Thursday, February 26, 2015

Let's Go! by Morris

Who said that little dogs didn't like snow?
I love snow!
I love to leap and run in snow.

I like to bury my head in snow.

I like finding voles and mices to munch on.  It makes Her holler ICKY!  I think that is the funniest word humans can make. Especially when She repeats it over and over really fast like it will make me drop the 'icky' thing.

If She would just stop one time and try Icky herself, she'd realize it really isn't that bad.
Maybe Her tastes are just not as refined as mine.

She kept telling me that I should take it easy, after all She says I am getting to be an elderly dog.

And my answer to that is.... are only as young as you feel!

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Pewitt's Nest

On the same day we hiked Parfrey's Glen in the Baraboo area, we found Pewitt's Nest.

I was told about the place but didn't really know what to expect and neither did my friend's but they were up to exploring the 'Nest'.

Pewitt's Nest is a nature reserve.  The gorge was formed by Skillet Creek which runs through the gorge.  The water's depth and  strength depends on the rain fall in the area.

We didn't know the history of the place.  Before we walked up the trail we didn't know what to expect.

But we chose a perfect time to visit.
During the summer Skillet Creek runs through it and the only way to enjoy most of the gorge is by hiking around the top of it and looking down from various perches.

The depth of the gorge is supposed to be 30 to 40 feet.  For me, standing in the bottom on top of the frozen felt much taller.

We walked up through the big pool of water.  There had been holes drilled through the ice and we were able to see that the ice was at least 6" thick.

[View from the pool of water ~ next shots were taken from the top of this ice formation]

But we had no idea how deep the pool of water encased in this rock was.  We did get an idea that it was fairly deep as my friend who is 6 foot tall demonstrates with his walking stick.

This point of view was from above one of the first frozen falls.

We could hear the water underneath us and it was a bit spooky sounding.

We made it to the second set of waterfalls and climbed up its frozen surface.

Again, we could hear the water flowing beneath us.

As we moved up the creek the gorge widened.  The hiking was easier also.
Apparently when the creek is flowing, the public is supposed to stay on the trails above the creek.

This is an easier hike to get to than Parfrey's Glen and it is apparent that it gets more foot traffic as it gets more popular.

The rock formations are incredible and quite beautiful.  Well worth the short hike.

The view from the trail on top of the gorge is also stunning.  

I have seen photos of this place taken during the summer and it is breathtaking.

However when I come back to see and photograph it, I'll make sure to come early in the day and in the middle of the week.

We only encountered a couple of other people at Parfrey's Glen, but we encountered many people at Pewitt's Nest.

Perhaps it was because it was much later in the day, but I prefer my hikes to be a bit less populated!

Next on my list are Ableman's Gorge, Baxter Hollow, Durward's Glen, and Fern Dell Gorge ... which is supposed to be very hard to get to.

However that makes it so much more appealing to me.

Until then I enjoy our own natural wonders in the valley and the 'Hollow' or 'Rocky Glens' that we have even though they are on a much smaller scale in some spots.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Parfrey's Glen

I went to meet with a former 4H student of mine who is now ALL grown up...and married!

We've kept track of each other over the years, but finally decided to get together and do what we both love.

They guided me first to Parfrey's Glenn in Devil's Lake State Park.

We came to the cedar grove and began to explore.  The kids were fascinated by the formations of ice. And how slippery it was.  We spent quite a bit of time enjoying the small frozen stream.

I loved the textures and colors of the cedar trees by themselves.
I made a mental note to come back again.

We went on to explore Parfrey's Glenn.

I learned that walking sticks are probably the most helpful item one can have to check your footing before you take a step.

And I found out the hazards of having friends who have cameras also....

This was what I was taking a photo of....

The water was running under the ice and we could hear it and were constantly checking if the ice was thick enough. It was very slippery and I'd wish I'd brought my ice cleats along.

We hiked all of the way up to the falls and then spent time just enjoying the place.

The weather really came through for us.  It was temperate enough to be comfortable in good winter gear and wonderful for hiking.

Next stop, Pewitt's Nest.
And we had no idea what to expect there as none of us had been there before.

But I did know this.
Parfrey's Glen, I will be back!

Friday, February 20, 2015

Mini Road Trip

The poor Subaru is soooo dirty!  It is a shame right? Well that is what you get when you live on a gravel road.
The dust covers your vehicle in the winter or in the summer.

In the spring you get mud covered.

Anyway, I decided to take the back way home from town yesterday.
I went down through Tainter Hollow.

