Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Frozen Waterfall Snowshoe -- Post 1

Yesterday I went on my weekly snowshoe with friends, Jamey and Lois.  This time we did go without their dogs.  Yes, that is "plural."  The day after their dog, Nora, did not return with us to the car during a snowshoe -- another local snowshoer found her.  Jamey's trick of placing pine boughs down on the snow, and then covering them with his coat -- worked.  She was found laying on the coat.  I'm sure we will still bring the dogs with us on future adventures.  However, yesterday we were not sure how the dogs with do in the very difficult terrain.  Plus, we wonder if Nora will learn from the fact that she wasn't allowed to go with us yesterday.  We will see....

Yesterday we snowshoed up Carpenter Creek, which is located on the east side of town.  Despite the fact that we were only a half mile away from downtown, it was very rugged.  If we didn't know better, we would have thought we were in the middle of nowhere.  This creek is an old glacial river with very steep banks, in some places 40 or 50 feet high.  There is so much snow in the gorge that we decided to snowshoe up on the ridge.

As we arrived at the top of the gorge, the path to the creek didn't look too bad.  We learned, however, that it was a bit more rugged than we expected due to the deep snow covering up a seemingly endless number of downed trees.

Throughout the entire snowshoe, we walked through past areas that deer have bed down.  Jamey explained that this is a good spot because the predominate northwest winds blow the deer's scent away from the creek where predators also go for water.  The deer then bed down facing away from the creek, looking toward the only direction that predators could approach.  
Even though there is not much water in this small creek, there is enough current to keep at least some sections ice free.  The patterns of the ice at the junction points is awesome.
While we were standing on the bluff, I told my friends about a fact I learned on Surviverman TV show about how animal trails often "Y" and that if you follow the bottom tail of the "Y" you often can find water.  Jamey pointed out right next to us a perfect example.  The first photo below shows the "Y", the next photo shows that it points to the creek.
We decided to descend at that point and cross over to the bluff on the other side.  Lois demonstrates a safe way to descend -- sliding on your butt.
Looking up stream....
Many of the beach trees along our trek have the beach bark disease.
Beech bark disease is a disease that causes mortality and defects in beech trees in the eastern United States and Europe In North America, the disease results when the beech scale insect, Cryptococcus fagisuga, attacks the bark, creating a wound. Later, two different fungi (Neonectria faginata (previously Nectria coccinea var. faginata) and Neonectria ditissima (previously Nectria galligena)) common to North America can invade the tree through the wound, causing a canker to form. In subsequent years, new cankers will continue to form, ultimately leading to the death of the tree.
Below is a map of the infested area in the U.S., a photo of the beech scale insect, and a close up of  a gathering of adults.  In the photos above, Jamey shows the woolly, white, waxy covering that the beech scale insect secretes.  This white covering can show on part of the tree, or on almost the entire tree.
A squirrel nest....
The circle of ice shown below was rotating in the current...
Jamey took the photo below looking straight down from the escarpment cliff.
Lots of snow...
Then after 45 minutes of snowshoeing, we saw the waterfalls through the trees.
More frozen waterfalls pictures will be posted tomorrow.
My webmaster has finished setting up all the subdomain pages.  He is now completing the rest of the tasks.  Launch of the online rockhounding adventures will hopefully be in the next few days.

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