“They” are predicting 24-hours of lake effect snow starting later this afternoon. A few early-arriving clouds are practicing off and on, ocassionally allowing sunlight through to add a sparkle to the snow.
The wind is in a particularly creative mood. She lifts great puffs of snow from the branches of the trees and directs the sparkling crystals in swirling dances through the sunlit air. She coaxes a great black cherry bow to play against the strings of a nearby hemlock. She adds percussion – the shushing rustle of a branch full of dry beech leaves, the clacky rattle of a single leaf on another branch. Birds join in… A blue jay’s loud jeer-jeer-jeer, the high-pitched, quiet teet-teet-teet from a small flock of exploring chickadees, a nuthatch’s nasal pnnt-pnnt-pnnt.
Not many animal tracks… a squirrel, a mouse, a deer. Holes in trees capture my attention. Pileated. Bark Beetles. Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers.
Time slips away as I practice taking pictures of nothing in particular with my new lens.
I long for a heavier pack – one filled with tent, sleeping gear, food – so that I might set up camp and stay in the woods tonight.
Access Point #4 to the Finger Lakes Trail is along ASP 3 inside Allegany State Park. It’s a little confusing because the pulloff for parking is on one side of a creek, and the entrance to the southbound section is on the other.
A little ways in, I crossed a snowmobile trail. I saw few sleds which is curious, since it was such a gorgeous winter day.
I posted more pictures on Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/jenniferschlick/tags/tinyhike/
(Cross-posted at http://jenhikes.wordpress.com.)