Thursday, January 11, 2018

Unusual Weather, As Usual

Well below zero on Monday, pushing 50 today! And the forecast is for pouring rain tonight.  If I hadn't been keeping this blog for years, I might think that this weather was unusual.  But looking back over my blog posts from years past, I see that this is not an atypical pattern for January in Saratoga County.  I imagine most people will welcome this break in the cold, but I was glad it was still below freezing when I walked across Moreau Lake on Wednesday.  That ice is now more than a foot thick, and I'm hoping this rainy warmth doesn't ruin it.

What a splendid day it was, to be out under that wide blue sky, with only the merest breath of a breeze, surrounded by forested mountains and with a vast expanse of snow-covered frozen lake lying before me! Because I grew up on a Michigan lake, I always feel little jolts of joy when I encounter a frozen lake, revisited by memories of swiftly  swirling across the lake on skates,  or the thrill of hauling a thrashing Northern Pike through a green glowing hole in the ice.  And always, hot cocoa waiting at home.  Happy times!

Urged on by these memories, I am drawn to visit the fishermen out on the ice, who always seem quite happy to chat with me.

I love to ask them about their gear and learn how they manage to keep themselves warm after hours of standing or sitting around on the ice.  And I am especially pleased to see what kind of fish they have caught.  These fellows pictured here had hauled in a couple of beautiful Rainbow Trout (one of them full of roe).

There were other folks out on the ice, as well, including this man with his big-tired bike and his beautiful furry sheepdog.  He told me he can even traverse the icy mountainous trails with this bike, which has metal studs in the tires.

Since I'm neither a winter biker nor ice fisherman, I have my own ways of amusing myself on these wintry days.  Wildflower nerd that I am, I always have to stop to greet the dried remains of wildflowers in the snow.  Here are Blue Vervain, Round-headed Bushclover, and Evening Primrose.

I made it a point to visit Moreau Lake's large population of one of our state's rarest plants, the Whorled Mountain Mint that thrives along the shore of a cove.  These little bristly brown pods are readily seen protruding above the snow.  They also retain a powerful minty scent, which I can enjoy by pinching one of the pods.

Surrounded by mountains, Moreau Lake falls into shadow well before sunset, with just a few of the mountain tops still holding the waning sunlight.

Even as the sun dipped below the hills, these diligent fellows continued trying their luck.


threecollie said...

They say everyone has a doppelganger....that fellow with the bike looks just like a good friend of mine. And the fish look delicious, but not quite tasty enough to get me to stand around on the ice. lol

Woody Meristem said...

Love winter, but it's just too cold to sit or stand waiting for a fish to bite. Walking or skiing is another matter -- even at -10 or 15 it's not hard to keep warm.

The Furry Gnome said...

Reminds me of northern lake here (3 hours north) we've been to in the winter. Loved to glide across the lake on skiis.