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Friday, February 19, 2021

Another Snowshoe at Tobyhanna Lake

It seems that, the more it snows, the more we snowshoe around Tobyhanna Lake.   For us, who are used to vagabonding around and never doing the same thing twice in the same place, this is new behavior.  However, we find we love the beauty of Tobyhanna Lake in every season, and -- to our surprise and pleasure -- few enough people frequent the Loop Trail at the lake that we rarely meet anyone where we have to worry about Covid masks.  In addition, the Loop Trail is a little over 5 miles, which lets us choose our distance depending on our goals.

Today we decided to snowshoe four miles.  We didn't circumnavigate the entire lake, because, frankly, the snow was deep enough that we would not have enjoyed the last mile.  Still, the new snow, which was still falling as we snowshoed, made it deep enough that we got a great aerobic workout and felt well-used by the end of our trek.

Here is our obligatory trailhead photo.  Normally, the lake has a couple dozen ice fishermen on it, but today we spotted only two.  The deep -- and deepening -- snow, together with the fact that it is a weekday, probably kept them away.

This was our first outdoor adventure since David's 70th Birthday Weekend, when the family made the drive up to stay with us for a few days.  Over the weekend, our first snow activity was to help William knock the HUGE icicles from the eaves of our cottage:

Next in order of business had been a snowtubing extravaganza, where Katie and William --

-- and then Matt and William --

-- joined us flying down the snowtube hill at Camelback Mountain!

The third big snow adventure was, according to the list of activities William planned for the weekend, the building of a Snowwoman, complete with baseball cap, mop hair, icicle arms and fleece gloves.  Here, two of the artists are posing with their creation:

But, again, as so happens in our life, we digress.  (You might argue that our retirement has been one long chain of digressions.  By the way, can you digress into the truth?  Send us your answers to that conundrum.)

Today, on our snowshoe, the newfallen snow covered up nearly everyone's tracks, but for the parallel lines of two cross-country skiers who passed over the new snow sometime earlier today.  We never saw them, but we accompanied them down their track:

We stopped at all of Ruthie Puppy's and Maggie Puppy's favorite spots, including Ruthie's lakeside bench, which was nearly completely buried, and this little stream where the puppies frolicked on an autumn hike we did with them and Katie:

Our favorite wetland on Tobyhanna Creek, about a mile into the snowshoe, was more snow- and ice-bound than we've seen it so far:

Today, we bypassed the campground and continued around the Loop Trail, marked by its characteristic blue blazes, modeled, in turn, by Kathy --

-- and David:

After two miles, we stopped for lunch.  We just plopped down in the snow and rested our legs.  The hot tea was as delicious as our lunch food:

After lunch, it was a replay of our outbound trek, but in reverse.  We stopped at a snowed-in bench at the beach near our parking lot, where Kathy rested her weary legs:

We had considered spending this afternoon shoveling the 5 or 6 inches of new snow, but we decided that that will be a great exercise for tomorrow.  For now, we're content having a tasty beer, working on this blog entry, and catching up on news, both sad and glad.  We worry about people, including friends, who are snowbound in Texas.  We enjoy the excitement of the Mars Perseverance rover and imagine ourselves preparing to hike over that arid terrain that Perseverance will have to navigate to finish its exploration.

Stay thirsty for adventure, my friends.


We had warming weather, then subfreezing, then 6 more inches of snow.  William's snowwoman has become a Snow Zombie:

Friday, February 5, 2021

Breaking Trail at Kurmes Paradise Creek Preserve

 Friday, January 5, 2021

Hi Blog!

We woke up this morning to more snow! We've been pretty good about cleaning off the driveway before going out to play, but today we decided to just give up. The snow will still be there when we get back. The flurries were still flying when we reached the trailhead to the Kurmes Paradise Creek Preserve, near Mt. Pocono, Pennsylvania and Tobyhanna, where we are staying this winter. The parking lot had not been plowed since the weekend's three foot snow dump. Lucky for us, the plow truck did plow the shoulder of Devil's Hole Road just wide enough that we could park off the street. 

We were excited to see that the trail was unbroken. We would get to make first tracks!

We haven't seen this much snow since snowshoeing the mountains around Prescott, Arizona. Even with snowshoes on, we sank deep in the powder.

As we made our way down the trail toward the creek, the fir trees and rhododendron bent toward us inviting us to brush them as we passed.

However, not all the rhododendrons were as welcoming. This fellow shouted, "YOU SHALL NOT PASS." Dave ignored the warning and plowed right through. Below, you can see Kathy carefully ducking under the burdened branches.

There are two small springs that make their way down to the creek. We were not sure if we would even be able to see them with all the snow. However, the warm spring water was able to make an appearance.

Being able to see the spring made it easy to find the narrow log bridge.

Once we made it down to the creek, we stopped to drink our hot tea and eat our Reese's Peanut Butter Cups! We've hiked this trail 4 or 5 times since moving into the rental cottage. It never disappoints.

We always enjoy the views of Tank Creek as we hike along the bottom of the trail.

Just look at all the beautiful fluff!

Just as we were leaving the creek, the clouds began to thin and soft sunlight began to peek through the trees.

As we turned away from the creek and began heading uphill toward the parking lot, Dave noticed an unusual formation in the snow - a snowball! There was no evidence that anyone made the snowball. In fact, it looked totally nature-made. It appears that a clump of snow fell from the tree and then rolled down the drift at the base of the tree. Mother Nature must like playing in the snow as much as we do.

With just a quarter mile left to go, blue skies and bright sun traveled with us. This was both a blessing and a curse:  a blessing because the sunlight sparkled off the snow, making a beautiful outing even more beautiful; the curse part, or should I say cursing part, was when the sun melted the snow in the trees and large cold, wet, slushy drops began to fall down the necks of our coats!

As we crossed the parking lot, we looked back on our track. Two miles and more of breaking trail in three feet of snow was exhausting. But, the warm fuzzies of being outside in the fresh air, all by ourselves with only nature's beauty to keep us company made it all worth while. 

As we kicked off our snowshoes, we noticed the largest ice balls we've ever had stuck to the bottoms of our cleats. The snow was so deep, we didn't notice until we left the trail. 

Now that the blog is done, it's time to shovel the driveway -- yet again! After that, it's beer o'clock!

Stay thirsty, my friends.