A Tromp in the Woods

Since it was frosty cold today (around 15 deg F when I left), I decided to go for a tromp through the park.  As always, the park was entirely different from any previous trip.  I swear there's some sort of spell on that place that rearranges everything each time I go there.  Today, I decided to follow the course of the stream from the parking lot, through the park and down to the shore of Lake Michigan.

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.  

No comments: