Sunday, January 23: Moreau Lake State ParkTen below ZERO! Gosh, you'd think most folks would hunker down in their cozy homes on a day as cold as this. But today the sun was shining out of a clear blue sky, and by early afternoon the temps had climbed a bit above zero. I'd been nursing a cold all the week before, so I was eager to feel some sun on my face, and I wanted to check out the new skating rink at the park, this first weekend it was open to the public. So I bundled up and headed out to Moreau.
The first thing I noticed was dozens of cars parked along the beach road and many families with young children out on the frozen lake, arrayed around holes in the ice. Oh yes, I now remembered: the park was offering an ice fishing experience for children today, and lots of families had responded. As an extra enticement to overcome fear of frostbite, the park's warming hut was open, too, offering hot dogs and cocoa inside by the fireplace, as well as marshmallows for roasting at a roaring firepit outdoors.
Monday, January 24: Lake Bonita at Moreau Lake State Park
Here's a pair of twigs from a Leatherleaf shrub, the twig on the left bearing the open seed pods that resemble little brown flowers, and the twig on the right bearing the winter-persistent leaves and the buds that will produce next spring's bell-shaped white flowers.
The colors of its bright-red flowers have faded, though, but much of its fascinating structure remains intact. At least, for occasional specimens. Not all of the Pitcher Plant flowers I found today were this well preserved.
Tuesday, January 25: The Hudson River Shore at Moreau
Even though I felt sure that most of the ice-cover here in the swamp was safe to support me, I was aware of where a stream flowed into the swamp and made sure to keep a safe distance from where this stream could have weakened the ice. I did not want to slosh the quarter-mile or so back to my car with saturated snowpants and ice-water-filled boots!