Wednesday, November 19, 2014

No Snow Here

Oh, those poor folks out in Buffalo!  Five feet of snow in one day, and up to three feet more to come!  But here in Saratoga County, the inch or so we got on Monday was promptly washed away by rain, so that now we have just a few traces left in spots where the sun never shines.  Well, the sun shone all day today (Wednesday), tempting me up to Moreau Lake State Park to walk the broad sandy beaches around the lake.   We've had so little precipitation this fall, the beaches are broader than ever I've seen them before.

As the above photo shows, there was no ice at all out on the main body of the lake, despite temps in the 20s the last few nights.  But back in the coves and quiet bays, a thin sheet of ice has covered the surface from shore to shore.

The southern shore of the cove was still covered with a thin layer of snow, which captured these prints of a beaver heading out onto the ice.  I'm always astounded by how big the beaver's hind feet are, as big as my hand, and I'm also curious why I can't make out the webbing between the toes.

Despite a cold wind, my walk was quite pleasant, as I kept up a brisk pace that took me all the way around the lake (although not the back bay).  I love this stretch of sandy trail that passes under towering White Pines and Pitch Pines, with views of the lake and back bay to either side.

The vast blue sky over the lake was in constant motion as flocks of Canada Geese came winging in or taking off.

I am always astounded to see the Shadblow shrubs opening buds of tiny green leaves this time of year.  The tender little leaves will surely freeze and drop to the ground in the wintry blasts to come.  And yet they do this every year.    What purpose could this possibly serve? Is it simply the organism's response to light levels equal to those that awaken new growth in the spring?

The Striped Maples have also formed their buds, elegant scepters of scarlet atop emerald twigs circled with gold.  But those waxy red bud scales will stay tightly closed until spring, when they'll then fall away to reveal tightly folded leaves of velvety pink.

Most of the Witch Hazel flowers have dropped their flowers, but here and there I still find a few long ribbon-shaped petals unfurled. The yellow bracts will remain on the twigs all winter, causing the shrub to appear to still be in bloom throughout the darkest, coldest time of year.

Those darkest, coldest days are fast approaching, as the sun sinks earlier and earlier every day.  It was not yet four in the afternoon when the lowering sun cast this golden light on the frozen surface of the cove.


June said...

Honestly, I don't know which touches me more -- your prose or your photos.

The Furry Gnome said...

How do you manage that weather!? Two feet of snow here!

Raining Iguanas said...

This is my favorite walk, I take it whenever my battery runs low.