Monday, December 5, 2016

Whoa! A Weather Surprise!

 Oh my gosh!  I had no idea when I went to bed last night that I'd wake up this morning to a snowy world outside.  And quite a bit of snow, too, enough to cling to every branch and twig of this crabapple tree in Congress Park in downtown Saratoga Springs.

It was such a gorgeous sunny day yesterday, it sure didn't feel as if snow would move in overnight. Here was the serene sunlit view of Lake Bonita in Moreau Lake State Park, where I went for a walk yesterday afternoon.

I hadn't visited this recently acquired park property in over a month, and I was surprised to discover a new trail had been marked and groomed, the trail leading away from the dam at the northwest end of the lake and following a stream into the woods.

I followed this new trail while it kept to the stream, delighting in the little waterfalls that tumbled down the rocky watercourse.  But soon the trail angled off to go deeper into the woods.  I will have to ask the park staff where this new trail leads to, doubtless to connect with the network of trails that offer miles of hiking throughout the park's magnificent wooded and mountainous terrain.  But I wanted to walk around the lake today, so I turned back to return to the shore.

Crews of volunteers and park staff have cleared and marked trails that completely surround the lake, passing through dense woods as well as moving close to the shore for lakeside views.

Although boating is not permitted on Lake Bonita, I was fortunate to have been granted permission to paddle out to these little boggy islands this past summer, charged by Moreau Lake State Park to document the plants that grow on them.  They are covered with numerous plants that are usually found only in bogs, such as Pitcher Plants, Sundew, Small Cranberry, and Rose Pogonia orchids.  The Low Blueberry, Leatherleaf, Sweet Gale, and Sheep Laurel shrubs that grow there add some ruddy color from their leaves and branches even this late in the year.

These Winterberry shrubs added bright spots of color to the sunlit shore.

As I approached the east end of the lake, I made my way out onto some boulders that line the shore here, and I sat to contemplate this scene of quiet beauty.  The little stone building at the far end of the lake is the only man-made structure along the shore.  It houses the pump that once provided water to the state prison that occupied these lands until just a few years ago.

While perched on the lakeside boulders, I noticed numerous tufts of Pale Corydalis plants nestled into the rocks, along with the red-budded twigs of Low Blueberry.

The lake appeared simply exquisite as the blue of the sky intensified and the lowering sun touched the tops of the trees with gold, all perfectly reflected in the mirroring water.  I could have sat there for quite a bit longer, just breathing the cold sweet air and resting in the utter silence.  But I knew I'd better get moving toward home, since darkness falls early these afternoons so close to Winter Solstice.  The sun was already resting on the ground as I made my way back to my car along the old service road.

How amazing to wake up today to an entirely different kind of beauty!


The Furry Gnome said...

Beautiful looking snowfall!

Woody Meristem said...

Nothing prettier than a wet snow clinging to branches.