A Tromp in the Woods
In addition to amazing naturally occurring ice sculptures, I saw a surprising number of critters today. I saw tiny fish swimming in the stream, under an inch or more of perfectly clear ice. I saw a red-tailed hawk zig-zagging between the trees, where it didn't seem it'd fit. I saw not one, but two kinds of woodpecker - a red-bellied and a red-headed! The red-bellied woodpecker was tearing the hell out of a high branch as it pounded its face against it, creating a shower of bark and wood fragments. But as much as I enjoy watching these crazy little bastards do their thing, I've seen plenty of them flitting about over the years. I don't think I've ever actually seen a red-headed woodpecker out in the woods before. They're surprisingly large!
I also came across a small grove (patch?) of sprawling juniper shrubs, many of them ridiculously over-laden with berries. I'll have to remember the location, in case I ever try making that gin-flavored India Pale Ale that I've been thinking about. I managed to hike the stream from the edge of the park to the icy shores of Lake Michigan while only acquiring one soaker! (To be fair, a second full-body soaking was only avoided because when I slid down the icy bank and landed flat on my back, the stream was frozen solid enough to not even crack. That's solid!) The lake shore was coated with a thick layer of ice that was strange to see... otherworldly. I don't know why I haven't been taking the time to amble, tramp or tromp (depending on my mood) through the local woodlands. It's always beautiful and surprising, and I come home feeling pleasantly tired, yet refreshed.
at 2:38 PM