The Snowy Path

by Marion L. Ritcey

As we walked down the narrow winter path a movement in a tree caught my attention. Upon looking up, to my joy I was looking into the eyes of a beautiful owl. My fellow hiker didn’t see the owl  but when we moved again it flew through the branches . The wings span was impressive as it glided through the pines with out moving snow on the pine needles. As I stood there I  kicked my self for not having the camera ready. Why is it the best shot are left undone? The owl hid for  the rest of the hike but many beautiful winter wonders revealed themselves to us.

We hadn’t been to Hale Reservation,  so  the sights, trail and lake were new . The paths are narrow and root filled. We had come  knowing the hike may be hard since the snowfall last night still clung to the  trees. When the wind rushed through the pines, the light fluffy snow drifted down  looking like powdered sugar.

The lake was covered with  ice and snow. But at the shore small blocks of ice had been moving with the wind,  breaking up against the rocks looking like chunks of frosted glass. The frozen lake water had a dark color  we found  out later the lake had a high iron content, hence the rust color.

As we passed a boat house,  the summer boats were covered with ice and snow. It gave  us a view of the spring to come. The boats are waiting for the children from the camp  and  warmer weather. We continued past rows and rows of boats just waiting to be put in the warm summer water.

We were following the blue trail. We felt safe as long as the trees ahead had the blue square on them. It took us through many different kinds of things. One surprise was a garbage dump full of metal dumpsters. We ambled down the rock path through another pine forest. As we got deeper in the woods the snow was lighter on the paths but falling  softly to the ground as the wind gently filtered through the pine trees. We saw tracks of deer and fox  and knew they  were about. We had heard fisher cats were back. Not wanting to meet one on the path, we were careful.

We came to the pond  overlook with it’s covered picnic tables, now was the time to enjoy our snack while watching the birds feed. The park must fill the feeders every day. We saw many different kinds of birds, so we sat and listened  to the song of the chickadee and it’s friends.

Again seeing deer track, we got the feeling at one time that someone was watching us. If they were, they never showed themselves. The animals are more afraid of us than we are of them.

All along the way the small ferns were showing there heads above the snow looking for the sun. Maybe I should have looked closer to see if there were any snow fleas about. (Yes there are snow fleas.)

As we came into the summer camp, we knew  the end of the hike was near.  We could hear the cars on the road. We felt like we were in the woods  miles from anyone else  but we were only twenty minutes south of Boston, Mass.

So our hike ended feeling refreshed. We headed home to cocoa and cake: a reward for a good hike. We knew we would return to see the boats in the water and the lake unfrozen,  to see the pine trees and their friends in warmer times.


The Snowy Path as a PDF file with additional photos by the author.