We live under a ridge in a narrow vale along an edge of which we snowshoe. This is a mountainous u-shaped valley with deadend road but once extending up the low mountainside to meet another road in these hills. The old settlers actually drove wagons of between the slopes. Don’t know how they did it. Anyway, it’s all wooded now and you can see the old ruts they made. Saplings grow in them. Sometimes, if I’ve “got turned around and woods” (as they say) and I come on one of these mostly hidden tracks, I have the feeling of gratitude, and can follow along until I come to an ATV trail or road.
In the woods are old cellar holes, some with pretty good-sized trees growing in them. And tons of old stone walls crisscrossing on abandoned slopes. Of course logging’s ongoing so trees are of various size in sections of the slopes. And sometimes you see open sky over nothing but downed bits limbs, trunks, etc…. with new growth coming up between. Walking can be difficult, once recognized trails seemingly obliterated.
R.on a logging road in the woods. Not bad shoeing when logging is discontinued.
But the neat thing about snowshoeing is you don’t need a trail! Especially when the snow is deep — as it can get in these mountains sometimes. And shoeing offtrack will not get you lost because, if you traipse into unfamiliar territory you can always follow back on your webbed trail–if it’s not covered in new snowfall. I’m seldom out long enough for that.
Deer tracks crisscross over the snow. So many tracks on open areas (limited in this narrow valley), and all through the woods. Tracks are cloven in snow and delicate lines sometimes connecting. Bucks, I think, have longer hairs behind, just above their hooves, marking fresh deep snow. Often I see oval indents — places where they’ve lain. Snow melts from the warmth of their bodies. Sometimes you see the leaves under a skim of ice where they’ve slept. Other times they make basins in deeps snow. I was hoping for more snow so we can get out more and yesterday–snowing!
But about the old settlers’ well…
We’ve discovered an old settlers spring fed well not far from our house. Surprisingly we’ve never noticed it before. It was dug out long ago and lined with stones; and the stones are green and mossy, but the spring is still gurgling in, and then trickling down through earth to the stream at the foot of these wooded properties.
…The stream, under snow with hole in the ice.