Sunday, January 29, 2012

Silent Trails

A beautiful sunny day today - 25º with a strong, cold west wind as I set out to capture a shot of the thus-far elusive Wisconsin snowmobile. We got plenty of fresh snow this week, and I was sure the trails would be packed.

Right outside the door, squirrel tracks lead across the driveway towards the ash tree.

Detail of the empty building which stands at the start of the trail.

I see that someone has been here before me - but not today. These prints are several days old.

They turn aside at one point, and lead straight to a plant I was looking at only last week. Wait a minute - those are my footprints! (I can't believe I'm the only human that walks this path. Don't people realize what a great offroad trail we have right here on the edge of town?)

Warm days and freezing nights have put a deceptively firm-looking crust on the snow. At any moment you can break through the crust and find yourself knee-deep (as I did later on in my walk).

The field is lapped by frozen waves.

I seem to take a lot of pictures of this little copse. I love the trail that winds through it...

...and the interesting plants that grow to right and left. Here's one with a rather large seed pod:

These red-twig dogwood grow right on the trail. I'm surprised they haven't been run over by snowmobiles yet.

Speaking of snowmobiles, the trail is eerily quiet. Where is everyone? I thought I'd be dodging them right and left, but no one is out except me.

(Cheated of her photographic prey, the Purple Peril turns the camera on herself. Note the chic crochet headband and the casually windswept coiffure.)

A young moon is rising and can be glimpsed between the power lines.

Almost half-full.

The snow has drifted deeply on the edge of the next field, and I break through the crust at each step, wallowing up to my shins. (I am reminded of The Long Winter, with Almanzo and Cap falling through the snow crust on their dangerous sled trip to find wheat for the starving townspeople.)

Ooh - here's a side trail I hadn't noticed before. Where does it lead?

Past a derelict pickup truck...

...right to someone's back yard. Back to the main trail for me.

It's such a lovely day I decide to go as far as I can. The trail leads past a small quarry (to the left of this photo), up a short rise...

...and down through a long cornfield which contains a hunter's stand and a rather nice tree.

Shorn stalks cross my path at a pleasing angle.

The trail leads down to a road and turns to run parallel with it. I'm at least two miles from home, the sun is beginning to sink, and it's time to turn back.

A good time for a shadow picture - an action shot this week.

Blue-shaded snow under the lengthening shadows of trees.

Contrails, wide and narrow - a picture for Project :: Sky 365.

What would a Micawber Sunday walk be without a wildflower silhouetted against the setting sun?

And one last sunset photo, with clouds looking like ruched ribbon across the sky.

All this time, I hadn't seen a soul. I began to wonder if perhaps it was Super Bowl Sunday and I had somehow missed hearing about it (could I really be that far out of the loop?) Some major sporting event must be keeping people indoors on this lovely day. (I found out later it was the Pro Bowl.)

To each his own. I think I'd rather be outside, looking at trees and sky, breathing the cold crisp air, and enjoying the sound of snow crunching beneath my boots.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~


  1. What a great walk again, and how funny that no one else has been there since you last went. Love the snow waves....

  2. I enjoyed that walk, and the sunset photograph was beautiful.


  3. I'd rather be outside too, especially in such gorgeous snowy surroundings. So hard to choose a favourite photo this week, I like # 16, 21 & 22!
    I enjoyed your story about realising the old footprints were in fact yours. Odd, as you say, that noone else walks there.

  4. Beautiful, beautiful photos. I enjoyed my walk with you in the snow. Thank you!

  5. How serene...away from the noise of sports and all. :-) I often wonder when I hike through our mountains, why I am often the only one there. It's nice to be alone, but I feel sad that others aren't enjoying it, as well.

    You'll have it all to yourself next Sunday too?

    The silhouette pic is my favorite.

    Hey, stay tuned for a make me laugh. ;-)

  6. What a perfectly beautiful walk!!!!

    And what wonderful photo opportunities it affords.

    Ya' know, that some-kind-of-bowl-game wasn't on till evening. Those snowmobilers could have been out in the afternoon! L-A-Z-Y! That's what we'll call 'em. -grin-

    And btw, we did not watch the game. I just know when it was on. Next week is the BIG game! -chuckle- Super Bowl. Go Giants. -grin-

    And no, I won't watch all of that either. Especially will NOT watch the half time show with (gag-spit-cough) Madonna. But the men of the extended family, will watch the GAME!!! It's fun for them. And lots of good food. Fun is good. :-)

    "Books to the ceiling, Books to the sky,
    My pile of books is a mile high.
    How I love them! How I need them!
    I’ll have a long beard by the time I read them."

    - Arnold Lobel

    "Books to the ceiling, Books to the sky,
    My pile of books is a mile high.
    How I love them! How I need them!
    I’ll have a long beard by the time I read them."

    - Arnold Lobel

  7. I don't know how you do it. If it isn't in the 60's around here I think I'm freezing. I figure most of my ancestors emigrated for a better climate. I'm definitely a wuzz.

  8. Did you have your Yak-Trax on? The Goatmother received hers, but we haven't had more snow yet for her to try them out. Love the last shot. You manage to get shots that feel so cozy. Did you see any Hoppits on your walk?:)

  9. Do you know the Heffalump story of Winnie the Pooh and Piglet? Your footprints comment early in the post made me think of that very sweet story. (I think that's the story, anyway.)

    Saw that young moon setting last night, tangled in the bare branches of the neighbor's trees, when I let Oscar out before bed.

    So many of your pictures are frame-worthy! Especially love the silhouetted wildflower. And, of course, the intrepid snowmobile hunter with her (artfully, I would say) windswept hair.

  10. Love the last two shots, but I, too, marveled at you following in your own tracks, the first person to traverse them again! Your world is much whiter than mine right now, for which I am truly grateful, and yet, you take so many gorgeous photos, I miss our own white!

  11. All of the shots are beautiful. I can just about hear the crunch and whispers of the snow.

  12. No sporting fixture would keep me indoors if I had somewhere so beautiful to walk! Love the contrails picture and the silhouetted plant and ... heck, they'll all great pics, brilliant post Sue :D

  13. Beautiful blue skies and snow - really uplifting! We just have low leaden skies and penetrating sleety rain - I live in the wrong part of the world.

    Pomona x

  14. Lovely pictures. The cloud ribbon is my favorite I think.
    Just found your blog and am loving it.


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