Sunday, January 31, 2016

A Snowy Walk in the Park

As promised, I went back to the Dykeman Spring Nature Park this morning to tour the park in the snowy aftermath of the Blizzard of 2016. There was still enough snow to make walking difficult, so I stuck with the wetland area and decided against struggling up the hill to the upland meadow; I was tired enough just touring the lowlands! The snow was relatively undisturbed; mostly I was just following ski tracks of somebody who went through the park on cross country skis. The only really disturbed area was around the north duck pond, and that wasn't done by humans, that was all the ducks and Canada Geese who winter there. So there was plenty of undisturbed snow to capture in the camera. Come walk with me!

Branch Creek running between the ball fields
The Dykeman Walking Trail at the old railroad trestle
A wetland stream winds through the snow
A section of the wetland in the snow; note the Mink tracks in the foreground
The picnic area by the north duck pond
The red bridge over the creek on the Dykeman Walking Trail
Looking across the wetland to the woods north of the duck pond
Another wetland stream winding through the snow as we leave the park
© 2016 by A. Roy Hilbinger 

Saturday, January 30, 2016

A Quick Peek

On my way to the grocery store today I took a quick trip to the nature park to assess snow conditions there in preparation for a complete tour tomorrow. I got as far as where the creek runs between the ball fields because the snow is till quite deep and I didn't want to get too tired from wading through deep snow on a day when I had errands to run. So while I was getting a shot of the "bridges" over the creek there I discovered a visitor - a juvenile Great Blue Heron! I'd seen an adult flying around a little earlier, and while I was wading through the snow heading for the concrete bridge I noticed movement down by the water. Surprise! Heh, heh! It was busy putting as much distance between me and it as possible without actually having to fly, and then trying to make itself blend into the background. Something tells me tomorrows hike is going to be interesting.

The creek in snow
The youngster walks away slowly, keeping one eye on me the whole time
© 2016 by A. Roy Hilbinger 

Monday, January 25, 2016


Our blizzard on Saturday set some records, at least up in Harrisburg, where it registered as the most snow in a storm on record. Here in Shippensburg it finally topped off officially a 32" (81 cm), although there are some drifts here and there that are as tall as me, and I'm 5' 10" (1.8 m). Certainly there are places where the snow is thigh deep and even waist deep on me; the wind blew that light snow around quite a bit. Today I went up to the grocery store and took pictures on the way. I didn't go through the nature park this time; I stressed my lower back at work Friday, loading some portable generators for customers and stacking 50 lb. (22.7 kg) bags of rock salt, and then on Saturday I took that walk down King St. at the height of the storm. So now my back is hurting. Plain walking is finally okay today, but I didn't want to push it wading through deep snow in the park. Maybe tomorrow? Meanwhile, here's what the town looks like in the snow. Enjoy!

Heading downtown by McLean House
Closed for the season - the outdoor dining area at the Select Diner
God's Acre Cemetery on N. Prince St. in the snow
Company trucks at the Comcast office - I guess there's not much business in a blizzard
A cozy winter scene on Queen St.
Almost back home - Branch Creek at King St.
© 2016 by A. Roy Hilbinger 

Saturday, January 23, 2016

The Blizzard of '16

We finally got our first snow of the season, and it's a doozy! They're calling it Winter Storm Jonas, but in my mind it'll always be the Blizzard of 2016. There was definitely no going to work today, but I decided to try to go for a walk downtown later in the morning. Not my brightest idea! You couldn't tell from looking out the window, but once out on the porch I discovered how bad this storm was. Even on the porch it was drifting, but getting down the porch steps was tricky, and down at sidewalk level it was up to my thighs. After struggling through the snow to get to the semi-plowed street the walking was easier, but that was when I decided this would be a short walk. Not only was walking difficult because of the snow depth, but it was also snowing hard and the wind was blowing, adding to the difficult conditions. So I just went down to "The Square" (the intersection of King and Earl Streets) and back again. The several times I needed to get out of the street gave me an idea of how deep the snow was, and I figured it was around 20" (50 cm). That was at 10:00 am, and it's been snowing steadily since then (it's almost 4:00 pm now), often at a rate of 2" or 3" per hour! Yessir, this snow is gonna be around for a while!

The view out my kitchen window around 9:00 am
Stepping out on the front porch at 9:45
Down on The Square looking west down King St. at 10:00 am
Down on The Square looking east up King St.
The outdoor dining section at the Select Diner on The Square
Looking out my study window around 2:00 pm at the drift draping off my roof
My trash cans are buried! Another view out my study window
© 2016 by A. Roy Hilbinger 

Friday, January 15, 2016

A Closer Look

It's mid January and still no snow. Walking in the Dykeman Spring wetland offers the same bland, dreary, brown and gray panorama. But today I discovered that getting down on ground level and looking closer reveals a bit more color and interest.

Asian Bittersweet berries 
Joe Pye Weed seed husks still hang on
A tiny, delicate fungus in the woods in the wetland area
Another of those tiny fungi on the woodland floor
And this male Cardinal perched himself nearby to check out what I was up to
© 2016 by A. Roy Hilbinger 

Sunday, January 03, 2016

A New Year Begins

December of 2015 was the warmest December on record in these parts, but with the New Year we're getting back down to more normal Winter temperatures - high temperatures just a little above freezing (low 40s F, 5º - 7º C) and lows below freezing (upper teens to mid 20s F, -8º to -3º C). I went for a walk in the Dykeman Spring Nature Park this morning to revel in the feel of Winter in the woods. Now if it would only snow!

The Dykeman Walking Trail on a snowless January morning
Looking across the Dykeman Spring wetland
Long tree shadows stripe the trail as it wanders through the woods
A fallen Oak leaf beside the trail
Post scriptus: The following shot was taken and processed specifically for Facebook, and more particularly for a private group dedicated to photography describing an imaginary dystopian world (although I've posted it to my Timeline as well). I thought I'd post it here for your amusement!

"The words of the prophets are written on the subway walls..."
© 2016 by A. Roy Hilbinger