Sunday, January 5, 2014

Snow and Ice

The winter storm we had the last few days left a beautiful winter day.  I had to rake the snow of the porch roofs, clean up the driveway from all the windblown snow, and shovel paths out to the barn.  We are expecting a significant warm up followed by another deep freeze and wanted to get all the snow out of the way lest it freezes into a solid block of ice!

I decided to get a small snow shoe trek in.  I headed to Jenksville State Forest.  There are a series of trails there that I have biked upon, but never visited in the winter.  The access area was plowed out, and I headed into the 'red' trails (the red are on the east of the area, the blue in the middle, and yellow to the west).

Though we had very strong winds, the trees were still covered in snow.  Absolutely beautiful!

I was out around noon, but the low sun cast long shadows in the snow.

I followed the road into the area for a bit, then headed to the north following a dubious trail sign.  The trail was initially apparent, but there were no markers.  That's okay.  I headed north for a while, then east a bit, and then back south.  I knew I'd hit the access road.

Along the way I came across frozen streams.  The ice crystals were amazing.

I came back on the main trail, and then headed east.  I knew the trail would take me to the ridge line to the east.

The trail was pristine.  I don't know how many people visit this area in the winter.  I was working up quite a sweat breaking trail.

The road crossed several small streams and rivulets.  There was running melt water under the ice, with the exposed areas giving up water vapor which formed the most interesting ice crystals.

The evergreen trees were covered in blankets of snow.

It was interesting how the trees on the north side of the trail were mostly hardwoods.  It was sunny and open-feeling in that wood.

However, the south side of the trail was wooded by spruce and hemlock.  The snow-laden bough were creaking in the wind.  The wood had a dark and angry feel to it.

I came to the ridge line overlooking the valley below.  In the distance were the farms and towns I cycle through in the summer.

I was tired after a morning of exercise and work.  I headed back to the car.  I crossed a little bridge over a frozen stream.  The huge flakes of ice crystal covered the frozen stream.

The snow and ice are ephemeral.  The temperatures will rise well above freezing and will be accompanied by rain.  These treasures will be gone soon . . .

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