A Winter Walk

– Posted in: Miscellaneous
13 comments

Most people living in a cold climate would probably tell you it isn’t the cold that bothers them as much as the endless succession of dreary, cloudy days. (Heck, even people in the balmy Pacific Northwest complain about how dark it is in winter!) Well, today it was sunny for a change, so I went for a walk up the hill into the woods. (Click on any photo to enlarge it.)

winter walk in the snow

Entering the Secret Garden, where many rabbits have been there before me

I turned left to walk through the Secret Garden. (View this same path through the seasons here.) It’s obvious the rabbits were here before me. You’ll be seeing their tracks in just about every picture. I have this recollection from Girl Scouts that rabbit tracks look like two exclamation marks side by side. Occasionally I find one like that, but most of them run into each other and aren’t perfectly aligned.
winter walk branches bench

The branches bench is perched above a short rise.

As I walk through a low area that is squishy wet in spring, I pass my branches bench on my right. Here’s what I see when I sit on that bench:
Winter Walk view from branches bench

On a clear day, you can see pretty far from the bench

Then I start to climb the hill.
Winter Walk up the hill

Looking up the hill, I see more rabbit tracks

We had 12 inches of snow, then we got some freezing rain, then we got more snow. With every step I take, I feel myself break through the icy crust and sink down below the top of my boots. I turned around at the top of this rise so you could see my footsteps:
Winter walk footsteps

See how deep my feet sank as I trudged up the hill?

It turns a brisk walk into slow trudge. But the next part was fairly level.
winter walk level part

This part is fairly level and straight.

In the spring this area is also rather wet. Much to my surprise, I discovered it is wet in winter, too.
Winter walk puddle

The air temperature is below freezing, but liquid water seeps up in this one spot on the path.

When we first moved here, our feet followed the paths of least resistance as we explored the land. Well, the easiest way through was along wildlife tracks and where snowmelt ran down the hill. Hence many of our paths are pretty muddy in spring. And there are other places besides this spot where the water table rises to the surface.

I continued walking into a more wooded area and then turned right, making my way toward the main path that runs up the center of our property. Finally I came to the bench in the Juneberry room.

winter walk juneberry bench

The bench in the Juneberry room

No, I didn’t sit there. There was snow on the bench, and anyway, I knew the view would be much better in a few more steps.
Winter walk top of the field

At the top of the field you can see the sled path.

It is a nice view. Most people in our family walk straight up the field to enter the woods. But I like to circle around through the woods before coming to the field, so that there is a greater contrast between the feeling of enclosure and then the wide open space.

Now I’ve walked down the hill to the point where the slope drops more steeply.

Winter walk last leg

See the jump built into the sledding path?

This is where the sleds really build up speed, and my kids have built a jump to take advantage of that.
sled jump winter walk

This is from last year's sledding, but you get the idea.

My walk is almost over, and since I’m now walking in the path that the sledders use to go back up the hill, the walking is much easier than when I was breaking trail. I soon arrived back at the house. I hope you enjoyed the walk as much as I did.

About the Author

Kathy Purdy is a colchicum evangelist, converting unsuspecting gardeners into colchicophiles. She would be delighted to speak to your group about colchicums or other gardening topics. Kathy’s been writing since 4th grade, gardening since high school, and blogging since 2002.

Now, the digging and dividing of perennials, the general autumn cleanup and the planting of spring bulbs are all an act of faith. One carries on before the altar of delayed gratification, until the ground freezes and you can’t do any more other than refill the bird feeder and gaze through the window, waiting for the snow. . . . Meanwhile, it helps to think of yourself as a pear tree or a tulip. You will blossom spectacularly in the spring, but only after the required period of chilling.

~Adrian Higgins in The Washington Post, November 6, 2013

Comments on this entry are closed.

Sky February 11, 2011, 6:41 pm

I found this site looking for cultivation/germination info for Angelica Atropurpurea….which is a gorgeous purple-stemmed Angelica reaching (so I’ve heard) up to 12 feet when in flower! I’m going to try pressing the seeds into soil, in a pot, water it and put it into the refrigerator for a couple of months. I’m going to try the same with some Aconite Napellus seeds. Anyone out there have experience along these lines?

And, also, I started my first seeds (inside): 5 different onions, shallots and two kinds of leeks. I planted by the moon and the onions were starting to come up in only 5 days. (I’m in Michigan, Zone 5)

Kathy Purdy February 11, 2011, 9:52 pm

Thank you for stopping by, Sky. I haven’t started any seeds yet. I haven’t even bought them.

Leslie February 11, 2011, 11:33 am

I loved those photos Kathy. They really bring back memories of growing up in snow country. Thanks for letting me tag along on your walk!

Mr. McGregor's Daughter February 11, 2011, 9:29 am

Even in winter, your woods are beautiful. Without the leaves on the trees, the views are even more stunning. That must have been quite a workout. I remember trudging through snow that deep. Put snowshoes on your birthday with list.

Pat Webster February 11, 2011, 9:26 am

The sights along your walk in the woods looked very familiar — I guess the woodlands in southern Quebec are very similar to those in upstate New York. I particularly enjoyed your photo of the view up the hill with rabbit tracks and lovely shadows of the trees. We’re under about 2-3 feet of snow now, and more is forecast. I remind myself that spring will come… one day!

Alistair February 11, 2011, 9:19 am

Hello Kathy, I guess I am not as sharp as I once was, spent quite some time on your site in search of where in the world you are situated. I think you are just north of New York. I am really interested in your cold climate gardening. I am in Aberdeen Scotland and my site revolves around plants for the cooler climate.Like yourself I am not an expert but have a passion for gardening along with my wife Myra. Our Winters are not as cold as yours but I suspect our Summers are much cooler unless of course your altitude is very high. Look forward to visiting again soon, love your pictures.

Frances February 11, 2011, 8:21 am

Oh that was so fun, Kathy, thanks for taking us. I agree, going through the woods would make for a more breathtaking sight when you reach the pinnacle of sled nirvana! 🙂

Andreae February 11, 2011, 7:09 am

Oh, thank you for posting these! I’m still under several feet of snow, and everyone’s photos of sturdy seedlings and emerging crocuses and Meyer lemon trees have been getting me down. It’s sunny here in St. John’s, Newfoundland today, for a change. Does wonders for the spirit!

Layanee February 11, 2011, 6:31 am

Oh, Kathy, what a glorious walk. I have trudged just short distances as the snow is so very deep so thank you for taking me along on this adventure. I hope you have been sledding yourself but do be careful of those jumps.

Helen Yoest @ Gardening With Confidence February 11, 2011, 5:18 am

I loved the tour of your winter garden, Kathy! Everything your way looks so pretty and pristine. Somehow even the bunny tracks are bearable.

My kids would be right behind yours on the sled; how fun to get airborne! H.

Gail February 10, 2011, 11:36 pm

That was fun Kathy and lovely. We’ve had a little snow~a few inches, nothing like your 12 with ice! Walking is easier here. The sledding hill looks like a great ride! How and where do you stop at the bottom!!? That question so gives my age away! gail