A Cloudy January Hike In The PPL Wetlands.
Although it had gotten colder this weekend here in Northeastern Pennsylvania, temperatures dropped into the 20’s, it was still above average and the the mild weather we have had so far this winter was evident during my hike in the PPL Wetlands yesterday.
It was cloudy when I left my house, and I encountered a snow squall that whitened the roads atop the mountains making my drive to the PPL Wetlands a bit difficult. However, when I neared the wetlands, at a much lower elevation, it was only cloudy and there was no snow on the ground. I was surprised to find that almost all of the ponds and canals were ice free.
I have been visiting these wetlands for about seven years now and there was always ice on the waterways in January, February and some years even in March. Not this year. It seemed more like a day in early November or late March than the end of January.
I walked the familiar paths, which, even though it has been mild, still were devoid of the many sounds of life that fill the air in the warmer months. Gone are the sounds of the insects buzzing, the song birds singing, and the frogs croaking. For the first mile I didn’t hear a sound until I ran into a flock of bluebirds, These pretty birds brave the cold and remain here for the winter.
And there were still a lot of plants living in the middle of winter, I am not sure what type of plant this is, but, again it is not often you seen green plants in January in Northeastern Pennsylvania.
I walked from the wetlands to the river lands and saw no animals and only a few birds. I was surprised, as I walked along the ice free waters of Lake Took-A-While, to see a flock of geese on the waters. I have not seen them in this area this time of year before.
On my return walk I also ran into the usual winter residents, two species of birds who seem to like to flock together, and flutter in the dense vegetation along the trails, the dark eyed or northern junco.
The mild weather we have had also could be seen as I walked along the Susquehanna River. On my last visit ice had formed on the river and floated downstream. Yesterday the river was completely ice free. I remember some year the river was frozen solid this time of year.
As I returned to my car, I hoped that the warm weather we have had continues. Even though the flowers, leaves and wildlife of the warm months are gone, it is still nice walking in these wooded wetlands in January without having to trudge through knee deep snow. But I also remember many years were both February and March brought lots of snow and sub zero temperatures. I sure do hope this years isn’t one of them . Here is a link to some more photographs from my hike yesterday. https://keepyoureyespeeled.net/photographs-2017/nggallery/photographs-2017/PPL-Wetlands-January-28-2017-
“There is a privacy about it which no other season gives you ….. In spring, summer and fall people sort of have an open season on each other; only in the winter, in the country, can you have longer, quiet stretches when you can savor belonging to yourself.” – Ruth Stout