Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Winter isn't done yet!

The forecast for the next few days! A possible April Fools' Day nor'easter is heading this way!
From NOAA:
"Thursday Night: Rain before midnight, then rain and snow, possibly mixed with sleet between midnight and 3am, then snow, possibly mixed with sleet after 3am. The snow could be heavy at times. Low around 29. Northeast wind between 6 and 8 mph. Chance of precipitation is 90%. New snow and sleet accumulation of 3 to 7 inches possible."
I was out in the Catskills today for work and it was beautiful--sunny and warm, it hit 54 F. This could be the last little storm we see before spring takes hold.

Friday, March 25, 2011

The AT in 5 minutes!

This is great, definitely worth watching!
"Kevin spent six months hiking the Appalachian Trail and has produced the following video, which is aptly named Green Tunnel. The stop motion film was created from photos taken along the route and strung together to give us a sense of what it is like to hike the AT. The result is that we can cover the whole trail in just under five minutes."

Check it out- Hiking the length of the Appalachian Trail in five minutes

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Butterfly garden

Below are a few photos from my trip to the Boston Museum of Science this past weekend, I passed through the butterfly garden and took a few quick photos with my 60mm macro lens. 

Thursday, March 17, 2011

An early spring stroll

One doesn't have to go far out the door in the Hudson Valley to find deer tracks
We've had quite a warm spell lately, it feels like spring has arrived, although I wouldn't rule out the possibility of a cold-snap and more snow, especially back in NH.

Fowler Pond still partially covered in ice

A very gray landscape. The snow has melted revealing an array of grays and browns

What I think is some dead goldenrod

Monday, March 14, 2011

Skunk cabbage-I guess it's true, spring is approaching!

The spathe of the thermogenic skunk cabbage. A harbinger of spring! 

Like most plants with spathes, skunk cabbage (Symplocarpus foetidus) is poisonous. 
Sunday was gray and dreary, but it was also relatively warm, close to 50 F. Since I was itching to get out and move around, I went out exploring on the Cary Property down some of the cross country ski trails behind the cold storage/rearing facility area.
Sadly, most of the snow has melted here in the Hudson Valley
The creeks and streams are swollen from the recent rain and snow melt.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Flooding in the Hudson Valley

 Last week we were hit by a few powerful rain storms, which also had the effect of melting most of the remaining snow. There has been a fair amount of flooding in the region as a result of these recent rain events and warm weather. 
After work, Friday I made sure to take advantage of the warm weather and went for a walk with my camera to check out the flooding in part the 'lowlands' of the Cary Institute, the area west of Fowler Road, which Wappinger Creek flows through. 
Wappinger Creek from Fowler Road
Southern end of the flooded area west of Fowler Rd.

The lowlands as seen from Fowler Rd, flooded. It looks like a small lake or reservoir.
The lowlands at the Cary Institute, off of Fowler Rd, under a foot or more of fast-moving water.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

I love winter

The ash-frame snowshoes I weaved

My snowshoe tracks next to more modern style snowshoes tracks worn by Jacqui.
Me during my last visit home. There was  thick crust on the 2.5 ft of snow, with my snowshoes I was often able to remain on the very top layer of snow. I'm wearing a wool hat my Memere knitted, wool pants, mukluks, a wool sweater and a down vest.
It is my humble opinion that winter is the least appreciated season.

I've spent most of my life living in the northeast, specifically New Hampshire, where winter is often considered to be"long". I constantly meet or talk to people in NH or now here in NY that generally have nothing positive to say about the great white season, except for maybe taking a trip to Florida or the tropics to avoid it for a bit. When I was a kid it was always adults telling me why winter sucked: snow to shovel, a car to scrap or clear-off, slippery ice, the cost of heating, achy bones and cold steering wheels or a million other things. But I also know people in their 60's, 70's, and even 80's who still enjoy winter, and not just from their windows. I know I will never get tired of putting on my snowshoes and mittens to go for a winter walk in the woods, or a hike up a mountain, and I actually enjoy shoveling snow! My love for winter has only evolved and increased since I was a kid, from snowball fights to snowshoeing and winter photography.

Often it seems people are unable to enjoy winter because they are ill-equipped and/or ill-informed to handle the adverse weather conditions. It is impossible to enjoy winter if you can't feel your toes or fingers. Once this basic issue is overcome, winter can open up a new world of outdoor possibilities, there is no reason to be shut inside during such a magnificent time of year!

