Wow, it's been over two weeks since we last posted a blog entry! A lot has happened since then: New Year's; Covid-19 getting worse; news of vaccine; skiing; an insurrection; pending impeachment. We're breathless and exhausted.
Still, we need some exercise, and today we looked for a different hike nearby. As it happens, Brady's Lake beckoned to us from the nearby State Game Lands:
We walked over and took our usual selfie at a relatively unremarkable trailhead. Behind us, the trail (really a forest road) stretched north along the shore of Brady's Lake:
It has been cold long enough here in the Pennsylvania Pocono Mountains, that many lakes are frozen solid. The ice fishermen are out in droves on the weekends, and, even today, a weekday, we saw a few hardy souls out on the ice, enduring the cold and wind for a nibble or two:
Along our trail, we noticed that some trees had unexplained markings of blue or red paint. These trees had so much paint that they could have been their own piece of artwork:
Parts of our trail had 2-3 inches of snow, but some areas were nearly bare, exposing what, this summer, had been tall grass:
To our right, uphill from the lake, we saw large swatches of land where most of the trees had fallen. While we assumed it was due to logging, too many fallen trees had been left on the ground, and we wondered if this area had been the victim of a tornado or other heavy winds. In any event, the scene was stark and invited a study in black-and-white:
After about 1.5 miles, we came to a road or path leading left toward the lake. From her GPS, Kathy deduced that the path would take us to the lake shore, and we decided to make that our destination. About a quarter mile along our hike to the lake, we encountered a shallow stream and had to hop across it. The stream was so shallow that parts of it had iced over -- but in swirled patterns reflecting the currents of the little stream:
After admiring the frozen art in the stream, we picked our way across --
-- and reached the shore of Brady's Lake, where David posed on a rocky promontory:
We drank some hot tea, relaxed a bit, enjoying the winter view, and then returned the way we had come.
When we got back to the trailhead and parking lot, we decided to continue on across the dam that forms the lake. As we crossed the dam, we got a better view of some of the ice fishing shacks:
Fishermen have crossed the ice to get to their favorite fishing spots, but so have other predators. This one could have been a large wild cat or very large fox, leaving its single-file tracks in the snow dusting the top of the lake ice:
The Brady's Lake Dam was built in 1915, then rebuilt in 2007. The new dam structure is impressive in its engineering, and, indeed, seems as much an example of outdoor art as some of the most impressive fountains in New York City:
Continuing across the dam, we encountered a few small islands that probably host duck nests in the Spring, but now are simply splotches of inanimate color on the surface of the lake:
Our hike was only 3.5 miles, and took a couple of hours with photo stops, rests to drink tea, and various pauses to enjoy the scenery. It wasn't cold or windy enough to make us uncomfortable, and, once we had gotten about a half mile under our boots, we had warmed up enough to enjoy the hike without discomfort. We drove out the 3.9 mile forest road, through the Game Lands, and another 9 miles back to our Pocono cottage, happy that we're able to hop out to a huge, wild playground whenever we have a chance. It's very important to take these opportunities for recreations and mindfulness in a time of historic stress and anxiety.