It snowed again last night, but according to the forecast, it was going to warm up this afternoon and melt it all (which indeed has happened). I wanted to get out and go for a walk before it all melted, so I spent the morning taking a lovely stroll through the snow-dusted woods while the temperature held at just about freezing.
I walked back out to the boundary rope that Shal strung and followed it to the south, taking advantage of the cloudy skies (on a sunny day, I would have been walking straight into the sun) . My first reaction was delight, delight to be out walking on such a pretty winter day, and delight that the hike took me through acres and acres of mature hardwood, with plenty of large oak and maple trees, that I had previously thought was on our neighbor’s property. Although the weather has been far too cold recently to look for mushrooms, I saw lots of large downed trees in this part of our property which is too remote for the forestry crew to do any thinning or cleaning. It is certainly a part of the property which I’d like to explore more thoroughly once it has warmed up a bit.
Further up the line, I saw, just over on the neighbor’s property, one of the more unusual beech trees I have ever spotted, a big one that turned two almost complete 90 degree angle a couple of feet from where it came out of the ground. Strange tree.
Even further along, there were several large pine trees mixed into the hardwood forest, including some of the largest evergreens that I have seen on our land. This “giant” might not turn heads out west or even up in Maine, but I think it’s the single largest pine I’ve seen in our woods, maybe about 2 1/2 feet in diameter.
I kept walking the boundary line, although the forest got very thick with rhododendron (or is it mountain laurel?), making for some challenging hiking indeed. The difficulty of pushing through the thicket was somewhat mitigated by how pretty the branches and leaves were, covered with fluffy new snow, which continued to fall all morning.
As I was pushing through the underbrush, I was surprised to come upon this concrete dug well, just on the Twin Oaks side of the property boundary. It was at the head of a marshy, boggy area, and a trickle of water flowed out of a pipe in the side of the concrete. Laying around the area were some plastic pipes, some old gloves, and a bunch of trashy plastic jugs. I wonder what the deal was here. Here’s a photo of the area, and another picture of the well with the concrete cap off.
The property line headed south towards Old Mountain Road, but before hitting the road, it ended at a neighbor’s 3-acre property and cut to the west. I followed the forest line as it butted against the bottom of their field, where apparently they like to store their junked-out cars. When I reached the corner of the neighbor’s field, where the Twin Oaks property line cut back to the south, I started walking back to Kaweah.
At first, I was feeling clever, and tried bushwhacking in a straight line back to Kaweah, ignoring the trails. However this part of the forest was so unfamiliar to me, I found myself several minutes later totally disoriented, approaching the corner where I had just been, while the tree spirit below laughed at me, amused by my confusion.
Soon enough, I decided to just walk towards the conference site, and pick up familiar trails home. As I walked back to Kaweah, full of contentment at such a pleasant walk in the woods, and thankful that I’m finally feeling less sick, the snow started coming down harder, in big wet clumps. Just before heading back into the house, I snapped this photo of my wintry home, with the fig and kiwi bushes that will provide so much tastiness this fall. Within minutes (literally) of going inside, the sun came out and less than an hour later all the snow had melted.