Christmas Eve at Anchor Diamond Park

Earlier today on this Christmas Eve, I strolled through Anchor Diamond Park at Hawkwood in the Town of Ballston.  I craved an extended hike through the woods and the crusted snow and glazed branches helped set the mood for a White Christmas backdrop.

Some scenes from my outing –

Glazed alders along Stonewall Trail

Tranquil stream along Hemlock Trail

Lighted winterberry garland

Merry Christmas!

Happy trails!

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Winter Solstice is Nigh

 

Fall…into Winter

The winter solstice will occur on December 21.

Winter is a great time for birdwatching from the comfort of your own home.  Consider putting up a few bird feeders.  For more info about winter bird feeding, please view my prior post.  Winter is also an excellent time to learn about animal tracks.  View this guide to winter tracks.

The arrival of this new season will mark the return of the shortest days of the entire year.  We should all be prepared to make the most of the daylight hours available.

Here is a list of winter outdoor activities to consider:

Happy trails!

First Snow!

Saturday delivered a light blanket of snow to our area.

Read about how snowflakes form.  View the science of snowflakes.  View a slideshow of photographs of snowflakes.

Speaking of snow, here are some recipes and other ideas for you to consider:

It now looks wintery.  View the countdown to the winter solstice 2017.

I visited Shenantaha Creek Park in the Town of Malta.  The nature trail along Ballston Creek (also named Shenantaha by the Iroqouis, meaning “deer water”) offers several scenic views from the trail atop the bluff along portions of this creek.

View of Ballston Creek from trail atop cliff

Trail through woodland along stone wall

View of Ballston Creek from trail atop cliff

Shale bedrock-lined ravine

Looking upstream along Ballston Creek from where trail descends into flooplain forest

View of floodplain forest (Zim Smith Trail along top of high ridge in distant background)

Panoramic view of Ballston Creek from trail through floodplain forest

In addition to enjoying the beautiful woodland scenes along this trail, I also took the opportunity to do a little winter botanizing, which is more like forensic botanizing in that you look for plant features (such as seed pods or branching patterns) that help distinguish a particular species.

See what I found –

Maple-leaved Viburnum

Shagbark Hickory

Hairy White Old-field Aster

Thimbleweed

Selfheal

Common Mullein

Hawthorn

Christmas Fern

Which reminds me…it’s beginning to look a lot like…(listen)!

Happy trails!