Sunday, December 18, 2016

December 18, 2016

If you live pretty much anywhere north of Florida you know that winter hit hard this week.  Temperatures here in the Lakes Region were below zero and we had a couple of storms come through, bestowing fabulous light powder upon us. 

But then today it all was spoiled by a dose of rain and freezing rain last night. 

In New England, one has to take advantage of good weather when one can, so after the first snow I got right out for a quick ski on gentle terrain to enjoy the conditions.
First XC ski of the season

The very next day, I saw that a gray fox had already found my tracks and took advantage of them for ease in his winter travel.

He also blazed a prominent spot to mark his territory (that's why I assume it's a male).

A fox marks its spot
I only say it's the gray fox because I've seen one in that area many times. 

My friend the mink from a couple of weeks ago was back out running around, but this time on top of the lake rather than in it.
Mink tracks tracing the shoreline for the better part of a mile
 Here it snuffled around a hole in the bank, following the scent of something to eat:



A short squall had left the thinnest layer of dry snow on the ice which made a great substrate for prints.
A near perfect set of mink tracks

I've only ventured out a few feet on the ice in coves where it froze up quite a while ago - in those locations it is already 4" thick - but I'm giving the wider lake more time before I'll consider it safe. 

Well after those protected coves froze over, a strange hole opened up and was bubbling away like a hot spring at Yellowstone. 

Watch the short video clip:
video

I don't know the cause of this - perhaps a warm spring in the bottom of the lake?

Lake Wicwas is frozen over but Winnipesauke has a long way to go, and the northwest wind blows the mist coming off the water down Meredith Bay on cold mornings.

These are pretty times here, when the cold and snow arrives in New Hampshire.

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