Saturday, January 22, 2011

Following the Deer Tracks - January 22nd

I had some free time today, so I decided to do some snowshoeing down at the bike path in Lincoln. I started at the visitor center on Rt. 295 since I wasn’t sure if the parking lot down by the Kelly House would be open. I hadn’t been there before, but the visitor center is a great place to access the bike path - and there's a Dunkin Donuts.

The bike path was well traveled with a couple of well-compacted paths right down the middle. I stayed in the fresh snow off to the side, and followed the bike path down to the river to check out the Ashton Dam. Conditions were great - I'd say 6' of light powder on top of a foot of slightly more packed snow. Temperatures were in the 20's, but it didn't seem that cold. The Blackstone Canal was frozen over, but the river was running below the dam. Above the dam, the river was iced over.

From the Ashton Dam, I went up the Lincoln side of the river as far as Rt. 295. This area is absolutely covered with mountain laurel - it must be beautiful when its blooming in the spring. Wikipedia says that mountain laurel grows in large thickets on rocky slopes in forested areas. Well, this area definitely fits the bill. I followed some deer tracks up the slopes and through the mountain laurel. Those deer are very sure-footed - it was quite a climb. I saw lots of tracks and a couple of bedding spots up on the slopes, but no deer.

I was only out for a couple of hours, but it was a good workout. One of my snowshoeing books says that you burn 1,000 calories per hour in powdery snow on hilly terrain, and I believe it.


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