Moreau Lake State Park, NY
The Big Lake is finally skimmed over at one end
What better way to start off the New Year
than to go on the First Day Hike at Moreau Lake State Park?
Parks all across the state of New York are participating in this new tradition. We were even presented with spiffy little fleece hats with the NY Parks logo on them.
Later I found out that this was a part of a national initiative from America's State Parks, with over 400 hikes scheduled this year in all 50 states.
There was quite a turnout at Moreau Lake. Group size had to be limited, and thus some folks were actually turned away.
The day began cold but sunny. We walked all the way around the lake, mostly along the shoreline. In a year of normal water levels, this wouldn't be possible.
Andy, the new intern, officially led the hike.
Rebecca, the Park Educator, brought Abby along too.
Abby the chilly-dog
Besides myself, there were several other members of the Friends of Moreau Lake State Park. We took the opportunity to point out some of the great things about the Park, since for some of the hikers, it was their first visit.
At the end of the circuit around the Lake, Dave awaited us in the Warming Hut, with hot mulled cider and other treats, to be enjoyed by a toasty fireplace.
Volunteers keep the Hut cozy on winter weekends
Jackie and I visited here repeatedly in December ... waiting for ice to form so that we could see the bubbles in Bubble Bay, or for a good snowfall to reveal animal tracks. But so far, it has not been a typical Adirondack winter.
Temperatures so far this season have wavered back and forth between cold and unseasonably warm, with very little snow.
Although there is cloudy grey ice on the shallow and sheltered Back Bay, the Big Lake has yet to freeze over completely.
Today there was a fresh layer of skim ice over two-thirds of the lake, and a big area of open water by the Fishin' Bridge.
The rains of Christmas melted what little snow there was on the ground, making for a dull brown landscape.
Huge frost crystals emerge from the earth
but there was a winter like this back in Thoreau's day, too.
He loved to skate on the river, wade through the snowy woods, and admire ice along the brooks. You can hear his disappointment in a journal entry of December 1855:
scarcely any ice to be detected.
It is only an aggravated November.
Nevertheless, it's great to be outside with other folks who can appreciate such a fine day.
And we look forward to better days to come.