Saturday, November 28, 2015

Sunny winter days are the best!

Our weather has been gorgeous the past several days - sunny, crisp, frosty, very little wind....the perfect winter's day to get outside.  With temperatures hovering around zero (celsius),  it really does feel more like winter than fall .  We don't get many below-freezing days here, and blue skies - at least for a while - are preferable to grey ones.  The ideal winter to me is a few days of sun, a day or two of rain, a few days of sun, a day or two of rain.  Gotta have rain (and snow in the mountains) to fill our waterways and reservoirs for next summer  and because,  y'know, ya gotta have some miserable weather to catch up on those miserable inside chores.

But, while the sun shines, I'm outside - Escarpment Way, Mt. Tzouhalem, Crofton Lake, Swallowfield......even without a hiking dog, I'm out hiking.  Yesterday, it was Swallowfield  with my dogless friend Sally - out to the river and across the estuary.  The reflections in the water were amazing:

On the estuary, the rivulets running to the sea were covered with a crust of ice that extended onto the nearby dried grasses:

The red you see in the above photo?  Rosehips on the wild rose bushes - the grasslands across to the estuary are full of them.  From the trail above, it is like looking at a field of cranberries just before they are harvested.  Up close, it is a cascade of red pods:

The frost on some bushes, despite still-green leaves nearby, made for a wintry scene:

In the shade of a long rock outcropping, an old fence on the estuary is still coated with frost and shadow:

On the hike out,  we took a side trip to the south end of the estuary, a more barren and desolate area yet still beautiful in its own way despite the pollution rising from the mill in the background:

And on a berm on that side was a small arbutus that caught my eye.  Look closely at the trunk, about half way between the ground and where the trunk curves:

Do you see that tiny little growth coming out of  the trunk?  New leaves, green and red, force their way toward the light despite the season.  In this straight-on photo, it looks like the tree (Canada's only native broadleaf evergreen) has a beautiful floral tattoo!

 Back to the main path home, where the winter's sun, low in the sky, cast long shadows through the trees:

And that was Friday's hike.  Today it was Mt. Tzouhalem with my friend Liz and her dog Sasha.  The hoar frost was so thick  it looked like a blanket of snow! But that's a post for another day.

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