Friday, December 7, 2018

Ice Can Be Nice

I intended to hike the Waterfall Trail at Moreau Lake State Park yesterday, but I couldn't even get up the Spring trailhead hill to access that trail. It was way too icy underfoot for me to make any headway, and I had neglected to bring my ice grippers.  Oh well,  I decided, I'll walk along Spier Falls Road instead, for the spring-watered boulders that rise steeply from the roadside here offer plenty of waterfall beauty, now that the temps fall below freezing.  The views of the Hudson River here are also wonderful.

Whether coming or going, the ice was pretty spectacular.  Some looked like bridal veils.

This formation looked like a fairy's (or is it a witch's?) castle.

Flat rocky ledges were adorned with sparkling icicle fringe.

Twigs that had sprouted near splashing water were encased in pearlescent ice.

I encountered the most spectacular ice of all when I approached the quarry where rocks had been blasted from the mountainside to provide building material for the Spier Falls Dam that spans the Hudson just across the road.

As the winter progresses and springs continue to water the rock, the ice will build to impressive thickness, attracting ice climbers from around the region.

Standing beneath this sheer wall of rock, I found the ice pretty impressive already.

On my return walk, I studied the rocks to discover many evergreen plants that thrive among the well-watered cracks and ledges.  This clump of glossy green Fountain Moss was studded with some tiny Wood Strawberry leaves.  (I also see a wee little flower-shaped bract that must have fallen from a nearby Witch Hazel shrub.)

These dusty-green leafy rosettes will sprout Pussytoe flowers come spring.

The evergreen leaves of Early Saxifrage look as if they were cut with pinking shears.

The leafy stems of Common Speedwell drape across the boulders, the flower stalks still holding their tiny heart-shaped seedpods.

This cluster of puffball fungi had long ago puffed out their spores, but their leathery and wrinkled remains persisted.

This sheer-faced boulder was coated with a thin coat of glassy ice, which intensified the shapes and colors of the crustose lichens that covered the rock.  I thought the pattern they made was really beautiful.

Here's a closer look at those lichens.


The Furry Gnome said...

Those ice formations really are amazing!

Woody Meristem said...

Dandy ice already with more to ome.

virginiabt28 said...

What a thorough spectrum of sights! Beautiful ice and tiny plants. Lovely.

threecollie said...

Wonderful ice photos. I find it very hard to capture the beauty of frozen water...well done!