Sunday, February 23, 2014

Harrington Beach Ice

Day 3 (2/23/14)
On the Ice
It was time for us to take our almost yearly outing to Harrington beach for our winter walk or ski along the shore line. I say almost yearly because there have been a couple of years that we haven’t made it. There have also been years where it wasn't that much different than in the summer. This was not one of those years. With our unseasonably cold winter the lake has taken on a whole new look. It looks like a cross between a moonscape and a scene from frozen. As it has been for the last three Sundays the sky was completely blue and clear. The temperature was a balmy 22 degrees when we went out with a slight wind that made it perfect for a winters hike. The shoreline was obscured by mini mountains of ice and snow punctuated with the occasional ice volcano. Due to rains earlier in the week the walking was treacherous. The mounds had a slick covering of ice over the surface which made climbing around on them interesting. As long as you kept an eye on where you were going you could pick your way through troughs between the mounds were some snow had collected. As long as you didn't accidentally step into a crevice all was well. We each managed to find areas where suddenly one leg would disappear into the depths. Fortunately there was never water at the bottom or if there was our leg didn't make it that far. For obvious reasons we were often warned about taking a dog out on to the ice. The biggest danger to dogs are the ice volcanoes or blow holes. On a rough windy day you can see the water shooting up through them like spouting whales.  On a day like today you can peer down in to them. Some of the older ones are frozen over on the bottom. It would take a braver than me to crawl down into some of the larger ones. Eileen managed to get some nice pictures of icicles down inside of one. It is always a treat to see these formations and just about the time you think you have seen it all you find something new. The edge where the ice meets the water can have especially unique formations. After hours of walking and looking we decided to call it a day but were glad that we got out to check it out.
Ice Formation

Sunny Day

Walk the plank anyone

Closeup of Ice Formations

Ice Formations

Miss Adventure crawling into an Ice Volcano


Eileen at Work

Two small ice volcanos

Thin Ice

Some of Eileen's shots down in a Ice Volcano 


An active Volcano

Looking down into a Blow hole

Time to rest

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Tale of two Culverts

Day 2 (2/16/14)
Untouched snow

I was just looking back at my blog and saw that on this weekend in 2012 we were out on the bike trail doing our first builds of the year and there was no snow. What a change this year. On our way out to the trail we were asked by a passerby if we thought there was going to be enough snow to use snowshoes. I told him that I guessed we would find out. It was perfect. The new snow had covered most traces of our previous treks. I wanted to check out some new areas that we had found last weekend and ran out of time to explore. We were not disappointed. We were surprised to see our first robin of the spring although we suspect that it may have wintered here. We also saw some cedar wax wings eating the frozen berries along the trail. Soon after this we left the trail and headed for unexplored areas. It was a little cold and windy out in the open so we skirted the woods as much as possible. Once we got warmed up it really didn’t matter. We continued down until we came to the creek that we had visited last weekend. We then started following the creek back towards the trail. There were areas that we were really glad we had snowshoes. The snow was several feet deep in some places. We crisscrossed back and forth across the creek and explored all the hills and hollows along the way. Eventually we made it back to the culverts under the trail and tracks. We spent a little time checking out these passages and the other side. While we were there a cross country skier went by above us. I am surprised there are not more skiers making use of these trails. My wife and I used to ski them until we got our snowshoes and were thinking that we should try to get out yet this winter. Since getting the snowshoes however they seem to be easier to carry to the trail and we don’t like to drive if we can help it. There is a part of me that is ready for spring but I would like to have a least one more weekend to do a little more exploring.
Eileen just starting out

First robin of the year

Beautiful Day

The Culverts

You are getting sleepy

Very cool Ice

More Cool Ice

Come on Trust me

Culverts old and new

The essential feet picture

Tale of two Culverts
Now where

King of the Culvert

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Snowshoeing the bike trail

Day 1 (2/9/14)
Off to the Trail

Last week we decided to brave the cold and take a walk out on the bike trail. It has been a very cold winter, even for Wisconsin, and hard getting outside to enjoy winter. Last week we wished we had taken our snow shoes. Even though the snow was passable in some areas there were three or four foot drifts in others. After another cold week the temperature was up to 10 degrees and sunny when I got out of bed this morning with a smattering of new snow, a perfect day for snowshoeing. I devised harnesses for carrying our snowshoes out to the trail and set out. When we got to the bike trail we put our shoes on and set out. After about two hundred yards we were already getting tired from the change of motion but an hour later we didn’t want to stop. Soon after getting on the bike trail we found a trail going down into the swamp where some earlier shoer’s had gone and decided to follow it. It followed a ridge that led through an area which wouldn’t be easily accessible in the summer. Eventually it dropped down into a valley with a stream meandering through it. It is always fun to find a little piece of almost untouched nature so close to town. Although we mostly followed the tracks of the other snowshoers we did break off and do a bit of our own exploring. After several hours, much to our chagrin, we decided we had better go home because we had company coming for dinner. We are already planning to get out again next weekend and plan for a daylong outing. We laughed at how tired we seemed at the beginning and how disappointed we were that we couldn’t continue hours later. It is amazing what finding a new area to explore can do for a persons stamina.
Sunspot Baby

New Trail

Nice Birches

Bird swoop?

Drift Climbing

Time to go Home