2.10.2008

Journeys (mostly) without maps

I'm privileged to live very close to Little River State Park in Waterbury. Since I moved here I have adopted the area as my own personal recreation space, particularly in the off season (there's no entry fee when the park is closed). After a long period of being sedentary (and putting on weight) I am finally waking from my midwinter somnolence and beginning to spend some time outdoors again.

The image shows GPS tracks from the past two Saturdays in the woods. The lefthand track was on snowshoes bushwhacking up from the base of the dam. The woods are quite open and it's only moderately steep in the area so it wasn't too bad. I brought the new camera, however, and this slowed me down considerably (unimpressive photos from this day in the woods here and here).

Signs that the moose are hungry in the winter woods. Tree bark does not look to be very appetizing.

The right hand track was yesterday on skis from the Cotton Brook access to the reservoir. It was the first time I had been on skis this winter and it was hardly a day for solitude in the wilderness: The local outfitter in Stowe runs snowmobile 'tours' (I don't think they last very long) in this area. I'm all for outdoor recreation but I really don't like these machines as they are very loud and emit clouds of foul-smelling exhaust that lingers in the air long after the riders have come and gone. If anyone tries to follow my track they will probably think "What was this fool thinking?" because I skied up Cotton Brook and parts of it were quite rough and there many exciting stream crossing where I was wondering if the ice bridges would hold my weight.

No solitude: I would think, that in this age of global warming awareness (as some critics have noted, it's practically a secular religion nowadays), that there would declining enthusiasm for driving to Vermont to buzz around the woods on a loud, smelly machine. On skis or snowshoes, if one is relatively quiet and attentive, it's possible to see wildlife in this area (see here and here). And I know that it's somewhat hypocritical for me to complain given that I put plenty of miles on my car while out amusing myself.

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