For me winter means great sleeping weather, crackling fires and wood smoke, the sound of a snow plow grating across the road, annoying frost heaves, naked trees, slow driving, SNOW, crazy black-capped chickadees flying around during snow storms, SNOW, animal tracks, snow covered trees, snow men, icicles, sledding, ice-skating, SNOW, photography, and of course snowshoeing!

Why do I love to snowshoe? This unique and ancient form of travel allows one to venture out quietly into the woods under your own power in conditions that would otherwise make it far too difficult or at least very slow and challenging.

Being out in the woods in winter is one of my favorite experiences. Winter travel offers many great thrills, the forest has a strange and unique feel  in January, it seems more quiet and dormant, animal track and sign is bountiful and easy to spot, and the inherent beauty of a snow-covered forest never gets old.

The rain we have been receiving this week in the northeast leaves me with mixed feelings. I can't deny the slight thrill I get when the mercury gets up to the high 40s, however, I am disappointed to see the snow melt away. Ultimately I am still not quite ready to give up on winter!

Hopefully next week we'll get a cold-snap, and I can once again walk outside in the morning and fill my lungs with refreshingly cold air.

Enjoy winter while it lasts! 

Twig bundle fire

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Back to NYC

Jacqui came down before Christmas and we went back to NYC, specifically Times Square and over to the Rockefeller Center to see the Christmas tree. Times Square was as close to opposite I could imagine to the tranquil feeling one has during  a nice walk in the woods. It was insane, people jammed together on sidewalks as wide a road, billboards, logos, tickers, flashing lights, movie trailers and commercials playing on screens everywhere, it was a commercial madhouse. I didn't get to take any photos while we were in Times Square itself, but a block or two away, near St Patrick's Cathedral, and the Rockefeller Center I did take a few photos. Despite the craziness and the windy weather, it was a really fun trip, and I am looking forward to going back with Jacqui, there are still many places I want to visit.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Cary Institute in March issue of Roll Magazine

There is a great article about the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies in the March issue of Roll Magazine, a local Hudson Valley magazine. Check it out HERE
Also on page 2, there is a photo of an egret I took on the campus a few months back. Read the article, check it out!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Ice Forest

During my drive back from NH yesterday, I watched the powerful rain storm melt away most of the snow, especially here in the hudson valley. When I left Manchester there was still around two feet. But I was disappointed when I arrived in Millbrook and much of the snow we accumulated this winter was washed away. But then the storm became crazier over night turning into a windy sleet/rain/snow storm, knocking out power and covering everything in a thick sheet of ice!

Despite the inherent damage to property and trees such storms can cause, they are also magnificent! Ice-covered forests have a unique, breath-taking beauty. I didn't get a chance to take any photos until later in the afternoon during lunch break, but the trees outside the Cary Institute remained covered in ice.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Dog sitting

A few weeks ago I went back home to Springfield NH to take care of the dogs while my parents were away for the weekend.

Abby is the old lady, but she still has the spirit of a puppy! She has spent countless hours running around the woods with me and my twin brother, on all sorts of crazy adventures. Despite her aching bones she still loves to be outside playing in the snow, looking for rocks she can carry around. She was a real pain to bring camping because if you moved at all while trying to fall asleep she would jump up and expect you to play with her, which usually meant dropping or rolling a rock onto you.

Jake is no longer a puppy (6 or 7 I forget) but he is obsessed with playing catch or fetch with tennis balls, snow balls, sticks, leaves, really whatever you can throw and he can pick up or catch. He is also the fastest little dog I have ever seen. He is also completely obsessed with catching snowballs.

Molly has always behaved as if she was an old tired dog, even when she was a puppy she preferred to lay outside on the porch rather than run around in the muddy driveway with Jake and Abby. However, Jake does get her up and running around sometimes. She also likes to chase my cat, Zena, around the house, which is good for both of them. Growing up me and my twin brother would take the dogs out for long walks through the woods, and she was notorious for just getting bored or tired and randomly turning around and walking home, which is both surprising and impressive since it often meant a mile or two, or more, of random bushwhacking all the way home.

Rock Rimmon Park

While visiting Jacqui in Manchester NH for the weekend, I took some time explore the nearest patch of forest-- Rock Rimmon Park. It is a small hill covered in a oak forest with a rocky outcropping at the top which is dominated by an uncommon species in NH, the scraggly pitch pine.

The trails up were very packed but snowshoes were helpful off the trail. The snow pack was very crusty.
Looking east, the top provides a beautiful panoramic view of most of Manchester.

The Uncanoonucs to the west are also visible.

Friday, March 4, 2011

winter hay bales

The field outside Smith House, on the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies campus