Feb. 8, 2004

I know I promised to post ice shots from last week, but I hope you won't mind if I break that promise by showing a couple from this week's expeditions. I guess I ought to stop making promises about what will get posted, since if you don't make them you can't break them.

The snow was a couple of days old by Sunday and had gone through cycles of slight melting and re-freezing, glazing its surface and setting it like a delicate concrete. Junie could walk on it without making tracks, and if I weighed fifty pounds less I expect I could have, too, but whenever I took a step the snow would at first hold up, but then as my full weight bore down would give way, and I would sink an inch or two. It was bright and sunny at the creek we were walking up, but cold, about twenty degrees below freezing at first, and as the day warmed into the teens and twenties the sky also became overcast, although still quite bright.

Ironically, the hardness of the snow made it easy to go up and down slopes since you could make your own secure footholds as you went by driving your toe into the snow if you were going uphill or by digging in your heels if going down.

As we progressed up the creek, I stopped at several favorite photo spots that over the last couple of years I have also photographed during spring and fall. Sometime I'll have to try to put together a presentation that shows these spots in all the seasons.

When we stopped for awhile at an overhanging bluff with ice formations so I could take some pictures, Junie curled up on a frigid rock and apparently was trying to settle in for a nap, but almost right away she started shivering. Since I was still heated up from an extended period of walking and working uphill, I had taken my jacket off (which left me with only a hooded sweatshirt and about four or five t-shirts, plus a couple of pairs of pants). When I tried to spread the jacket over Junie she seemed to take it as something of an insult, because she jumped up right away and went off exploring. Later I spotted her on a boulder high up under the bluff's overhang keeping diligent watch on the approaches to our position, perhaps as if to say, I'll show you who needs a jacket, old man.

As Sunday was the day for a low country hike up a creek, Saturday had been for hiking the highlands, where we found a fresh layer of very delicate snow on top of the hard snow and ice, and where, unlike the valleys below, the trees were glazed with ice, which presented many wonderful photographic opportunities. It was also a sunny day with beautiful blue skies and a stiff wind now and then blowing an isolated puff of a cloud overhead.