Thursday, December 11, 2008

wet foot

There's snow on the ground now, it's been there for a couple of weeks. So when I took a walk with my camera this morning I was trying to get some cool winter pictures. I went to a park here in town (which is only about 3 blocks from my house) that has a pond. I was walking along the edge of the ice where the bank meets the pond and saw a cool ice formation out on the ice but near shore. I figured I'd take a picture of it and walked closer to it, still on the snow because I wasn't any too confident in the strength of the ice. When I got close the snow I was on broke and I fell down into the water...the snow had drifted over the ice so when I thought I was stepping on dry ground I was really stepping on ice. It was only shin-deep but it still got my heart going and my feet wet. If I'd have been thinking I'd have taken a picture of my feet in the water - like I sometimes do for this blog. But I wasn't thinking much - just reacting.

This is just down the shoreline from where I had the ice break from under my feet.

I thought that the frost on this leaf was kind of cool

The ice on the pond collapsed a bit (my theory is that the ice wasn't very thick in the first place and when we got some snow it pushed down on the ice) and when it collapsed it meant that the water under it had to go somewhere so it flooded on top of the ice so the snow on top of the ice melted and then refroze as ice. (This reminds me of the time that I was XC skiing across a lake when I noticed that my skis were dragging more than usual. I looked down and they were covered with slush. It's kind of disconcerting to be in the middle of a lake and have water getting onto your feet - even if you know that the ice below the water is plenty thick to hold you up.) All this to explain why the background of this picture looks the way it does.

This time of year there are even fewer golfers on the golf course as there are bikers on the road - so I can get on it to get some pictures with no fear of being brained by an errant golf ball. There is also a stream that flows through and some of the ground near it is spared by the mowers...this grass stem got spared (O sweet irony! the peice of land nearest my house that is sort of untouched is on a golf course. Go figure).

This picture and the one below it are of the same stretch of stream. The one above this caption was taken this morning - the other was taken in January of last winter.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Four seasons

On my drive south from Marquette on the 24th of Nov. I stopped at several places I had stopped at when the weather was different – there was no snow.

I really like living in a place that has four seasons. I actually like winter/cold/snow. On another note on the subject of winter: I signed myself up for an winter endurance race that is held in northern Minnesota on the Arrowhead trail that is 135 miles long. The race covers the whole distance. You have a choice of whether to do it on skis, running, or on a bike – I'm going to do it on a bike. Wish me luck - I'll need it. It's going to start at 7 am Feb. 2nd and will finish after 60 hours, which is the cutoff time (hopefully it will take less than 60 hours but it may take me more than 24 hours to finish). I'd be happy to post some pictures on here of my training if anyone is interested.

This is a picture of some ice on the middle fork of the Ontonagon River at Bond Falls. The Ontonagon is a small river but Bond Falls is pretty big.

This is a bigger picture of Bond Falls. As you can see it's not a single sheer drop – it's more like a closely-spaced series of mini waterfalls that're about 3' high on average.

These are some icicles that formed on some rocks alongside Lake Superior. I managed to get this right after sunset. This picture was taken as a wave was coming in but if you time it right – when the waves are out so there's no water – you can quickly dart around this rock sticking out onto the sand on the other side. OK this is hard to explain...from above the rock would look roughly like a “V” with the point close to the water's edge so that when a wave comes in it gets wet and between waves it's dry. There's sand on either side of the “V.” Time it right and you can quick run from one side of the “V” to the other between waves.

These are the “dells” of the Prairie River. I have a pretty good idea of what a “dell” is but I looked it up in my Merriam Webster's Collegiate Dictionary so I could explain it better (if a better explanation is necessary). It says, “a secluded hollow or small valley usually covered with trees of turf.” There, happy now? But I was curious what the difference is between a “dell” and a “glen” so I looked it up. Merriam Webster's Collegiate Dictionary says that a glen is a “secluded narrow valley.” That should clear it up.