In my opinion, winter truly is the best season. Hands down. Fall is a close second, but winter really has so much to offer. During my years growing up, I never saw it that way, but I sure do now. The reason I wasn’t very fond of winter while I was young is because it got in my way. I needed to do things and I had places to go. Shoveling snow wasn’t much fun and freezing for most of my life was much less fun. Today though, things are different. Well, shoveling snow is still pretty awful, but at least I have a snowblower. Although, my driveway today is a lot longer than the one I grew up with, so I may have to call a draw on this one. And although I still freeze, at least I do it on my terms. As a matter of fact, just a few minutes ago, I was outside in the garage cutting a piece of wood with my handy dandy bow saw. My fingers were frozen to the bone because it’s only about 5 degrees out there, but it’s something I chose to do. If my father asked me to do that when I was younger, my poor parents would never have heard the end of my complaining. Isn’t it strange how these things work out?
Anyway, what I’m getting at here is that perspectives change as one ages. What once used to be terrible isn’t so bad anymore. And when one begins to appreciate certain things, one’s life can improve dramatically. I’ll use a recent hike as an example. When I was a kid, I most likely wouldn’t have wanted to walk a few miles into the woods on a freezing cold day. Today however, I look forward to it. Again, it’s strange how these things work out. Although, I will tell you that I didn’t grow up in Maine either. Perhaps if I lived where I do now when I was a kid, I would have appreciated nature more. Who knows.
Since it’s been pretty sunny lately, Laura and I decided to visit a trail we’ve gone to once or two before. The very first time we stepped foot in this area was during the summer. We only walked about a half mile before saying, “Okay, this is pretty good. We’ll come back.” The next time we went, there was a bit of snow on the ground, but there were some huge puddles that were fairly challenging to walk around. It was also hunting season, which freaked me out a little. Even though we were wearing orange, I still don’t trust some of these hunters. I don’t even trust them when it’s not hunting season, so that’s saying something right there. Yesterday, we went back for the third time and it was magical. I have fallen in love with the area because it’s just so “Maine.” It’s absolutely silent and stunningly beautiful. And it was all ours. There’s never anyone around to bother us. We can walk and explore and do whatever we want, not having to worry about other hikers to contend with.
We walked about two miles yesterday. It was an easy walk, so I took a few photos along the way. I like to stick my camera in my backpack just in case I might need it. During yesterday’s hike, I took some pictures and some video. The pictures are really nice, but the video is extraordinarily boring. I only took it to give you a glimpse of what the area was like. One of these days I’ll actually talk during a video, which I’m sure will add an entirely new dimension to things. Here are the photos I took.
This first one is of the main feature of the trail. The entire trail is about two and a half miles long and this small bridge is about a half mile from where we parked the truck. This bridge is primarily used as a snowmobile and ATV crossing. The stream it crosses was enlarged substantially by a beaver dam just a short distance away.
I took this photo as I was standing on the bridge, pointing my camera in the direction of the beaver dam, which you can’t see.
This is the other side of the stream. In the previous shot, I was facing west and now I’m facing east. Just look at the tops of those pine trees. I love those things. By the way, loggers just cut some of the forest beyond those trees, so it would be the perfect time to scoop some of this land up to build a dirtbike track. That’s all I think of these days. Buying 100 acres to build a dirtbike track. There sure is enough land around here to do that. And no one would even care either. People ride ATVs all day long in this area.
I thought I’d get creative and take a photo of a pine branch that was hanging over the ice. I enjoy shots like this. Just wait until you see the next one.
Okay, here we have a random picture of some dried Beech leaves. These leaves stick around until spring when the new growth pushes them off the tree.
I’m thinking this sign was posted at the edge of one person’s land. Signs are all over the place, telling people what’s allowed and what’s not. It’s best to respect the landowner’s wishes because they can just as easily post the property as no trespassing.
And finally, I have a picture of the sun through the trees. The real reason I took this photo was because I wanted to see if I could get a starburst effect with my lens. To get this, I used aperture priority mode and I cranked the aperture to f/22. Anything over f/11 (I think) will give this effect. Pretty neat, isn’t it?
If you ever decide to go hiking on a cold day in the snow, remember this: there are no bugs, there’s no sweat and the weather is fine. So much better than the summer. Also, the key for a comfortable walk is in the boots you wear. You need to get some winter hiking boots. These look just like regular hiking boots, but they have extra thick soles and are insulated. I have a pair and my feet were toasty warm.
Here’s some extra special video for you. Lots of crunchy snow walking.