The past week has been a stretch of fine Winter weather. For some, a bit too blustery, cold and snowy.
And for some of us, just about perfect…
Several inches of natural snow are resting in the neighborhood. Seasonably warm, clear weather over the weekend and perfect snow conditions on the slopes of Elk Mountain and in the neighborhood woods is the perfect setup for enjoying the outdoors.
No plans? Wander over to Trail head at Rail-Trail Office in Union Dale, Pa @ 1pm ,February 18th , Saturday and enjoy a Discovery Walk with Jim Kessler & Winter Bingo. Details at http://www.nepa-rail-trails.org
One way or another, get out and enjoy the best combination of weather and snow in years!
Late morning sun casts through hemlock brightening the surface of icy cold barely flowing creek water.
Just north of Forest City the Stillwater Cliffs overlook the Stillwater Dam along route 171.
This hill is home to about the only granite left in the neighborhood, the rest having been eroded many many thousands of years ago.
Almost half way through ski season, there’s reason for brightening moods. After what seemed like months of skiing in rain on stale snow, this week’s Clippers have once again whitened the neighborhood, leaving almost enough snow for cross-country skiing. Downhill skiing has been extraordinary at Elk this week. The snow crew and nature conspired to give us velvety surfaces to ski on, some mornings dusted with a few inches of natural.
Though the days have been lengthening for over a month, the increased sunlight is finally noticeable. The afternoons shine brightly enough to actually cause one to feel warmth on the cheeks for a little while. Dawn comes earlier and earlier. Now, the first chair lift ride to open the mountain is no longer in darkness.
Soon, mud season will make itself more and more prominent, and we’ll be trying to hold on to the Winter season and all the joy it brings.
But for now, in the heart of Winter, with brightening days and seasonable weather, it’s time to cherish each and every moment.
Optimistic weather forecasts early in the week had me assuring dog that we’d be cross-country skiing on our trails in a couple of days.
Alas, we’ll both have to continue to remain hopeful for an agreeably seasonable February and beyond.
Instead of near a foot of snow, the recent nor’easter left the neighborhood glistening in a brilliant coating of ice.
This view from Skyline Drive in Union Dale shows the Stillwater Dam silvered against the grey hills just north of Forest City.
Coming home from a recent walk with dog, a glance to the side of the trail revealed this acorn suspended in the crook of a tree.
From its current posture, having accumulated some moisture from fallen snow, it looks like water would not be a problem. Sun will be able to reach it fine most of the day. However, there doesn’t seem to be much in the way of nutrients to fuel its growth.
A caprice of nature, or perhaps one of her studied experiments – being merely human, I can’t tell. Odds are, this seed won’t result in a tree growing upon a tree.
I didn’t disturb it, just in case, ’cause you never know…
The trails on Elk Mountain that fall along the northern shoulder of the mountain are not illuminated for night skiing, and so must be closed in the late afternoon by the ski patrol.
This time of year, closing time coincides with the sunset. Depending upon which side of the mountain a patroller is assigned for trail closing, the view may be of the shadowed valley to the east, or an expansive view of Northeastern Pennsylvania and Southern New York to the north west.
This view often presents when one can clearly see the details of distant rolling hills. Sometimes this view is best enjoyed by viewing the setting sun filtered through cold pines.
Descending northward, the Schuylkill trail accesses terrain on the north side of Elk Mountain.
The slope gently runs along a ridge from which the steep pitches of the Wyalusing, Chippewa, and Tecumseh descend.
Whether one chooses to veer right down the gentle Tioga back toward the lodge, or careen down one of the expert slopes farther along the trail, the Schuylkill affords some of the most beautiful scenery on the mountain!
Saw this fellow feeding on some still green tinged grass, exposed by recent warm weather.
Odd thing, this patch of snow was near the top of Elk Mountain! Last year, a muskrat spent several weeks wintering just a few feet from where this porcupine was spotted.
Though sickness could have brought him out amongst people in the daylight, it is not unusual to see many different critters high on The Hill.
Sick or not, we gave this guy a wide berth as he enjoyed some rare late December sun rays, filling his belly with a taste of summer.
It’s not uncommon for limbs and twigs to wear a coating of ice when a rain is followed close on by freezing air.
Sometimes, even after seemingly clear weather, the cold causes the last bit of humidity in the air to cling to any exposed surface.
Such the case last week when temperatures fluctuated above freezing, then plummeted to near zero. The cold air has allowed an extraordinary amount of snow to be made on The Big and Friendly; skiing this week has been spectacular.