I celebrated the 20 year birthday of my Volvo 240 (106,000 miles) by washing and waxing it.
The hailstorm we received on Tuesday provided marble sized hail that made pock marks in our hot tub cover.
Sunday we took another hike. Up Kirkland hill, reversing the loop, going out to the logging road, to the old foundation and back through devastation field. In some places the trail flagging we had placed was over our heads now that we lost 2-3′ of snow.
We saw this chipmunk.
Friday afternoon Kathryn and I took a hike around the 3 mile loop that we skied and snow shoed this winter. Needless to say things look different. The daffodils we planted just across the road are in full blossom and are scattered about the woods.
Back by cook out corner there are lots of purple trillium in bloom.
Parts of the ski trail were really wet. Especially so after the record thunderstorms we had earlier this week. We saw this Skunk Cabbage at the start of what is now a the Swamp of Many Flags.
We found these begonia looking plants in a bog near one of the deer stands. After further research we identified them as Marsh Marigolds. Related to Buttercups, but causing skin irritation when handled. We discovered that every part of the plant is strongly irritant, and cases are on record of serious effects produced by rashly experimenting with it.
This winter we re-established our snowshoe & XC ski trails. The enjoyment of snowshoeing is the ability to bushwhack and make new trails. One of the more interesting treks was coming from the top of Kirkland’s Field down through the woods to our road traversing a small gorge.
There was steep slope down to the creek, a steep pitch back up from the stream and a two wire fence to cross.
There was a nice view looking south as I broke out in a pasture.
There were interesting landscapes along the gorge. Definitely worth re-visiting during the spring and also making a trail next winter.
We have been re-creating our snowshoe/ski trails on Pen Bonc. Last week we had a ski party where Kathryn, Skip and Steve skied and Beth, Clint and I snowshoed around our 3.5 mile loop. The trail went from cookout corner across the corn field w/ two stream crossings, up the hill past the recent logging to the old foundation. From the foundation we followed the level logging road to the Pink Property Line Trail to Appliance Alley to Kirkland’s field and down hill to home.
Friday afternoon Skip, Steve and I made a new ski/snowshoe trail connecting Kirkland field to the pink property line trail. Steve brought his GPS and we learned it was .9 mile and 200+ elevation gain from our house to the top of Kirkland’s field. Our new loop added another mile making a nice 2.8 mile ski loop to our existing trails.
Eric and his buddy Trevor are big fans of the Mantracker show, a reality show in which a search and rescue expert on horseback, armed with a local guide, tries to apprehend two contestants before they achieve a finish line ~20 miles away before 36 hours elapse. The contestants have a map, a compass and a 2k head start.
Eric and Trevor’s version started off more like ‘chase me through the woods’, but with the snow cover we decided to change the game.
The boys and I were equipped with emergency whistles and walkie-talkies. They gave me a 15 minute head start as I left tracks through the our 40 acre wood lot. I doubled back a couple of times and found an observation point where I could view them following my trail. I donned my “secret weapons”; a white Tyvek disposable lab coat and white Tyvek pants. I pulled my cream colored wool hat down low and laid down in a snow drift to watch.
The boys were loud and easy to follow. After about 30 minutes they were nearly on top of me when I rose up from the snow drift behind a stump and shouted “Did you miss me boys?!!”
Eric froze like his heart stopped and Trevor started looking for a tree to climb. After their pulses returned to normal we agreed it was the best Mantracker ever. The boys took off for the mailbox as their ‘finish line’. I was unable to catch them and we went in for hot chocolate and a re-hash of the game.
Kathryn had been XC skiing across the road and encountered several new snowshoe trails. We asked our immediate neighbors about them, but no one claimed credit. So we decided to track them down. But 1st Chimchar decided to hijack my down vest for her amusement.
The snowshoe trail branched off our normal “Appliance Alley” trail. Going through the woods made for a pleasant hike.
We followed the trail until it intersected with an even more used snowshoe trail that lead to an old foundation and then it went down the north side of Pen Bonc Hill to Fraser Road.
On my return trip a ruffed grouse exploded from its resting place at the base of a little apple tree. From the looks of the droppings the grouse spent a lot of time resting there before scaring the crap out of me.
I took a snowshoe hike across the road and went past our ‘Cook-out Corner’. It’s looking a little desolate and cold at this time of year. The fire pit is filled with snow. The table is covered with the lawn chairs stacked below. The frame for our tarp is awaiting summer. I had thought about camping overnight here sometime, but it gets a breezy during the winter.
I crossed a corn field that was overlain with mouse tracks and saw this interesting story. It looks like two mice went out on the town for the evening, but only one returned. I am speculating that an owl got one of the mice. Looking close you can see the imprint of the owl’s wings in the soft powder snow.
Finally I reached the top of Kirkland’s Hill where we are usually rewarded by a nice view. I tried to assemble a panoramic to show the view, but it doesn’t do it justice. You will just have to join us on a snowshoe hike to see it sometime.