Thursday, March 6, 2008

Winter dissolves its icy hand

After a crappy day of rain and freezing rain yesterday, I was a little apprehensive about what trees might have broken last night. I was greeted by bright sun and a crust that barely dimpled when I started snowshoeing. I was happy to find that the icing had not done the damage seen 2 weeks ago so no major trail repairs this week!

I did lots of off-trail exploration today since it took no effort to break trail. As I approached the cell tower, I started to hear some bizarre sounds. It sounded like someone was climbing up the tower. It was a periodic clang at about the same rate as you would hear if someone was going up a metal ladder. Curious about what the sound was, I approached closer and found no maintenance crew working there. Instead, it was the sun melting pieces of ice up on the tower that were falling off the heated metal. It seemed too logical an explanation to me, so I decided to make believe that Daniel Libby's ghost (the original owner of the land from the 1700's) was climbing up the tower to look and see what was happening! It's probably a sign I've been spending a bit too much time alone in the woods!

Interesting tracks are out on the crust as well. I found one, then a second set of coyote set tracks following the first set. They were definitely headed downhill toward the middle school. Deer also go through here so they follow their trails to see if they can find one that might be a good target. I also saw some smaller tracks in another area but couldn't id them, maybe fox or possibly bobcat?

I continued on to check the property lines that have to repainted this summer. Despite the snow it was easier to track in winter since the leaves were off. We hope to get some volunteers to clear out the brush and repaint the survey lines. I also got to snowshoe on top of the rock wall for the whole 1200 feet of the wall and then drop down the steep 'canyon' into Holmquist Hollow. This area is a great spot to practice your off trail snowshoeing. Lots of elevation changes and a beautiful oak grove to explore.

The sun was crystal clear and the temperatures were very spring like as the morning wore on. Sadly, I had to leave the hill once again but today it was clear that winter was losing its grip on the land and changes are coming!

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