Monday, January 12, 2015

Two Winter Walks

At last, the wind has stopped roaring.  Cold, I don't mind, I can bundle against it, except when the wind pushes that cold right down to the marrow of my bones.  But the past two days have been perfect for winter walks, with quiet winds both days and today some new fresh snow.  I was really eager to get out.

Yesterday, I climbed the powerline road that parallels Spier Falls Road at Moreau, a nice wide road that leads up onto the mountainside that rises above the Hudson River.  With only a couple of inches of soft snow over a frozen base, I didn't need snowshoes,  but microspikes were a big help to keep me from slipping when the slope grew steep.

Up here on the exposed mountainside, those roaring winds that rattled my windows last week had carved many sinuous ripples and waves in the snow.

Thinking of that bitter cold and ravaging wind, I was glad to see that the little mouse who made these tracks has a cozy  home under this rock.

When the powerline road reached the point where a stream tumbles down the mountain, I left the road to scramble up the frozen watercourse, climbing higher and higher until I reached a rocky ridge where tiny springs constantly water the boulders, creating spectacular castles of ice.

So beautiful up here!  Well worth the climb.  Witnessing such beauty is enough to make me bless the cold.

And today was a day to bless the snow, a new soft snow gently misting down, turning the woods at Moreau Lake State Park into another scene of quiet beauty.

There was not another soul on the vast expanse of snowy ice that covered the lake.  Following a week of sub-zero cold, the lake is solidly frozen now, so I could walk directly across it, avoiding only those places where streams flow in and weaken the ice.

On a day so dim that all nature's colors were muted, this patch of tawny Phragmites appeared almost vivid against the subtler grays and drab greens of the forested mountain.

The hot-pink twigs of Striped Maple saplings certainly added a dash of color to the winter woods.

After an hour or so on the frozen lake, I was glad to approach the south end of the lake and smell the wood smoke that promised a place of cozy warmth here in the warming hut.

Cozy and warm, indeed!  The once-roaring fire had settled down to a mass of glowing embers,  still releasing plenty of heat.   Since November of 2014, this charming cabin has offered the park's winter visitors a warm place to retreat from the cold while resting up for further adventures on the frozen lake or in the snowy woods.


The Furry Gnome said...

Looks like a great winter outing! That wRming cabin is a great idea? We could use more of those.

Wayne said...

A great time for trekking and tracking. The lake was without traffic again today, with the stinging cold, but on Sunday, the Park was abuzz with anglers, skiers, and snowshoers. LIke you, I am still happy using Microspikes on the new layer of fluffy snow.