Saturday, March 22, 2008

A walk ON the snow

This is a record year for snow. According to the weather channel, we are around 35 cm. (~14 in.) short of reaching the record of the winter of 1970-1971 which was 444 cm. (~14.5 ft.) Trudging through the bush has been quite a work out even on snowshoes. About a week later we had some heavy thawing followed by a freeze so the snow has become rock solid, though still not solid enough to walk on. The boots still go down a good 50 cm into the snow. But on snowshoes it is like walking on solid ground.

Being so high – I would say about a metre ( 3 feet) above the ground, the paths are virtually not recognizable. What one was able to walk under at ground level when there is no snow is now a mere crawl space. But on the plus side I can walk right over much of the brush.

One would suspect that the deep snow would be hard on wildlife as it tries to forage for food. Indeed there were no deer tracks to be found so the deer that have survived have likely moved to their “deer yards” – protected areas where the deer keep paths open and where there may be some food. When desperate enough, deer are known to eat cedar and there is lots of cedar in this area.

The snowshoe hare seems to be doing ok, as there were a number of their tracks to be found. Also there are very many fisher tracks. There were no coyote tracks. I was advised that a neighbour has been shooting them.

In this morning’s walk I found a new butternut tree in the woodlot which I will add to my database. I have walked by it before but never identified it. It must look different when one is standing a metre off the ground.

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