Friday, January 28, 2011

Snow, snow, snow

We've had about 4.5 feet of snow in the past month. No reason to stay inside, however. The roads are plowed.

I don't think I've ever seen anything quite like this in Connecticut!

The snow banks on the corners (in this case, a traffic island) are so tall you can't see over them when driving.

Here's the Shelton Lakes Rec Path where it crosses Wesley Drive. Nope, I didn't go on it. Need some really big snowshoes for that depth, and mine are on the small side.

Lots of roofs have been collapsing and leaking, so people are doing their best to clear off the snow.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Roosevelt Forest, Stratford

The Blue Trail off of Pumpkin Ground Road was well-worn by snowshoes this morning. Boots with spikes might work pretty well, but I had my light snowshoes on.

This old bridge has recently been replaced by the one I'm standing on. Good thing, I guess. The swampy area just across the bridge has turned into a deer yard, with tracks all over. In deep snow, deer will congregate in sheltered areas with food and cover.

Lots of animal sign out there. Here are some droppings next to a tunnel.

The deer pawed away the snow and oak leaves looking for acorns...

...and were successfull. Here are some bits of acorn shell up on the snow.

I turned on the red trail, which was not as packed as the blue trail. In fact, it was mostly deer tracks. Definitely needs the snowshoes there.

That's a whole lot of mouse tracks!

I turned off the Red Trail onto this deer trail in an effort to find a geocache.

Oh hey, there it is!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Snow at Shelton Lakes

A pair of light snowshoes made easy work of the Rec Path, especially since someone had been in there with a snowmobile (illegal, but it happens). I parked at the Dog Park on Nells Rock Rd & Shelton Ave because that's the only lot that had been plowed.

I followed the newly constructed Rec Path behind Hope Lake.

It was beautiful, and I got hot using those snowshoes, even with the snow packed down. That's a good workout!

Here's the Indian Cave at the junction with the White Trail. The cave doesn't look like much head-on, but if you go inside the overhang, it's pretty spacious.

This rock appears to have teeth.

The nice thing about parking at the Dog Park is that Biscuit was overjoyed to finally get off the leash and run around in the fenced area with other dogs (both before and after our hike). It's a two-for-one spot if you have a dog!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Fighting the Winter Blues

It's come to my attention that an alarming number of my Connecticut friends are really miserable in the winter. Having grown up in Minnesota, where winters were much longer and more severe (I once took my dog for a walk when the wind chill was -72° just to see what it would feel like), I'm going to offer a few tips on how to make the most of winter.

1. Get a warmer coat. Seriously. Very few people in Connecticut have a proper winter coat. Teens are out waiting in the snow for the bus in hoodies -- hoodies!-- and adults are out in skimpy trendy pseudo-winter coats (like the ones pictured here), proving they are no smarter than their kids.

These are fine if you live in Alabama. Look at the temperature ratings for a coat before you buy it. I have a long down coat from Lands End rated for -35° to -15° that I just love. I am never cold in that coat. In fact, I get too hot while exercising, but it's great for standing around at the dog park or running errands. While you're at it, get some proper gloves and boots. If you're properly dressed, the winter air on your cheeks will feel crisp and invigorating, not cold.

2. Go do something outside every day. Otherwise you will get "cabin fever" and become depressed. I walk a couple miles a day all year long. It's actually more comfortable walking in the winter than in the summer, assuming you have a proper coat, because you don't get all sweaty and overheated. Take up winter sports like skiing or snowshoeing. This is what people in the North do. Otherwise they would shoot themselves.

3. Don't allow yourself to think about spring or summer or anyplace warm until March. That's right, you heard me. You will just make yourself miserable focusing on what you want instead of making the best of what you have. Go into a winter frame of mind - embrace the season! Focus on the good aspects of winter - hey, no bugs or poison ivy, and no need to take two showers every day only to be covered with sweat after 20 minutes. No pollen or mold. You don't have to mow or weed the garden. And the snow transforms the landscape in a rather magical way. Enjoy it while you can!