Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Hey! It's March!

Hey!  It's March!  Time for Winter to think about moving on out.  I heard that the temps should rise above freezing tonight as this afternoon's snowfall turns to rain.   Perhaps Winter finally got the message, after the coldest February that anyone can remember.  But it still felt pretty wintry earlier today when I went for a snowshoe walk around Moreau Lake.

As this photo shows, the snow was still very deep, and it was exhausting to try to hike through it.

I was lucky, though, to find a well-trampled snowshoe trail all around the lake.  So off I went.  Much easier walking, this way.

There were not many animal tracks in the deep snow, but I did see many of them leading to this opening at the base of a tree.  I remember surprising a litter of baby foxes under this very tree a few years back, so it looks like the fox family still resides here.  I could see small canine footprints on the surface of the snow, made by an animal light enough to travel without breaking through the crust.

By the time I reached the south end of the lake, the wind had found its way over the mountains to rake my face with icy blasts, so I moved into the shelter of the pines that tower there.  I was struck by how the giraffe-hide reticulation of the Pitch Pines' reddish bark distinguishes  these pines from the gray-barked White Pines that share this stretch of forest.

These wind-whipped Phragmites added the only touch of color to this winter-dark scene.

At the picnic area near the beach, I was pleased to discover a new kiosk containing these interesting facts about Moreau Lake.

There was also a nice big map of all the lands contained within Moreau Lake State Park.  Many folks are surprised to see how small a portion of the park the lake and campground occupy.  And soon, to judge from a news announcement today about state money pouring into improvements for all state parks, the green area on this map will have to be expanded to include the acreage surrounding the former McGregor Correctional Facility.   That acreage includes the small Lake Bonita, seen at the lower left on this map.

The only other soul I saw on the lake today was this cheerful fellow, who was happy to chat a bit while he jiggled his bait in the water.  His name was Neil and he'd come to Moreau from Galway, a village on the southwestern side of Saratoga County.  His brother was with him, zipped inside his own portable shanty, so I never saw him, although he did call hello from within the protection of his shelter.  I have never encountered an ice fisherman who wasn't happy to visit with me, passing stranger though I may be.

No wonder Neil seemed happy.  Look at this beautiful catch of Yellow Perch and Rainbow Trout!


The Furry Gnome said...

I continue to be inspired by others who get out exploring! Makes me wonder, 'Where shall I go next?' I also love it when interpretive signs and detailed maps are provided. It expands your understanding of what you're seeing so much.

threecollie said...

Looks like a delightful dinner in store for your fisherman friend!

Woody Meristem said...

Glad to hear that one of your favorite places is going to grow larger. From your many posts about the park it seems to be a beautiful place.