Sunday, February 13, 2011

Moods of Winter

I took all four of these pictures during the last couple of weeks. It's still dark when I wake up, but spring is faintly in the air - not at this hour, but later on in the afternoon, when the sun's warmth presses and lingers, much as a chilly dusk in early September hints at fall.

Look carefully at where the light is most intense in each shot, and you can see how the sun is beginning to swing north in its orbit (or rather, the earth is revolving so that the northern hemisphere is getting closer to the sun).

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

The Pinnacles

I don't know if I can get used to hiking in January, but it seems silly not to in the mid-Atlantic. Thanks to a couple of friends, Lynne Zummo and Sam Tormey, who were up for a wintry adventure, I made it up a peak called The Pinnacles (why it is plural, I could not ascertain) early on in the month.

The hike didn't require the technical equipment that its name might suggest, but the guidebook was pretty worked up about the initial push up Buck Hollow Ridge, described for descent: "[it] drops very steeply (35 degrees in some places). Hm. Up higher, there was a perfect dusting of snow - enough for a crunch beneath the feet, but not so much that our socks got wet.

Looking south from our lunch spot toward The Pinnacles. It was rather foggy, and with the wind, the cold was penetrating.

The afternoon involved a lot of ridge-walking, as well as a thorough search for Confederates lurking in the hollows and any mastodons that might happen to wander up to an open summit for roughage.

Early on in the hike, we came across this relict of Shenandoah settlers. Last time Stormey and I went hiking, we passed by a graveyard from the same era. It's sad to think about the locals being evicted after the National Park was established, but there is something about the traces of the human past that softens the landscape.

Translucence within an otherwise ochre forest.

Could the big bad wolf be far behind?