Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Frozen River

Darn, but it's cold! And it just keeps being cold.  Every morning, below zero, accompanied by wind that makes the cold so much worse.  It's really put a cramp in my winter outdoor activities.  I started out on a walk today, but after only a few minutes my face went numb and the cold kicked up the ocular rosacea that makes my eyes burn.  Tears began to wet my frozen cheeks.  Very unpleasant!  So I jumped in my car instead, turned up the heat, and drove up to The Glen north of Warrensburg to see what the frazil ice was doing after all these sub-zero nights.

Well, the frazil's not doing much at all, since the Hudson River is frozen solid above the bridge.  It's here in the turbulent waters that frazil forms, the turbulence tossing super-cooled droplets into the frigid air, where they freeze immediately and fall back in the water, forming mats of slushy ice that can dam the river and pile up in prodigious heaps along the shore.  With the river's surface frozen over, no new frazil can form.  There was plenty of frazil in the river (now covered with snow), but nowhere near the monumental heights that can block roads and topple trees, as I've seen occur in years past.  No excitement here today.

I followed the iced-over river south through Stony Creek to Hadley/Lake Luzerne, and here I found open water at last, where the Hudson falls through a gorge at Rockwell Falls.  This is the view from the bridge at Lake Luzerne.

A beautiful view, yes, and I found the long shadows across the deep snow added considerable interest to the scene.

I found out how deep that snow was when I tried to climb down to the falls to take a closer look.  Up to my thighs!  Even if I'd worn snowshoes, it would have been slow going.  But I struggled on, getting as close to the falls as I dared.  In summer, I will stand right over the falls on the rocks, but now I couldn't be sure I wasn't standing on an ice shelf that might give way.  So I kept a little distance.  I was still close enough to feel the mist on my face.

How beautifully that mist has accumulated along the banks, creating fairy castles of cascading icicles!

Lovely, indeed!  Well worth the cold-numbed, tear-wet cheeks to see.

1 comment:

The Furry Gnome said...

Same here, this super-cold winter has completely dampened my usual winter explorations. Very frustrating. Photography drives are a partial substitute. I love that picture with the shadows.