We have a few inches of snow on the ground. It is still cold. The weather will warm as the week progresses and we will see a slight thaw (we seem to have a short thaw in early January).
I drive to the meadows for a walk. We have been traveling over the holiday. Airplanes, trains, hotels, security lines, the beds of relatives. I long to just be outside.
It is windy. The cattails are already bedraggled.
The ponds are all frozen, though I don't think I will try to cross them, I stay on the main trail. I see other footprints (runners and dog walkers I assume).
I pass the feeder stream to Black Brook. It is ice covered. It veers to the west through a marshy area. With the cold weather, the marsh is mostly frozen. As I wander the main path I come to the turnoff for the Esker Trail. It is not a prepared trail. In the Spring and Summer is is a marshy path. With the cold weather (and since I am wearing my waterproof muck boots), I decide to venture in. I don't see any other footprints. I try to walk on the path where I see the remnants of last summers grass and weeds poking through the snow. In places I walk across frozen puddles. The ice slumps under my weight and I break through in a few places. The water is not deep, but I'd rather keep my feet as dry as possible.
Soon the trail leaves the marshy area. The trail continues west. It come to a "T". I can go right to follow the Esker trail, or left to go on the West Wood trail. I will have to cross a wet section again, but if it was like the Esker trail, it should be no problem. A walk in the woods would get me out of the wind for a time.
The trail is blazed with orange surveyors ribbon. It is easy to follow. I pull my hood off and stand still. I hear nothing. Not a bird. No sounds of creaking trees. It is so quiet.
The trail went south but soon heads east. The area is marshy, but makeshift bridges have been placed. I see animal track now follow the trail. They too seems to be looking for the easiest path through the wet areas. I walk on the bridges as first, but them just walk in the animals tracks as the ground is mostly frozen and the footing is easier.
I unexpectedly come to a creek. Across it is the main trail. I start to contemplate how I can cross it. I see a few snow cover trees lying across the creek. I'd hate to slip and fall in.
I walk upstream and soon realize I have no problems - there is a proper bridge.
As I follow the creek I see signs of a bank beaver lodge. The creek is not dammed, but there are signs of beaver chewing the trees all about.
I cross the river and a open field. I soon come to the main trail. I see no footprints in this section. I the Spring the trail here gets flooded (1 to 3 inches of water). Last Spring I would ride my mountain bike through the water - what a workout!
I turn onto the Oak Tree trail. A lone oak stands on a slight ridge.
The wife and I walked this trail in the late summer. It was ablaze in yellow. Not it is colorless, brown and grey.
I get onto the main loop and soon find more footprints. I am heading back to the parking area. Most people stay on the trails close to the parking area.
I wish for at least 6 inches of snow for snow shoeing, or a good foot for skiing. These trails would be great for skiing.
It is now midmorning. The sun is low in the sky. My shadow looks so long in the snow.
I head back to the car. I have not shaken off all the stress from my travels, but this walk went a long way to bringing balance back to my life.