Sunday, March 10, 2013

A Weekend in Winter Wonderland

 If there is any place on earth more beautiful than Pyramid Lake in the Adirondacks, I don't really need to know about it, since Pyramid's beauty already fills me to overflowing with joy.  Longtime readers of this blog have heard me tell of its splendors in all other seasons, but this past weekend was the first time I have spent more than just an hour or two immersing myself in its winter charms.  And what a delightful weekend it was, in the company of seven other friendly and fun-loving women, enjoying cozy accommodations and wonderful food at Pyramid Life Center, and being blessed with the best winter weather any outdoor enthusiasts could ever hope for.  Just look at that radiant clear blue sky and that sparkling white snow!

As soon as I arrived on Friday afternoon and had parked my bag and bedding in my warm and comfy room under the Dining Hall, I hurried out to walk on the ice-covered lake, to lift my eyes to the surrounding mountains dusted with snow, to breathe that sweet cold Adirondack air, and to listen to the absolute silence found only on frozen wilderness lakes.  This silence seemed even more profound when punctuated by the sighing of wind in the pines and the calls of a pair of ravens soaring over the trees.

Although most of the familiar shoreline plants were tucked away under the snow for the winter, the shrubs of Leatherleaf were leaning over the frozen water,  still holding the leaves and the remnants of flowers that had graced their branches all summer.

On snow that was softening in the warming sun, I walked down the road past rustic cabins (now closed for the winter) tucked in among ancient pines.

On Saturday, a day that dawned frosty and cold at first but which promised to warm up nicely under a clear blue sky, our group of eight women set off for a snowshoe hike to the top of nearby Bear Mountain.  The trail is probably no more than two miles to the top, with an elevation gain of only about 500 feet,  but we were soon huffing and puffing through the surprisingly deep snow in the woods, especially as the trail grew steeper and steeper.

As we approached the summit, the trees thinned and the snow deepened,  and we picked up our pace despite weary legs, because we knew our reward was at hand.

Ta da!  We made it up to the top!  Time to rest, enjoy the view, and load up on chocolate truffles.  I couldn't have hoped for more delightful companions than these amazing women, each with her own fascinating life story and impressive accomplishments.  Margie Litwin (standing, second from right) was the one who organized this retreat and planned for our needs and comforts down to the last detail.  We all agreed we can't wait to do it again next year.

The view from the top of Bear Mountain, looking toward the Adirondack high peaks.

I know this is a terrible photo, but oh, those stars in that dark, dark Adirondack night!   And I without a tripod.

On my way home today, I made a detour to check out the frazil ice accumulations on the Ice Meadows along the Hudson River north of Warrensburg.   I saw that the river had opened up in the center, but up near the edge of the woods, the huge mounds of ice were as monumental as ever.

A few weeks ago, the ice had completely covered a long section of the road that follows the west bank of the river from The Glen to Thurman.  Today I was able to complete my journey to Warrensburg along this road, thanks to the efforts of the crews who had worked long and hard to clear the ice from the pavement.


Momo said...

Oh, Jackie! How well you captured the marvelous weekend in "Cliff Note" style! It was delighful to have you along!

June said...

What a feast for the senses!
On Saturday night I, too, was admiring the starry sky. But I was in my bed.