This morning, I visited the Roy H. Park Preserve, where it was cold and snowy and so beautiful. We got a new layer of snow last night, and I was the only person leaving tracks in these woods this morning.... What a wonderful thing, being alone in the snowy woods.
But of course there were plenty of other creatures (besides me) in the woods. I startled two deer and a rabbit at various points in my walk, each of which bounded off showing white tails. One deer gave a loud snort before it escaped through the trees; look, there's a deer leaping away back there:
A couple of flocks of Black-capped Chickadees were foraging and chattering. (More and more, I'm growing to love the sound of chickadees at work.) Some of the chickadees were checking out a big tree filled with old apples:
I don't know whether this chickadee was picking at part of the apple itself, or perhaps there were insects hiding at the apple's end, but either way there must have been something delectable here:
And all throughout the woods and fields, there were tracks from various animals moving around, lots of tracks just since the last snowfall (that is, since last night). There were canine tracks (coyote perhaps, or maybe a loose dog), deer of course, squirrel, and tiny dainty tracks I'm guessing were left by a mouse, with its tail dragging in the snow in places:
The big conifers in this preserve looked imposing in the snow:
And a grove of Quaking Aspen was lovely and stark:
A small stream near the beginning of the trail hosted tiny dangling ice sculptures at its edges:
While the gorge cliffs further along the trail made for much grander ice formations (note the tree above the ice for scale):
I'm definitely impressed by these layers and curtains of ice, even though I could only see portions of them through the trees:
At one point along the trail, I peeked over a ledge to see the most beautiful snow-covered valley:
I am so happy that 2016 landed me here in central New York, and I can't think of a better way to end the year than with a walk in these wonderful woods. I'm looking forward to many new adventures in the year to come!