Sunday, December 16, 2007

Snowshoeing (finally)

We finally have enough snow to get out there and kick some drifts, after a few years of snowlessness. It feels good; I've missed that slight pull/stretch that runs along my hips when I have to walk just ever so bowlegged.

We are really blessed here in Madison to have something so wonderful as the Arboretum so close to us. The Arb consists of about 1400 acres, an old farm that Aldo Leopold, John Curtis, Norman Fassett, and team of other conservation biologists used as their canvas to recreate as best they could the different types of ecologies found in Wisconsin. They succeed better in some areas than others, and the Curtis Prairie is a success for's lovely.

Anyway, it's one of our favorite places to 'shoe as it's less than a mile from our home, and it has places to walk where you're not ruining ski trails. You can ski in the Arb, but it's pretty rustic skiing, with no tracks set except by the first folks out. The snowshoeing is first-rate with large open areas to tromp, and no one really notices as skiers outnumber shoers 20 to 1.

One of the best things about the Arb is the abundant wildlife that exists in this island surrounded by city. Turkeys seem to be multiplying like rabbits rather than birds, and with the snow cover making foraging more difficult, they seem to be even more gregarious than usual. They were willing to get us get pretty close, but we did our best to not make them expend calories...they are clearly bothered by the deeper than average snow. Still, they're turkeys, and they'll make it through somehow.

Stephanie found a pine tree that was large enough to have a "fort" in the middle where snow hadn't fallen, so she had to poke her head inside. "This is the sort of place I would make forts when I was little," she said. So did I. I clearly married the right woman. In the picture it looks like a white blob covers her's a snowflake that caught the flash wrong (or right depending on your view). I think it's cute but I am admittedly biased.

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