this is one of those springs that you never want to forget. the warm weather and astonishing 11 days without rain led to a wonderful series of outdoor memories. earlier this week i backpacked with a group to a not-so-far-away spot to help instruct a course on Leave No Trace principles. two years ago it was my first time camping or backpacking. this time around, i helped others fiddle with backcountry stoves and water filters. i also got my first round of black fly bites, but not too many. i skipped the tent option and slept out under a tarp and the stars, of course. the peepers were deafening – i don’t know if you’ve ever slept near a pond a night in may, but the peepers are off the hook. it was the barred owls that serenaded me to sleep, however. there were multiple owls calling to each other in their typical territorial vocalizations that sound a lot like how i imagine monkeys in a jungle sound. we also woke up to a gorgeous misty morning and i watched the fog settle into the trees and roll over the murky pond.
spring is happening so fast it’s hard to keep up. i want to photograph and savor every bursting green leaf and flowery bloom, but it really just isn’t possible. one thing i can appreciate, though, is having the woods right outside my doorstep. sunset walks through a forested landscape is something i always wanted to experience, but never found the time or place to try before i started camping, backpacking, and now, of course, living in a cabin. there are few things more lovely than the sight of the setting sun filtering through a grove of hemlocks or reflecting on a serene camp pond.
do you know what the animal in the tree is? it’s a porcupine!
i really want to get this album so i can listen to it in my cabin.
i am very much enjoying this time before spring has really sprung. the days are warm and the nights are cool and there’s this brief magical moment in time RIGHT NOW where the bugs really aren’t that bad. i can take an after dinner walk and soak in the golden hour sunlight as it filters through the woods without getting eaten alive by mosquitoes! the peepers are out in the wetlands, i’m hearing woodpeckers almost constantly, and buds are changing and growing everyday. i gotta get back out there and capture it and enjoy it before this calm, peaceful spring is over!
spring arrives in the woods a little bit later than it does in town, but little by little the signs are starting to show. the peepers are peeping at night in the wetlands, the birds are more active, buds are starting to show, and the temperatures are slowly rising. oh, and TICKS are abound! ugh, ticks. why. just why.
i went for a short walk today in my new purple pants and FINALLY had my first moose encounter here! it was so exciting, i can’t even tell you how exciting it was. when the moose heard me she was just on the edge of the woods and ran back into them so i thought i wouldn’t get a good look OR a photo. i could hear her making her way back towards a wetland though, staying close to the road, so i moved in that direction until she emerged again! she looked at me for a minute and then ran across the road and further into the woods this time. amazing!
last week i dipped my toes into my 2013 conservation season with a brief venture (only 4 work days!) to Joshua Tree National Park in Southern California. this was my first visit and work experience in the high desert and it was MUCH harder than i expected. although JTree is about to enter it’s hottest season, we found ourselves in a cool and windy spell for the first three days. it was in the 60s and EXTREMELY windy, particularly on the ridge where our project site was located. then, by the end of the week the wind calmed and the temperatures rose. that’s why we are dressed for both winter and summer in this photos. in hindsight, i’m thankful for the varied experience in such a short amount of time. on the toughest day of work a few big horn sheep paid us a visit and just energized the whole group. the joshua tree blooms are also extraordinarily robust this year, so i was able to enjoy and photograph something a little bit rare. i loved the weird trees, the warm sun, the good company, the epic mountains, and the strangely hostile desert. on the other hand, i was happy to say goodbye to the blowing sand and total lake of humidity. my poor skin is still trying to recover! next up, spring in New Hampshire, blooms, bugs, TICKS, and then… Alaska!
last weekend we visited portland, maine and had so much fun! i wish i had taken more photos, but this is what i’ve got. i hope that when we get up there next there will be blooming trees and maybe even lilacs. for now, spring is just on the horizon. i love walking through the portland streets and seeing all the interesting homes, buoys in trees, and restaurants i wish i could eat at! we ate at sillys on saturday, sampled local mead that afternoon, and bought donuts on easter sunday morning. until next time, portland!
who isn’t enjoying the extra sunlight at the end of the day? last week i went on a 5 o’clock sunset walk and soaked in all that golden light. the sky didn’t turn pink like i hoped, but the woods still had a lovely warm glow. it was warm outside that day, in the upper 40s, but by the end of my walk my hands were pretty frozen. winter is still all around. yesterday i volunteered at a sugar house (an educational one – not a commercial one) and learned alllll about how maple sugar is produced. it’s funny, being from new england you’d think i’d have known more by now, but i learned a lot. sadly, i didn’t have my camera with me to document the day. it’s surprisingly cold in a sugar shack because all the heat is directed into the boiling of sap. but i did see sunshine, old maples, and sampled a fair share of the grade b good stuff from 2011. apparently there’s more snow coming this week?! at least it will keep the ticks away longer.