Sunday, March 28, 2010

Walkable Winter

Yesterday, March 27, 2010 - I woke up to 9 degrees F. and sunny skies.  This was a perfect day for a Spring hike as the remaining snow piles (which are always blocking the open paths) would be frozen solid.  Today, it was low 20's, cloudy and windy - not as pleasant but quite "walkable". 

The frost is slowly coming out of the ground with tiny mountains of needle ice crystals being crushed under your feet  (see image). You still need to watch for the collapse of a frost heave along the trail.  In the middle of my hike with Milos, I realized that this was one of the best winters for getting outside in years.

We had early snow which was never too deep for dogs, nor too powdery for snowshoes.  The lows were always bearable and the wind mild.  I can only think of 2 weekends that kept me totally in the house. I declare the winter of 2009-2010 walkable!

Wonder what mud season will bring?  

Sunday, March 07, 2010

Slush Puppy Spring

Last week I was in Phoenix, AZ for 4 days - what a difference from the northeast.  The daily highs were in the 70's and the nightly lows dropped to the mid-50's.  It was nice to step out the door without a coat - and the warmth of the sun certainly felt great.  But, this morning I hiked with Milos in the slush puppy season of Maine and decided it was much better!

Definition of Slush-Puppy Season.
When the top several inches of the snow pack turns into a crystaline icing which "slushes" as you shuffle along on your snowshoes.

Every morning the trails from the night before evaporate in the sun leaving a pristine covering of sparkling white.  Each new hike is like the first following a snowfall, but you don't need your hat and gloves, just a light jacket will do.  The birds are singing (Phoebes were literally shouting from the trees) and the breeze has the feel of Spring.  Mud season has not yet got its slimy grip on the world. It is perfect!

And one of the many reasons I love living in Maine.