January 3 : Frazil Forms
I followed the Hudson downstream to Moreau, where hydroelectric dams slow the river's current and cause the river to widen into calmer expanses. At the Sherman Island boat launch this day, the river was completely frozen over, except for an open area just downstream from the Spier Falls Dam.
One of the great pleasures of a solidly frozen lake is that we can proceed directly across the ice to some of our favorite spots on the far shore. One such spot is Zen Brook (Sue's name for it), a delightful little stream that dances down the mountainside to create the most beautiful ice formations along its rocky course.
We like to stop and chat with the fishermen (and yes, they are almost always men) hunched over their augured holes. I am always amazed at how cheerfully they endure the frigid vigil, even when the day ends with no fish to show for their patience. But some lucky ones have their trophies laid out on the ice in a colorful array. How beautiful they are! These are (top to bottom) Yellow Perch, Rainbow Trout, and Pickerel. Somebody's going to have a feast tonight!
This fellow named Brian was very proud to show us the splendid Rainbow Trout he had caught that day. Sue and I were happy to inform him (and all other trout-catchers) that this year's stocking of trout in the lake was paid for by a gift from the Friends of Lake Moreau. But I think this particular trout had been in the lake a good deal longer than since this past spring.
We had no pirates' grog to warm our innards, but Sue brought along an even better replacement: an ample supply of Baileys Irish Cream to be poured over little snowballs. Trailside cocktail hour!
As we neared the end of our hike, we passed a serene expanse of iced-over pond and a view of mountains to the north. Local readers of this blog will probably recognize this pond as the water supply for an area city and the very reason the surrounding woods has been placed off-limits to the general public (although many ski trails and snowshoe tracks would indicate the restriction is generally ignored). I'm not telling where we were, but I can say we caused the place no harm.