It’s almost the last day of January, and today began just as cold as the rest of them have been. I can’t recall a January with as many sub-zero and single digit days in a row, and there’s been no thaw. The day began right around 0°F, and by noon hadn’t gone much higher. But it was a bright and sunny day; a welcome change from yesterday’s gray and gloomy skies.
This afternoon, in a fit of nothing better to do and needing to get out of the house for a while I jumped into the crusty Jeep and took a ride over the hill to check out Lake Willoughby. I stopped briefly at Sentinel Rock for a look around, but not for long- the wind coming up the hillside gets your attention quickly.
I headed down the hill to the lake, where the ice fishing season is in full swing. There are many shacks and tents on the ice now, and plenty of vehicles parked among them. It’s amazing how fast the ice stabilizes, for just a couple of weeks ago there was plenty of open water, and the sea smoke coming off was fantastic to see.
Travelling down the east side of Willoughby there are many spots where the ice has built up to impressive levels. It looks as if the water was flash frozen as it came down the mountainside, and there are subtle colorations. And some not so subtle?
At the southern end of the lake the cliffs of Mt. Pisgah are right above you, and they don’t look that far away. But they are. I’ve gone up that hill a few times, most recently last year with my son, and it’s a good workout. We’ve been up and down all of the hills around this lake, but never in winter.
I headed back home at this point, figuring to get a little snowshoeing in before the sun was too low in the sky. Strapped on the Tubbs and went across the fields to the east, and then looped out onto the pond for the return to the house. Still breezy, and uncovered skin would start to sting fairly quickly. One of things I enjoy about this time of year is being able to get out on the hard water and see the neighborhood from that vantage point. It’s different.
My timing was good for this walk. The wind picked up out of the northwest and began driving the snow across the pond yet again. There will be drifts in the driveway tomorrow morning, I’m sure.
But the snow devils the wind makes with the cold, granular snow as it comes across the ice are pretty, and fun to watch.