Sunday, December 6, 2009

Here Comes the Snow!

Yesterday's snow was supposed to fall south of us, with Saratoga receiving just a few flurries, if that. But soon after lunch, the snow started falling in earnest.

By bedtime, it seemed to be turning into misty rain. I assumed it would all be gone by morning. But this was the sight that greeted my eyes when I awoke.

Oh man, what a glorious day! Jackie Callahan and I had planned to hike somewhere this afternoon, but I called her to say Let's get out there now, before the snow melts from the trees.
She was able to do that, so off we went, choosing a trail in Moreau Lake State Park that led through the snowy woods to several high overlooks above the Hudson River. The woods was like a fairyland, with snow clinging to every branch and twig. What a transformation, from just two days ago!

This was one of several spots along the trail where we could look down to the river below and across to the mountains beyond.

We kept on climbing, up, up, up, the steep trail precarious where a thin layer of snow covered the rocks. Each of us slipped more than once, and we sometimes found it easier (coming down) to just slide along on our bottoms.

We branched off the yellow-disk trail to follow a red-disk one into the heart of the mountain. We were the first to follow that trail today, enjoying the pristine beauty and silence of the snow-covered forest. Breathing deeply the sweet cold air, we passed over a tiny rippling brook, still full from last week's rains. We made our way to one of the highest points on the trail, then climbed to the top of some giant boulders to rest and have something to eat, legs dangling over the side.

The rocks here are simply magnificent. Here's one where thin brittle gray layers abut chunks of pretty pink quartz (?).

The boulders were covered with many different kinds of lichens, including this tiny orangey one, growing out of what looks like grey-green bubbles. Could this be Orange Rock Posy (Rhizoplaca chrysoleuca)?

The sun is so low in the sky these last weeks of the year, it hardly seems to rise above the treetops. As we made our way down the trail to return to our car, I looked back and found the sun peeking through tree trunks, seemingly resting right down on the path we had followed.

When we got back to Saratoga, we found the snow there was mostly gone. I'm glad we found a way to enjoy it while it lasted.


suep said...

you guys had a great day to be up there ! (I've been waiting for the end of rifle season to venture on that trail again, frankly.)
(I think it ended today.)
After more snow all those lumps and bumps in the trail will be nicely smoothed-out!

Ellen Rathbone said...

Hooray! We got some snow, too. Be prepared for lots and lots of track photos at my blog now that we have snow. The first batch will be up on Tuesday!

squirrel said...

I'm so glad you finally got some snow. I had good full 4 inches and it is still there today. Of course down in the vallly most has melted. I love the lichen photo you took. It seemed really odd that I had more snow down here than you did.

Jackie C said...

Oh! Your Orange Rock Posey is beautiful!!! What fun!

Jens Zorn said...

Well, Ann Arbor is yet to get its first snow (as of 7 Dec) so I'll have to settle for vicarious enjoyment through your post.

catharus said...

Congrats for getting out in it and enjoying the first of the lovely winter landscapes!

Jacqueline Donnelly said...

Sue, I believe the coast is now clear! Let's meet up for a walk some morning.

Ellen, you got such great photos of tracks! By the time I got out to look, the snow falling from trees had pocked the surface and messed up any tracks that might have been there.

Squirrel, the weather is just plain odd all over! I loved that lichen too. Wish I had stuck my finger in the photo to show just how tiny it was.

Jackie, it sure was fun to hike with you. And then to see your own photos of the day on your blog -- double the fun!

Hi Jens, so good to hear from you. You know what's funny? When we first moved to Saratoga from Ann Arbor, folks here would say, ooh, I'll bet the winters are COLD in Michigan! Ha Ha. Not as cold as upstate NY, that's for sure.

catharus, watch for lots more photos of wintry landscapes. Winter has arrived with a vengeance!