I thought that Sunday would be the perfect day to go back to the 'ice' cave and see what formations had come about from the recent melts and freezes.
I wore my slightly longer and newer snow shoes and was very happy that I did.
The fact that they are slightly longer helped me stay ON TOP of the snow!
The snow has an ice crust on top of it. Unfortunately, the icy crust and the snow shoes made quite a bit of noise so I didn't see any deer or other wildlife.
I also did not take Morris. The coyotes are 'in season' which means they are very aggressive to domestic dogs if they get in coyote territory. Morris can blend in with the scenery this time of year and I would rather not take any chances.
Morris was not happy with that decision.
The ice cave wasn't very spectacular and the lighting wasn't very good for a photo. I didn't have a long lens and in order to do the cave justice I would have had to do some pretty tricky climbing.
I decided against it and followed the steep trail to the creek in the 'back' valley instead.
The slightly red arrow points to my shadow waving!
I ended up stashing my snow shoes and climbing down into the creek bottom itself.
There was no wind down there and the sun was nice and warm.
In the shade however it was quite cold, but the ice formations were pretty cool.
I looked further upstream and really wished that I had time to walk the entire valley. It was very tempting.
Instead I sat down and had some snacks, took some more shots and then packed up and headed up the long hill towards the open corn field.
After spending so much time in the valley and the woods I enjoyed the walk across the ridge top and the cold breeze in my face.
The corn stubble created a bit of an issue with my snow shoes. I had a malfunction at one point.
But no one was there to see me trip up and so everything went just fine.
I however was more careful and chose a 'trail' that the animals had been using.
I did use my Garmin to measure the distance and the altitude change. I hiked 2.1 miles by the time I arrived close to home. I'd been gone a bit over 2 hours with a lot of 'stop' time of course.
The altitude changes really surprised me when I looked at them in a graph form.
I spent most of my time looking at tracks on the ridge in the windswept snow.
I could see where coyotes had been walking.
Rabbits trails, deer trails, tracks of mice, raccoon, turkey, and 'possum.
There were places that the hard crusted snow had been dug up to get at either corn or grass.
Winter is a great time to be in the woods. The landscape is not hidden by foliage and everything seems bare boned. Perfect in some aspects for photography in black and white.
It was a nearly perfect day.