Showing posts from 2018
Barton High Cliffs Sunday I hiked into the Barton High Cliffs with the ADK. This was a bushwack - no trails, no markers. We made our way with compass, GPS and the instinct of people who had been here before and knew the woods. The woods was snow covered. Ice filagreed the streams. Icicles hung in muted blue and jade from rocks. Great fingers of ice stretched down from the cliffs. Winter still had her way here and I was grateful for her presence. The view from the top of the cliffs is expansive and treacherous. Getting too near the edge risks rocks giving way from beneath my feet. Peeking through the trees, holding tightly to a pitch pine seemed safe enough. A raven called and soared unafraid of the height and edge. He dove and climbed and mastered the windy heights. We enjoyed the views and the drama of the cliffs and made our way down into the gulf below. The descent was tricky. Snow and beech leaves made the going slick. Butt slides teach humility and caution. Besides they'r
A few weeks ago I went on a full moon hike at 5 Rivers in Delmar. As the night got cloudy, I got a peek at the moon driving over there. I was early so I sat in the car contented to have missed some of the crazier traffic. About 15 minutes before the center opened it started to rain. First a sweet, gentle spritzing then a downpour. I laughed, well Mother Nature is canceling this hike! The center opened and the naturalist was enthusiastic and hopeful that the rain would stop or at least let-up and we could proceed.  Actually, it did! Twelve excited humans went out into the night to experience the mystery of the woods in the dark. Owls had been heard and beaver seen on the previous night in the full splendor of the moon. Would we be so fortunate on a cloudy night? The incredible thing about being out in the dark is that our eyes really do adjust and things begin to come out of the shadows!The r ods in our eyes do not reach their maximum sensitivity for about half an hour. But cones tak
It has been too long since I posted. The weeks passed and surprised me - it has been well over a month!  Winter has waned and then returned with a vengeance. Icy trails and mud replaced a snowy path for skiing. At Grafton a few weeks ago the trails were a mix of dirt and ice. Microspikes are a blessing! As I made my way around Long Pond, the pond spoke in cracks and groans. At times it sounded like the rumblings of an empty stomach. I imagined a water- being under the ice, groaning for the coming of spring, moaning to be released from the prison of ice.  The ice on Shaver Pond was still 8 inches deep. I walked the length of the pond and talked to the ice fishermen who were squeaking out one last day before the ice would be unsafe. A perch and pickerel had been the catch of the day. Even though I like eating fish, I always feel bad for them as they are jerked out of their homes into a world where they can't breathe. The sufferings of other species often go unnoticed as we humans e
  Sunday was a glorious ski on the Foxy Brown Trail in Piseco. The day brought a bright blue sky and bone-chilling temperatures of zero degrees. The winter woods is a mystic place. Snow and ice crystals clung to the trees and were dazzling in the sunlight.The earth is blanketed and slumbering.  Animal tracks tell stories in the snow. I got to see some otter tracks - a first! The creature walked a bit, dragging its tail, then slid in the snow. Otters are so playful! There were also tracks of mice and rabbits. It feels like you can enter their world and walk with them on their journeys.                                                             Silent stories in the snow of mice and men and creatures in between. Common tales of tiny prints, seeking shelter, seeking food. Long shadows cast: tree and bush weave their yarns. Snows drift in flowing waves- voiceless myths embrace the land. Ice holds council with rock in hushed whispers,  shares the lore of eon
I spent time with my family in South Jersey over Christmas week. We were greeted every day with huge flocks of "blackbirds" mostly grackles. When I googled this phenomenon I found that this massing of the birds happens regularly. The birds are on their way south but stay around until snow cover prevents them from feeding. The grackles did make a din. Their wing beats and movements created a constant swishing sound. They chattered and then fell silent. Thousands of them. They moved to the oaks in my sister's woods, to the cornfield behind my other sister's house. The black cloud rose in a swarm depositing birdie "gifts" as they flew. People were amazed, but also fearful. There was real annoyance over the droppings on cars and decks and steps. Folks said it was eerie and reminiscent of the movie, The Birds.  Some folks shot off guns to scare the birds away. I enjoyed the movement, the murmurations. I enjoyed seeing a huge flock of wildlife, perhaps like thin