Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Icy Beauty

Okay. Today was a much better day to be outdoors. Sure, it was zero this morning, but it warmed up a bit by noon and there wasn't much wind, so I headed up to Moreau Lake State Park to see if I could find a porcupine. Ever since Laurie and I found that porcupine den up on the Red Oak Ridge, I've been eager to get back up there to see if I could see one.

Well, I'll tell you right now, I didn't -- even though I saw (and smelled!) that the den has been well used. But the trip up the ridge was well worth the effort, just to see all the beautiful ice formations in and along the stream that tumbles down the mountain along that trail. Here are just a few examples (Be sure to click on the photos to see the exquisite ways that ice and water can mix.):

When I got to the top of the ridge I found porcupine trails everywhere, and lots of hemlock twigs were littering the snow -- a sure sign that Porky has been up in those hemlocks having his lunch. One trail seemed more well-trodden than the others and marked with dribbles of pee down the middle.

I followed that trail to what was surely a porcupine den in the rocks.

Hanging over the opening to the den was this mossy boulder draped with festoons of frost. Looks like Porky has strung some Christmas garlands to honor the season.

I peered in that den and searched in all those hemlock trees, but I never laid eyes on that critter. No matter. Someday I will. One thing I did see was this patch of frost on an iced-over pool that looked like someone had cast down a handful of stars.

Here's a close-up view of those frosty shards:

So many beautiful compensations for the discomforts of bitter cold!


Ellen Rathbone said...

Nice ice/frost pics!

You and me both, babe - it's a porcupine winter. At least you've got tracks and a den! I know the beasts are up here, but I've never seen a single winter sign of porkies. Hope springs eternal, though.

See you next week - provided the weather gods cooperate!

Jackie C said...

So many stunning photos! The ice and water and crystals took my breath away!