Wednesday, January 9, 2013

On Snowshoes

January 6, 2013
Un-named Trail nearby

We are hunters pursuing the summer
on snowshoes and skates,
all winter long.
There is really but one season in our hearts.
   HDT Journal, December 6, 1856

Another day in which to spend hours outdoors ! It continues warm today, hanging around the freezing mark. (It takes a good cold snap to make 30 degrees seem nice and toasty.)

Today Jackie and I were invited to join some of the Adirondack Pirate Paddlers on a land-expedition. These Pirates are not just summer-sailors, but enjoy outdoor pursuits year-round. It's a sort of shore party.
We meet them at a certain trailhead not far away. There are daunting signs that strike terror into my heart, but it seems I'm the only one it frightens.

Well, we'll walk gently in this beautiful area.
In fact, some of us did some Trashpaddling right there at the trailhead. Thanks to the long-distance influence of our friend Al -- whose transparent image appears on one's shoulder like Jiminy Cricket when litter is spotted -- that area is cleaner now than it was when we arrived !

It's a popular area with locals, and we see people skiing, walking dogs, and snowmobiling during the course of the day. Not all at once, of course.

It is unexplored territory for me, and it’s nice to be here with folks who are familiar with the lay of the land here.
Last year, there was almost no snow, mostly crunchy ice.
We all know that these conditions could change in just a few days - the January Thaw is coming next week, right on schedule.

Despite its age, the snow cover remains soft and fluffy. We don our snowshoes and file into the sound-absorbent woods, chatting and getting to know each other, or merely catching up on news.
It's interesting to be tromping through the snow, and hearing lots of talk about paddling. Visions of summer are truly never far from our thoughts.

Then we go up

And up

And whew ! it’s time to peel off a layer.
It’s great to feel so comfortable yet surrounded by a cold landscape.
[I am thanking Santa Claus for my Christmas present right now. I'll bet Henry Thoreau was never able to enjoy the merits of silk longjohns !]

The Captain and Jacques lead us up and around the western edge of the long narrow pond.
There are some pretty huge hemlocks here and there, and later we see some giant white pines. At some point in time, this area had been logged. These old-timer trees remain.

Everywhere are deer trails, looping and dragging around the soft ridges.
It took days for them to create all these tracks, but one can imagine it all happening at once during one great big Deer Dance Night.

Whew ! these guys go non-stop.
It’s all I can do to snap a quick photo before they disappear around the bend.

We cross a brook,

Then head downwards, which is fun on snowshoes that have a good upturn at the tip.
(My old wooden raquettes were completely flat, and the tips would catch on crusty snow, resulting in many unscheduled faceplants.)

No faceplants today, but I am starting to get clumsy after several hours of snow-walking.
Finally I plead for a halt, mainly so we can all pause for a tiny taste of a seasonal treat:

[photo courtesy of Jackie Donnelly]

Mmm, snow is delicious anytime, but this is pretty good.
Yo-ho-ho and a bottle of ... Bailey's ? [There goes our Pirate Street Cred ...]
Some snowmobiles approach noisily.
The Captain ponders some "piratical action" against them, but the only plan he comes up with is using "one of our wenches" as a decoy.
Being vastly out-numbered by said wenches, that plan is quickly voted down.
The snow machines buzz on and away, unaware of their brush with Danger.

At this point we are almost back to the starting place. 

Time for one last stop -- the obligatory group photo of today's shore party:

 Ellie, The Captain, Kristen, Jackie, Jacques Deuxlames

Then Ellie took the camera so I could get into the picture –
(a rarity.)

Why is there a big arrow pointing to the Captain's head?

All in all, it was a great time to be out tromping around in the woods with some new friends.
Bring on the snow!


  1. Great Day......A fun group and fluffy snow. "Who could ask for anything more", sing it Ethel! Loved the write-up and pics, Sue. Hope to have you along on future adventures.

    The Pirates!

  2. It was a day to be seized, that's for sure ! Glad to have been with you guys - Sue