Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Continuing Upwards Toward The Fire Tower

I'd taken my four youngest dogs hiking on a January Sunday to Beebe Hill State Forest in Columbia County, New York. I drove there hoping that the trail would be tamped down enough for me to walk over the snow. The trail was not, but snowmobiles had packed down the snow on the service road. So I found a place to park and began walking uphill toward the fire tower. Daphne and Clover, the two Papillon puppies, seemed to be having a wonderful time:

The trail up to the fire tower is only about 1.25 miles, but walking through the snow was quite difficult in spite of the packing down which had been done by the snowmobiles. A group of three snowmobiles passed us on the trail. They stopped and waited politely while I collected the dogs. Then, with smiles and waves, they were on their way again and the forest returned to being quiet and serene:

We passed signs pointing off in several directions pointing to trails and destinations I'd never noticed before. Maybe I'll try them in the summertime. But for a hiker without snow shoes or skis, they were pretty much impassable in the wintertime:

We continued uphill until we reached a junction with another service road. The dogs trotted back and forth, unsure which way we should go. They just had to wait for me to catch up:

But then we again proceeded with great joy and with flapping ears:

The forest was peaceful and silent:

I saw the tracks of snow shoes along the way:

We continued uphill until we crested a ridge:

And then down into a small, lovely valley:

We arrived at the site of a frog pond, a favorite place for the dogs to play in warmer weather. It's also filled with Wood Frogs in April. Wood frogs are amazing creatures, freezing solid in winter and thawing out in the spring. Seamus smelled something and plowed his way through the snow, sniffing all along the way. Clover followed him, but soon returned to join me. You can see Seamus' path through the snow in this video. At the end, I mention a "big hill" up ahead but it sure doesn't look like much of one in the video. I guess I was just tired and dreading any more uphill travel in the snow:

Though it had been packed down, both Seamus and I were heavy enough to break through the crusted surface and sink into the packed snow. We were definitely slowing down. I'll post more tomorrow:

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