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First Skis of the Season!
Dec
31
2017

Winter is Finally Here!

It took a long time to show up this year with our crazy warm fall, but winter weather has finally started to arrive in the northern Adirondacks. Our recent wet weather aside, little by little we’ve built up some snow as evidenced by my regular need to shovel. It all makes Wren, my four-legged companion, excited as she plays with her tennis ball in the snow while I clear off the steps and driveway.

Skiing on the Bloomingdale Bog Trail

More fun than that (for me anyway), Wren and I have started to stretch our cross-country skiing legs, warming us up for what we hope will be a snowy winter ahead. Without enough coverage on the ground, many of our local trails are not yet skiable, but open fields and trails – like the Bloomingdale Bog Trail – have enough snow to allow a bit of glide. In addition, local ski centers like Mt. Van Hoevenberg in Lake Placid and Dewey Mountain in Saranac Lake have started their seasons as well.

We often find Golden-crowned Kinglets when we are out skiing. Photo courtesy of www.masterimages.org.

All of our trips of late have taken us to the Bloomingdale Bog Trail where we’ve progressively gone a bit further or faster each time out. While the birding has generally been slow with small groups of Black-capped Chickadees and Golden-crowned Kinglets, we’ve found the tracks of animals like snowshoe hare, red fox, or red squirrel on each trip; cross-country skiing and snowshoeing are great ways to explore and look for prints in the snow.

Anyone heading out to ski should know that they will still need to be careful of thin spots – the ditches which were filled in with large rocks will damage skis if you head straight across them. Skiers should either stick to the side of the trail or carefully walk a clear path over such spots. But the rest of the trail has been quite good. In fact, after the cold weather of last week – and the subsequent slow, granular snow, our ski the other day was great, and I found it to have the best glide of any of our outings. That seems to be the result of a combination of the ground hardening with cold weather and additional layers of snow to float my skis.

I took this photo of Wren on the Bog Trail a few years ago.

More Snow to Come!

The day also had the added benefit of being warm enough to tolerate pausing from skiing for some photos, and as the trail cut through the bog, I stopped to snap shots of the light snow falling across the leatherleaf, Labrador tea, and scattered conifers.

I also attempted to take photos of Wren as she smelled her way along the trail and its surrounding bushes, but she was less cooperative than the bog itself — constantly moving in and out of focus and taking each time I crouched to have a better angle on the shot as an invitation to come up and nose me. While I wouldn’t trade her love and exuberance for the world, it didn’t help me with photos, and I eventually put my camera away since it was getting wet in the falling snow.

Wren looks down the trail in anticipation of heading back for dinner.

Our way back to the trailhead was equally as fun and I was starting to entertain a winter of adventure in deep powder when we reached the car – happy and feeling the high of a nice ski. But the more immediate needs of food and dinner soon captured my attention as we drove off – we both needed food and dinner wasn’t going to cook itself.

Here’s hoping for a snowy winter! Plan your winter outdoor adventure and cross-country skiing today – and check out our lodging and dining pages for your apres-ski activities!

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About The Author

Alan Belford has spent much of his life outdoors exploring and learning about wildlife – particularly birds. Alan is often out hiking, paddling, running, or cross country skiing – with his Labrador retriever Wren at this side. A certified teacher and former cross country, baseball, and ultimate frisbee coach, he loves teaching others and has taught multiple natural history (specializing in ornithology) courses for both college students and the general public. He is a licensed guide in New York State, he has traveled widely both domestically and internationally, and he is also a published travel writer and photographer – focusing on outdoor and nature writing.

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