Sunday, February 7, 2016

Hiking in a Winter Wonderland – Blackstone Gorge – February 6, 2016

Rolling Dam
It doesn’t happen very often, and when it does it doesn’t last very long, but on Friday we had the perfect storm for turning everything white.  It can’t be windy; it has to start off with rain, then turn to snow to coat the branches, and then turn cold enough to freeze everything is place. The result is a winter wonderland, and lots of power outages as tree branches come crashing down.

We had that storm on Friday, so I got out early Saturday morning to take pictures at one of my favorite spots along the Blackstone River – the Blackstone Gorge.  Granite cliffs covered with Mountrail Lauren and Hemlock trees tower over the river, which runs though a rocky set of rapids below.  The river was running pretty well – 8 feet, 500 cfs on the Route 122 gage.

Trail through the woods
I got out just after sunrise and hiked down to the bottom of the Gorge and back. I brought my snowshoes, but I didn’t end up using them.  Although we got about 8” of snow, there was only a couple of inches on the ground in the woods – most of it was still up in the trees.  I hiked along the river for the first half-mile, then had to climb the cliffs that run along the river. The views were great – pictures don’t do it justice. 

As I was heading out at around 8:00, the sun was already starting to melt the snow on the highest branches, which would come crashing down.  I took a couple of direct hits – including one down the back of the neck.  By noon, only the evergreens were still coated with snow.

Snow in the trees
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