Sunday, February 3, 2013

School Forest Ski

Yesterday was a gorgeous day.  The partly cloudy skies let us see the sun.  Plus it was not too cold (temperatures in the teens) and also not windy.  All in all, it was the perfect day to ski. 

The guy who grooms the trails for the national park has been sick so we called Craig, who grooms the trails in the Burt Township School Forest.  He was just leaving to go groom.  He does this by pulling a grooming drag behind a snowmobile.  The grooming sled has appendages attached to the base that carves two tracks.  The weight of the sled and snowmobile pack the snow.

Friends, Dianna and Sandee, met me out at the school forest and off we went.

The Sucker River....

I love it when snow piles up on top of tree stumps...

The freshly groomed ski trail...

The photo below was taken from the Butler Trail.  It is a picture of a vernal pond.  Vernal pools, also called vernal ponds or ephemeral pools, are temporary pools of water that provide habitat for distinctive plants and animals. They are considered to be a distinctive type of wetland usually devoid of fish, and thus allow the safe development of natal amphibian and insect species unable to withstand competition or predation by fish.  They are called vernal pools because they are often, but not necessarily, at their maximum depth in the spring ("vernal" meaning of, relating to, or occurring in the spring).  Despite being dry at times, once filled, vernal pools teem with life. The most obvious inhabitants are various species of frogs and toads. Some salamanders also utilize vernal pools for reproduction, but the adults may visit the pool only briefly. Other notable inhabitants are Daphnia and fairy shrimp, the latter often used as an indicator species to decisively define a vernal pool.

As I have watched the snow accumulate this last few weeks on the trees, it is amazing to watch the clumps grow.  I wonder why the snow clumps?  Maybe as the snowflakes fall through the atmosphere, they experience enough friction to heat up slightly.  Then as they contact the clumps of snow, they instantly cool off and "stick" to the clump. 

The photo below shows a huge fallen tree with a three foot high accumulation of snow piled on top. 

The ice fishing shacks are certainly portable.  They have moved out to the center of the bay.  The number of fish shanties has also increased.  Apparently, they are now catching perch.  Other fish have also been caught including rainbow trout.


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