Sunday, January 27, 2013

January 27, 2013

One word describes Lake Wicwas this week:  Cold.  Not quite record making cold, but it has been as low as negative 7, and over the past six days the thermometer hasn't risen out of the teens.  The northwest wind has been doing its part as well, with 20 mile per hours winds common, often gusting over 30 mph, bringing wind-chills far below zero.  We've also had some of the driest air we get - dew points at negative 20 degrees Fahrenheit just suck the moisture out of your skin!

There is however, a bright side (pun intended) to the cold, dry weather:  the sun, sky, and moonlight are spectacular when one is brave enough to venture outside.  And we were fortunate enough to have a full moon align with the cold weather on Saturday night, making night walks look like daytime.
A Moonlit Lake Wicwas at 10:00 pm

The full moon rises much higher in the winter sky than the sun does because it's in the same plane as the sun, and at full moon, it is opposite from the sun.  The moon was up for almost 14 hours versus less than ten hours for the sun.  Compare the length of the shadows above to those from the sun posted on December 26.

The Full Moon Dropping into the Tree Tops
Cold, clear mornings also make for stunning sun rises in an unusual direction - looking west.
Sunrise Looking Northwest

We braved the cold to investigate the WOW Trail (Winnisquam, Opechee, Winnipesaukee) that currently runs from Lakeport to downtown Laconia.  It's a nice trail, an interesting variation from many of the rail trails in the area, and extensions in both directions are planned for the future.  Parking is available near the Laconia Library and the Lakeport dam.  There are plenty of gorgeous winter scenes along the shore of Lake Opechee.
Lake Opechee from the WOW Trail
The Lakeport Dam is at the far right

And there were even some ducks where the currents are keeping the water open.
I wouldn't be here if I could fly

Back at Lake Wicwas, the cold has frozen up the streams feeding into the lake, with different colors locked into the ice.  I'm guessing the tan color is either from iron or decaying organic material in the water.

Frozen Streams are still trying to Fill Lake Wicwas

The Cherokee name for the January moon of "Cold Moon" is certainly appropriate this year!
Moon set on January 27, 2013

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