Weekly Walk: Fresh snow makes the trails pristine
The Weekly Walks for March 1-2, 2016
The 4 p.m. Tuesday hike, reported by Norwin Watson:
It was still snowing. The hike was canceled.
The 10:30 a.m. Wednesday long hike, reported by Marvin Herman:
Although we were somewhat surprised at the fresh new snow that had accumulated in the last thirty-six hours, the enthusiasm for hiking was not dampened in the least. Temperatures at the U.S. Highway 12 meeting place were in the high teens to low 20s at the start of our hike. We went north on the Ice Age Trail toward Duffin Road, bushwhacked to the right at the pines for a return trip along the horse trail, then over the berm to Sherwood Forest Road and an easy walk back to the parking lot.
The entire hike was just short of five miles, and the 15 hikers participating all thought it was an invigorating experience. Most of us wore ice grippers since there was no way to know what the surface was like under the snow. We stopped at Russ's bench for a breather and a remembrance of our departed pal. Discussions were had about a proposed planting at the site and that is being taken up with the IATA chapter which will finance the project. After the hike, most of us reassembled at the La Grange General store for soup, sandwiches, and socializing.
The 10:30 a.m. Wednesday short hike, reported by Ellen Davis:
It was cold, damp, and windy as our group gathered at Highway 12. We decided that a hike on the hilly John Muir Bicycle Trails would not only protect us from the wind, but also show off the new snow to the best advantage. With Jake in the lead, 10 short-hikers set off clockwise on the orange trail, through one to two inches of fresh snow over ice. No-one questioned the necessity for hiking poles and ice cleats today.
Shortly after leaving the trailhead, those of us at the end of the line noted that the pines edging the trail were decorated with tiny half-inch diameter perfectly round snowballs so nicely placed in the needles that it looked as if it had been done by a professional decorator. We passed “Robert's Revenge” and started down the hill toward the kettle pond. At least one hiker had passed this way earlier in the morning: the trail held two sets of large footprints – one human, one dog. After a brief stop at the bench for a snack break and a look at the pond, we went on to the next intersection where the man- and dog-footprints took a different route.
This section of trail was pristine. The snow was so white that the shadows of trees looked almost blue. Fresh tracks abounded – rabbit, fox, coyote, mouse, deer, and squirrel. The path led us through the woods, across the gully, and onto a narrow path cut into the steep hillside above the other side of the kettle pond, then angled gradually upward through and around the hills. As we passed a deep kettle sporting numerous fallen trees, one hiker humorously suggested it as a potential location for a bowl game. Another hiker noted that adding more fallen trees would make for a more interesting game. We pondered this as we approached “The Stinger” and the intersection with the white trail.
Through the pines and back to the trailhead on the white trail, our tracks joined those of several others. Mark's GPS indicated that we had traveled 2.95 miles. Warm and invigorated, most of the group adjourned to lunch at the La Grange Country Store.