Sunday, November 22, 2015

November 22, 2015

A taste of cold weather descended upon Lake Wicwas, but only down to the low 20s.  Still, it was enough to be able to sense the cold, unforgiving side of winter establishing itself under my feet as I walked along the trails on top of the frozen first few millimeters of earth.  Instead of just the edges of tiny leaves, large swaths of ground became frosted and the most vulnerable portions of the lake had their first visit from Jack Frost.

This first ice formed in different structures than in previous years.  Usually they have fluid, swirling formations - like those in the film "Fantasia" - but this year they were arrow-straight, like shards of shattered glass locked into the otherwise smooth surface of the frozen lake reflecting the glow of the morning sun.

I spent a couple of hours this week working in the Page Pond Conservation Area with the Meredith Conservation Commission Tuesday Trail Crew.  They are a great group of volunteers, dedicated to keeping the many trails throughout Meredith in pristine condition.
Part of the Tuesday Trail Crew
Recently they have been preparing for renovation work on the Page Pond dam which is going to receive some much needed repairs.  It is actually in remarkably good condition considering it's had no care in many decades - a testament to the quality of the work done almost two centuries ago, being built around 1830 [Ref:  Daniel Heyduk, "Page Pond and Forest - A History and Guide"].   But there were trees that were pushing roots into the dam, and the top of the embankment is starting to sink. 

Cutting trees that had grown into the top of the dam over many years

The top of the dam, cleared and ready for repair (note the low spot on this side of the sluice way)
If you haven't seen this impressive structure you should definitely go visit;  it can be accessed from either the Quarry Rd Entrance near Moulton Farm, or by the Blueberry Hill Entrance.   Click here to see the trail map and access points.  It is identified on the map as the Page Pond Mill.

The sluice way where the mill was powered

Back on a hike in my own neighborhood, I came upon this road block right across the Blue Trail in the Hamlin-Eames-Smyth conservation area.

It looks like a healthy beech tree, but the point where it broke off in the strong winds this week reveals that insects had been weakening it for some time, and the pileated woodpeckers had decimated the trunk going after them.

It's great to know that the Tuesday Trail crew will be along soon to clear it away.  Imagine how the trails would be without constant attention - it's a never-ending labor of love for the land.

Lastly, another landmark on Lake Wicwas is gone.  Long time residents of Lake Wicwas will remember the Munch family who built one of the first four houses on Wicwood Shores Road over 50 years ago.  Work has been rapid, with the old house completely gone and a new foundation already in place.

Two of those first four houses have now been torn down (the first being the Ruprecht's), leaving the Linn camp and the second Hamlin camp - the first was destroyed by fire - as the longest standing homes on that side of the lake.  It will be fun to see what rises up!

And quite literally, as I write, this is what the November sky has to offer Lake Wicwas.
Sunday's weather clearing out

No comments:

Post a Comment