Friday, March 27, 2015

A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

We went for a hike up in the woods behind our property this afternoon, and it was great.  The sun was shining in a cloudless Minnesota-blue sky, the temperature was in the mid-20s, and there was no wind.  (Imagine that!) 



Although it may look as if Papa Pea is packing enough provisions for a two-week trek, the only thing he had in his backpack was our snowshoes.  When we started out, we didn't know what snow conditions would be in the deep woods so took the snowshoes in case we needed them.  We didn't.  The level of snow was much lower than we had expected and frozen enough for us to walk on top of it in our boots.

The slightly treacherous part of the hike was that about half the trail was ice covered.  The trail we were on runs east and west, but the land slopes down from north to south.  So, much of the melting that has already occurred formed very slipery ice over much of the territory we covered.



We saw lots of animal droppings and tracks including these pictured above with my boot in the photo for comparison.  We have no idea what could have made these unusual looking prints.

About half the trail was right along a ravine that has a little creek running in the bottom of it.  Very picturesque even though the water was still frozen solid.

It's really a lovely time of year to be out in the woods.  No bugs, it's easy to dress warmly enough (without being too warm) for hiking, and you see so many tracks and trails that the wildlife uses.  With no shrubbery leafed out, visibility through the woods is at its highest.  The fresh air, exercise and oxygenated blood pumping through our veins weren't bad either.

22 comments:

Sparkless said...

All that and the sunshine and extra vitamin D must feel like a tonic after your tough winter. Glad to hear spring is rolling in now.

Sue said...

I'm so envious. We had mid 20's as well, but the winds were horrible.
Looks like a snowshoe hare print.
They can be up to 6 inches long.
Have a good weekend

Kristina said...

Looks like good old fashioned fun! I can't wait to get out to hike at the state parks. It's good exercise too.

Sandy said...

Mama Pea,

I remember those beautiful cold days up in the U.P. We would go out hiking as you and your husband. It made for a wonderful day, and you felt like a new person with all that fresh air.

Oh.....I know whose prints those are.....it the infamous jackalope ........LOL!!!!!!

Carolyn said...

Yeah, I guess I WOULD have gone on a hike like that, even with snow & ice and below freezing temps. It must have been beautiful. As for the prints, I was going to say snowshoe hare, but I have NO idea how big they are and by the size of your foot, it must have been a alien monster one? What else would have evenly spaced feet? We there any front foot prints (maybe too much ice for the front feet to register?) Now I'm perplexe and hope you do your homework and let us know what animal that was!

Lisa said...

Sounds like a fantastic day! There's nothing like hiking your own property and enjoying nature! And what a treat to have so many nature detective signs in the snow. Now inquiring minds really do want to know what those tracks are. I'm with Carolyn.... how odd they are evenly spaced. I thought snowshoe hare too... but that would be one mighty big rabbit! Hey... Bugs Bunny?!!!!!!!

Nancy po said...

Looks like fun! We're slammed with tons of yard work with an early spring :) Love the new header photo!!!

Mama Pea said...

Sparkless - Up until an hour or so ago, we had lovely sunshine again today. I wanted hubby to drag a couple of deck chairs out onto the deck so we could sit in the sun . . . but when I stepped out to see how it felt, it was actually too could to sit out comfortably. Just 32 degrees. Brrrr.

Mama Pea said...

Sue - Even though those were to only two prints we saw, I think you must be right. Good weekend wishes to you, too, friend!

Mama Pea said...

Kristina - We're so fortunate to have the woods right out our back door in which to hike for miles and miles. Actually, a couple miles yesterday was adequate for me!

Mama Pea said...

Sandy - Jackalope! That's what they were, jackalope!! :o}

Mama Pea said...

Carolyn - I've come to the conclusion it was a jackalope as Sandy suggested. (Just kidding.) Since we saw no other tracks (crusted snow) I'm thinking it must have been a snowshoe hare that sat there (on his hind feet) for a while. And maybe the reason the prints look so big is because his body heat melted the snow a bit around his feet. Think that could be?

Mama Pea said...

Lisa - Well, now I figure we have a jackalope AND Bugs Bunny running around in our woods. Let all the other creatures beware!

Mama Pea said...

Nancy po - Aren't you the lucky ones to actually be getting an early spring! That will happen to us, too . . . someday. Sigh.

Thanks for the comment on the header photo!

DFW said...

Looks lovely and I bet you really enjoyed being out in the sunshine. I remember being concerned about your late spring last year but you did what you do best & put in a great garden after it was warm enough. I've never lived north of the Mason Dixon line so I had no idea that people could start gardens that late.

Mama Pea said...

DFW - Our season is short, no doubt about that, but our days of light are long. When my folks used to come visit us from Illinois in the summer they would always comment on how early it was light in the morning and how late we still had light at night. Still, spring planting weather never comes soon enough to suit me!

Leigh said...

How great that you have those woods! The snow - not so great, but the hiking looks lovely. I have no idea about the footprints but somebody somewhere ought to have some sort of ID site or book!

Mama Pea said...

Leigh - I'm pretty sure the tracks had to be from a snowshoe hare who sat hunkered down on his haunches for a few minutes. (Or Sandy's jackalope! Hee-hee.)

Rain said...

What a nice afternoon hike. I'm looking forward to the wind dying down a little. I have to admit, my tolerance for cold wanes every winter these days, I can only manage to get out and fill the bird feeder! But I guess I more than make up for it once May arrives. Glad you had a nice day :)

Mama Pea said...

Rain - Ah, yes, that darn wind. We've got it going full force again this afternoon. Had about 2" of snow this morning, then the temp rose to the low 40s and the wind started. We need the moisture but would just as soon have had rain today!

Susan said...

There is nothing like bright sunlight to make you feel better - even if you're dealing with snow glare. I shuffled outside yesterday for 5 minutes of sun, then shuffled back. This really does seem like the latest spring of memory...

Mama Pea said...

Susan - You're having such a late spring because of the 56 feet of snow you got over winter! Takes a while for all that white stuff to melt enough for you to see the ground.

Take care of yourself, girlie. Sounds like you got a whopper-doo of a cold. Shuffle slowly and don't over-exert too soon.