Another hike at Quail HollowPosted: January 30, 2012
The male cardinal paid us a visit this morning. He’s being quite cooperative this year, allowing me just enough time to catch him with the camera. I almost (just missed!) caught him and the Mrs. sitting together like the lovely couple they are. They were at and near the feeder just as the sun hit the wildflower meadow so that the background of my photos is lit up with a lovely shade of golden-yellow.
Did you have a good weekend? I did. Sunday, especially, was most enjoyable. Hiking, spending time with family, knitting (and another knitting lesson), cooking, talking, laughing, eating, and then hanging out with M after everyone else had gone.
When we woke up yesterday morning, the sky was the most amazing shade of blue. The sun was shining. And it was in the 20s. Perfect weather for a hike at Quail Hollow.
With all the rain and melting snow we’ve had, going for a hike when the temperature is in the 20s means the ground will likely be frozen instead of soggy and boggy. It’s much easier to hike on a hard ground than one that moves as soon as you put pressure on it.
If you stay on the main trail (pictured above), the state of the ground doesn’t matter too much since it is paved. It is, however, the only paved trail in the park, and only 2000 feet of it is paved. That’s not much of a hike for us. The other trails go through forests (deciduous and coniferous), marshlands, peatlands, meadowlands, and a tall-grass prairie. Most of what were once small kettle lakes formed by glaciers are now classified as bogs and marshes. You can also find a few ponds and a creek.
In the winter, when we have a goodly amount of snow, you can cross-country ski at Quail Hollow. M and I first learned to ski there two winters ago. We rented skis and struck out on our own with one instruction from the volunteer at the ski rental place in the Manor house: “Loosen up.” We were advised not to ski like a couple of stiff, Frankensteinian monsters. Relax, bend your knees, and most of all, have fun. I think I was a better skier when I didn’t know what I was doing.
As you can see from the photos, winter ain’t what it used to be. We would normally have a good snow pack on the ground by now and it would be highly unlikely that we would see the grass again until March or April. Hiking has become our winter sport this year.
M and I decided to hike around the meadowlands and the tall-grass prairie where there would be plenty of sunshine to keep us warm and happy. This required going through some woods first to get from where we parked to where we wanted to go.
It’s difficult to tell from the first few photos how cold it was, but if you look closely at the creek you can see ice along the edges. I stopped to take a few close-ups of the water and the ice.
I’ll have more about the hike tomorrow. In the meantime, just to show you how contrary the weather is around here lately, here’s a view of the pond yesterday afternoon, only a few hours after our hike.
It didn’t last long. Two bands of snow moved through and just before sunset it looked like this:
Tomorrow it will be in the 50s. Go figure.
Thanks for visiting me here in the Bogs today. I hope you had a great weekend and a fabulous start to the new week. 🙂