I love the road.  Almost a road.  It is a gravel lane of sorts that winds back and forth between two hills.  When it rains, this hollow gets hit hard.

Along the road are two places.  One is a camper and the other is a cabin of sorts.

A small creek runs through this valley and when it rains hard this valley floods.

Last year the road the culverts washed out.  This happens generally once a year unless we are in a drought.

But some of the places where this little creek crosses the road are stunning.

Like this spot, where the afternoon light reflects off the hillsides and on the water.

This is one of the spots where the flash floods destroyed the road last summer.

I make my way through the valley and around the gravel roads back towards home.

I love the twisted roads, no matter how many times I take these roads I always find them beautiful.

My favorite place is where the red rock outcropping is.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

This and That.

Yesterday at chore time.
I just had finished taking care of the hounds, feeding, re-bedding them with fresh straw and temperate water for their bowls.

It was time to hang the laundry.  It really was a perfect day for it.
The laundry freeze dries at -5 F, but the winds were mild and if left all day, most of the moisture was 'snapped' right out of the clothes.

I brought the clothes and sheets in just as the sun set.

The winds were very bitter last night, but boy did the clothes and sheets smell fantastic!

Well I have to make a trip to town today to get some things before going on an over night trip to a place south of the Dells this weekend.

I haven't been there in a few years, and I have never been there in the winter at all.

My friends are going to take me to Pewitt's Nest and Parfrey's Glen which are two incredible natural areas.
With the temperatures we've had there are sure to be some fantastic ice formations in these gorges.

I can't wait.

It will be nice to catch up with my friends too.  It has been way too long since we've spent time together.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

I relent, it is cold.

At sunrise.
I look outside and the mules are walking around and they begin to play.  They trot and then toss their heads and blow breaths of steam in the frigid air.

I see Siera has a frosty brow and back, but she is playing chase with Fred and Dyna.  It is fun to watch as they seem to push each other around and twitch their tales in mock anger.
Their heads bob up and down and their ears will lay flat against their skulls for a moment while they give each other dirty looks.

It is part of the frigid morning routine until the sun comes over the trees and they stand side by side quietly basking in the sunlight.

They become still as statues as they let the sun warm their heavy winter coats.

Chores will be done with face-masks and goggles today.  I relent.  It is cold outside.

At least the sun is shining.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Fresh Air

It is interesting how many people think that winter air is bad for you.

Now having said that, extreme cold on people that have constant health issues...yes, it is not good to go out and breath subzero air.

Yesterday topped out at maybe 9 degrees F, when I decided to grab the My Little Ponies in a bag along with a toy skunk and a toy deer.  I stuffed my pocket camera inside my jacket to keep it warm and took off.

Sweet hubby thought I shouldn't go.  It was cold.  But then he knows that I love winter hiking so he relented.
Besides, I told him, fresh outside air is better than breathing stale inside air.

Aside from that, I'd spent two days stuck in the house with wicked winds. It was time to get out and get moving.

I guess one thing I haven't mentioned is why I like the winter hiking so much.
No bugs, no humidity, and I simply just like winter.
I don't like driving in snow storms, but I love going out and exploring in them.

So yesterday's hike was to take the toys and find a neat place to take a photo of them.  

The other purpose was just to follow trails and wander aimlessly in the woods.

I found multi use trails in which the deer, raccoon, and coyotes used.  In one area that was sheltered from the wicked winds yesterday, I found dozens of deer beds.

I found four places where I imagine, from the tracks and evidence left in the snow, that coyotes had caught rabbits and had a snack.

I even found a place where crow feathers were scattered. I couldn't figure that one out so took photos of it and showed it to hubby.  We ended up surmising that is may have been a hawk that nailed a crow.
I didn't think anything preyed on crow!

I walked on top of snow and ice following tracks through a rocky ravine and found the most delightful formation when I climbed out.

The log was hollow and you could see where squirrels had left acorn shells.

I finally glanced at my watch.  It was time I headed home!  I had no idea that I'd spend so much time wandering the west facing hills on Peterson's land.

Home was only 1/2 mile away and up a hill, so I hurried to find my snowshoe trail and hiked home.

Hubby was getting ready to do chores when I got to the house, he was bundling up.  I glanced at the thermometer as he bundled up.

It was zero.
But I still felt warm and cozy even though I wasn't in coveralls.

All that hard hiking had warmed me up.

By 10pm I was ready for bed.
That fresh air and exercise made me sleep like a baby.

I love fresh air!