson, then along the banks to reach a quiet bay that today was completely frozen over. The main river was mostly ice-covered, too, with just a few open areas here and there.
In the shelter of the woods, all of the trees were thickly laden with snow. Even leafless limbs bore heaps of it, precarious narrow ribbons of snow so thin that the sunlight shone through.
Tufts of White Pine needles holding fluffy puffs of snow resembled little hedgehogs dangling from the branches.
Except for a few deer trails, we saw little evidence of animal traffic through the woods. We did find a couple of spiders, though, which I found kind of amazing. How can such a tiny cold-blooded creature manage to stay mobile on sub-freezing days like today?
This set of tracks across the frozen bay had us puzzled. Instead of leaving depressions in the snow and slush ice, this creature revealed its passage with heaped-up bumps, like those the Star-nosed Mole will make in the mud.
When my husband saw this photo, he suggested that some creature left this trail when the snow on the ice was deeper, compressing the slushy snow beneath its feet. Then when the wind swept the loose snow from the surface of the ice, the compressed footprints remained and collected more snow as the wind blew across them. Yeah, I guess that's possible. But I've never seen such a thing before.
While we were standing on the shore of this bay, the wind began to gust, blowing snow from the trees in misty clouds that rose toward the sky like smoke. The effect was especially pronounced on the mountain that rose from the back of the bay, but photographing the scene was made difficult by the angle of the sun. I was going to toss this photo, but then I noticed those spectacular clouds in the sky above the mountain.
I did manage to get one shot that showed the smoky effect of the blowing snow.
Here's a brief video, too, that also records the sound of the wind that came roaring out of nowhere, and just as suddenly stopped. The effect was quite dramatic, with the mountain and forest engulfed in smoke-like mist, as if a forest fire were raging through.