A North Country Almanac: February

A N.C.A. diary entry, of sorts:

2/2: Went on a winter hike up Bald Mt. in Old Forge with two other people; it was an outing for a “winter wilderness survival” Adventure Club session I led this past month. And it was an absolutely perfect day for the hike. It was relatively warm for February, clear, snowy enough to be pretty but not so as to render the hike too difficult w/o snowshoes. We kept catching glimpses of snowmobilers racing about on the frozen lakes far below, like many silent beetles busy about their wintry day activities, as the view opened up on that side. Views from the other side of the trail afforded lovely sights of nearby slopes, covered with trees bare but for their snowy garments, letting one see a lot more of the side of the hills than is possible during other months when deciduous trees still have their foliage. There was a fire tower on the top of the mountain that rendered an even better view of the surrounding area.

2/6: It crossed my mind earlier today as I was out cross-country skiing behind our house, taking my time, that perhaps I should be calling this series A North Country Diary instead; thus the experimental entry-like style of this post.

Valentine’s Day, 2/14: Watched a you-tube video of an avalanche in Austria at a friend’s house, after seeing a “mini” one – sort of – come off of their roof. I’m glad we don’t have any of those around here! The force of the flow was so strong that it uprooted several trees in a row, one by one, and bulldozed a shed. It did, as my friend pointed out, truly look like a river of snow – a slow-moving, slushy, but powerfully-churning river.

2/15 and 2/16: Ample amounts of x-country skiing up at a camp just within the Adirondack Park borders this weekend. It was so pretty and peaceful in the woods, with all the noise muffled by snow, and the tree branches cloaked by them. We skied a bit on the frozen lake, too, which was fun, but not as good as skiing on the wooded trails. On one of these trails on Saturday, we espied what we think was a pileated woodpecker; it was huge and definitely a woodpecker, though not necessarily a pileated kind.

2/17: Went to even further northern country, to Canada, to skate on the Ottawa canal for one of my sister’s 14th birthday! Skated the whole thing, 7.8 km 1 way, w/ two of said sisters. (We didn’t do one loop on the way back, so it was about 15 km in total, or about 9 miles). Took us about an hour and a half or so to skate the whole thing.

2/18: The sky was a beautiful blue preparing to deepen into dusk as I was leaving a place called Maple Ridge this evening at about 5:30…prettiest I’ve seen since fall! There IS hope for Spring after all!!

2/25: Woke up to the sight of a sickle moon and a bright planet (I’m pretty sure it was Venus) just to the east of it in a gradually blue-ing sky early this morning.

2/27: On this second to last day of the month, we got a lot of lake-effect snow in a short amount of time; local schools closed early. (It’s been quite an eventful winter on that score.) It’s still blowing and snowing now as I type.

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