Monday, December 23, 2019

Outdoors At Last!

Well, I took my own advice (as stated in my last post) and got out at last to enjoy some of those delights found only in winter. Did I mention those deep-blue skies of a clear cold day?  The sky over Moreau Lake sure lived up to that description when I braved the single-digit cold to visit there on Saturday.

I was happy to see that the lake had frozen over, but Thin Ice signs warned me not to venture out to the middle just yet.  I was able to walk on the ice close to shore, but even there, my feet punched through a few times.  I look forward to when I can freely amble about on the lake, checking to see what the ice fishermen have caught.

I enjoyed my visit to Moreau Lake on Sunday even more, because this time I had my pal Sue to play with.  Although most of the lake ice was rough and clouded, I told her of where I had found some smooth and crystal-clear ice where a stream entered the lake, and this is the kind of ice we dream of finding each year. Sue was happy to visit that ice with me.

That clear black ice held stacks of silvery bubbles, and the super-slick surface was starred with spiky crystals of hoarfrost. Beautiful!

To add to our excitement, we found tracks and trails of otters all around the stream bed, and we also found this hole in the bank, its entryway adorned with icy crystals.  Could this be where an otter denned, the spikes of hoarfrost resulting from the warm breath of a creature within?  At least I felt pretty certain it was SOME critter's hidey hole.

Here's the otter trail, a long smooth trench intermittently punched with footprints as the otter kicked along, sliding on its belly.  A deer trail crossed the otter's at this point.

We followed the otter trail through the woods and along an ice-covered stream, to where the trail led up the steep hills.  I wondered if the otter was heading over the mountain ridge to the river, now that ice was closing off its access to the lake.

The ice on the surface of the stream had assumed many beautiful shapes and patterns.

These bubbles were still in liquid form, but I have seen them frozen into solid plates.

As the stream climbed the mountainside, the ice on its surface looked like molten glass.

As the grade grew steeper, the water's splashing became more energetic and the ice formations grew ever more elaborate and lovely.

I'm so glad we ventured out on these cold, cold days, to witness how frigid air and both rushing and still water work their wonders.  Today was  surprisingly balmy, with  bright sun and temperatures edging toward 50 degrees -- a lovely day for a winter walk. But so were those single-digit days when our cheeks grew numb but our eyes grew wide with delight.


Lynn's mom said...

How absolutely beautiful! Thank you for the photos and descriptions to bring me along with you on this little trip. Best to you from Jane

Woody Meristem said...

Very nice photos of the ice formations. There aren't many more beautiful days than a clear cold winter day.

suep said...

Always great to enjoy life's little wonders on a walk with you Jackie ! Three days later, the bubbles are still visible in the creek, but the otter trail was hardly discernable -- carpe diem !