Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Around The Pond

A blustery day left me still wanting to get outside. The dogs sense this feeling and get all wound up. It was a good day to retrace a previous hike, from a few weeks before. That day the sun was never out and after wandering we went to return to our start and ended up traveling in the opposite direction. Not seeing any familiar landmarks I cut in a different direction hoping to hear the highway or road nearby. I cupped my ears and turned in all four directions before I could hear the faint sound of a truck. I assumed I was near the dirt road I had came in on until I walked out on a hill overlooking the highway. On a hunch I felt I needed to head to the right and found some lovely trails leading into a giant hay field. I followed the tractor trail and was soon in the backyard of someone's acreage. I stayed on the outside boundaries so as not to alarm anyone and found the gravel I came in on. I was happy not to encounter any pets since mine were running lose and I had not even brought a leash. Lily walks well on a leash, but Daisy has not been through class or had much training. She ran up and down the road until we came to the parking where I had left my car. I laughed how usually I  might get going in the wrong direction when staring at the ground in search for morel mushrooms in the spring, but on this day marveling at all the beauty nature had to offer. I discussed this with a friend and in a week a package arrived. It had a compass for reading maps on a necklace and a book how to use it. Now if I remember to take it along I can avoid walking an extra two or three miles.

Water lily

Cat Tails from summer
Here follow us, we will lead the way.
That secret trail, the path to enter an new area.
An eye keeping  watch over the pond.

Ice Monet, I shot lily pads here earlier in the year.

Perhaps the wrong shoes for a day on the ice, much better for riding horses.
Water Lily seed pod surrounded by deer hair
The edge of glaciation, do you see a figure?
Not much snow except in areas of deep woods where the sun doesn't get in directly.
The touch of green
In the middle of winter
Might be a treat when seen
By deer along the way.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

A Sudden Snow

 Being the first footprint has been an ideal for many years. I laugh sometimes at being out of dress when exploring the wilderness. I may have taken you to a place you have never been, many times.
 A deer trail well used

Two rocks well placed weeks ago.

Nothing to climbing in this place

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

River Ice Walk

One wrong step could be your last, or maybe making you a little sore and lame. Some tricky stairs and icy trail ahead gave evidence of the recent thaw. The riverbank was a stretch of smooth ice formed, I should have brought my skates. The stairs are at the end of a nice bridge getting you over the stream in the first picture above. It was hard to say which was harder, getting up, or getting down these frozen stairs. They lead to an almost entirely frozen trail so it was best to walk in the snow to the side and exposed leaves. I thought about glaciation and small similarities on my hike this day as the snow and ice moved down the hillside. The dogs didn't care, but a slide off to the river side was often steep and would have been hard to get back up. A trip up the hillside appeared to be less treacherous, but a challenge when coming down another side that had not melted clear of snow. It was 9 F or -13 C on this cold January day, out on the prairie.

Huge slabs of ice dotted the riverbank
Tree shadows streak across the Des Moines River, at Ford's Crossing, along the Mormon Trail.

 Ice squirrel
Flying dog
Still  in one piece, thankfully.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Cold And Windy

The clouds move in and take away any of the sun's warmth. Wind penetrates all of your layers and to maintain warmth you must keep moving on. A steep hill offers a challenge and once at the top one needs to  open a layer, perhaps even take off gloves or hat, and enjoy the view around and below. Snow begins to fall, but only for a short moment and the sun returns. Colors absorb the warmth and the area changes a bit, just enough to catch your interest toward a new photo. It may not be there when you return, or may be totally different when viewed from another angle. Ascending the hill was one challenge and now descending may put one on all fours going backwards so as not to slide and tumble. Little dogs are running around you in circles, finding hidden scents and treasures on their own to investigate. Sometimes when I crouch down for a shot I am met with a lick or just a barrier to get a clear shot as they join me on my hunt for that perfect picture. The pond down below gazes back at us with its cold icy eyes.

Those first tracks in the snow show a path a fox took that crosses my own.

Hickory nuts make me hungry for a cookie