Thursday, February 21

A Winter Wog Walk

Over the past couple of years, Brian and I have developed the habit of "celebrating" holidays by taking scenic hikes. It's a perfect time to have the snippets of metropolitan wilderness that remain to ourselves... so last Thursday, when we had a few hours together on Valentine's Day afternoon, we packed up the dog and headed up to Edgewater Park. A la chuck b. who blogs at My Back 40 (Feet) I took some pictures so you could join us.

I was happy to see that Lake Erie is frozen near the shore, at least. As you can see past the end of the short (and no longer used, except by fisherman and walkers) pier, the shallows are covered with a layer of ice and snow:

The presence of a long, dark shadow further out in the lake makes me think that the ice doesn't stretch very far, however. (And that was verified by the lake effect snow that the eastern suburbs received this week--when the lake freezes over, the lake effect snow ends.)

There are a few random things in the lake--intake platforms for public water supplies, for example--but I am pretty sure that this is a ship. Huge lake vessels like this make Gordon Lightfoot play in my head, and bring out my inner sea-yearning romantic:

(By the way, my heritage is mostly German, but I am a quarter Welsh and a smidgeon Spanish. I blame my Welsh sea-cliff-dwelling ancestors for my love of ships and open water.)

There were few footprints off the walking path, but Coco apparently found evidence of animal life near these shore rocks. It required additional investigation, of course:

I loved how the rocks were covered with blankets of snow, while the twigs and brush sticking up were encased in sparkling ice. You can understand why shore plants have to be tough ones when you see pictures like this:

As we neared the beach, the more natural-looking rocks give way to huge boulders, cut and placed here long ago. These are the rocks where I scraped up my hand in October, so we kept the dog away from them this time. In the background of this picture, you can see high-rise apartment buildings on the border of Lakewood (where I live) and Cleveland:

Pulling away from the tree, you can appreciate how yellow its twigs look en masse:

And further out still, you can easily guess which direction is northwest if you know that the winds tend to come off the lake in that direction here:

Another tree silhouette, beautifully warped and gnarled from years of living on the shore:

Finally, to the beach. Unlike some others we saw, we respected the "No Pets On Beach" sign and simply walked around it instead of through it. I'm sure it's a hygiene/cleanliness issue to have animals on the beach, but that's a bit ironic considering this beach is often declared unsafe for swimming because of the lake water anyway.

Look a little closer at the iced-over water. It looks like there are still waves here... I'm thinking because of the way the water froze in sections that happen to mirror the shape of the shoreline?

On our way back to the car, I stopped to admire some pretty tree bark. (Possibly an American Sycamore?)

The peeling bark on its branches looked neat against the blue sky.

The picnic buildings are usually full in the summertime, but not so much in the winter. I really liked the little xeriscape bed in the foreground--hurray for winter interest in a corporate/public landscape!

Nearer to the car, the snow had a crusty, 3/4 inch thick layer on top. We made the mistake of tossing a few sheets of this snow to Miss Coco, frisbee style... since she is a relatively tireless Lab/Malamute mix, we ended up continuing the game at her insistance for a good 15 minutes or so.

Coco looks like a tough girl here with her tail and ears up and her teeth showing, because I had caught her in mid-prance. She does this short, urgent, higher-pitched bark and her front paws prance a bit when she wants you to throw something to her... and here's she looking intently at Brian, who had a foot-wide chunk of snow that she felt she was ready to catch:

So much for the tough girl act... whenever she misses a chunk, she turns around and goes bounding through the snow looking for it. Silly dog!

The game of fetch concluded our little scenic walk for the day. But now that I look outside I see that the skies are a similar shade of blue and the sun is shining again... maybe it's a sign that it's time to throw a harness and a leash on Coco and take another walk. Even if it's just around the neighborhood instead of along the lakeshore. Have a wonderful weekend!


Lisa at Greenbow said...

What a wonderful winter walk Mz Kim. Brrrrr did it look cold there. I can tell that Coco appreciated it too. Especially the snow tossing.

growingagardenindavis said...

Thanks for the trip down memory lane! I remember going out to Lake Erie when I was (much) younger and I love seeing the snow from the warmth of California. I remember getting tired of how long winter lasted but the snow cover, frozen waves and bare trees against the winter sky really are beautiful. Nice picnic buildings, too!

Tracy said...

Sounds like you had a nice hike. The pictures are stunning. Everything looks so different in the dead of winter.

Kathy said...

It sure looks like sycamore bark to me, and they love being near water. There are quite a few of them in our general area.

Robin (Bumblebee) said...

It seems like a chilly walk. But isn't it interesting how the cold dissipates when you start moving about? And lovely views take your mind off the cold.

What a great--and healthy--tradition.

Robin at Bumblebee

Kerri said...

Exercise and fresh air...can't beat it for raising the spirits..especially if you're a dog :) Coco looks like she had a wonderful time!
The snowy blanket certainly looks pretty. I'll bet it's a lovely walk when everything is green too.

Kylee Baumle said...

Kim, I can't believe you didn't see the similarity between your "waves" pictures and the fields of Putnam County! I could probably go outside here and only walk a tenth of a mile and take a picture that looks nearly identical, except it would be a field of corn stubble with snow on it instead of Lake Erie.

Beautiful pictures of the trees. I too love sycamores and there is one I see on my way to work that I MUST stop and take a picture of while it's still winter. It's just gorgeous and it really stands out against its darker-barked neighbors.

Meagan said...

That's all very cool, but since when is Valentine's day a real holiday? Not that you don't deserve a break mind you but I'm SURE we can come up with a better excuse than a greeting card bank day.

chuck b. said...

Those trees are beautiful. I think you're right about the sycamore ID. Well, it's a sycamore, genus Platanus, but I wouldn't know which one. (I know about a tree ID book that helps you key out American trees in winter when they're dormant and leafless--cool!)

On the subject of lake ice, I always think it's interesting what kinds of things people know about because of where they live. I sure wouldn't know anything about lake ice.

And aren't animal personalities fascinating? We're still getting to know our cats. They develop their little fixations, and drop them and move on to something else. Makes me wonder what's going through those tiny little brains. Guy likes to tell me the cats' brains are bigger than mine, but my brain just isn't big enough to understand that.

Bob said...

Hi Kim, It looks like you had a nice walk, I love the snow in the pics, I've not seen any proper snow this year. You have to be careful what you start with dogs don't you LOL! Anyway thanks for sharing, Bob.

Frances, said...

I love to go along on tours, hikes and walks. Your scenery is a little different that chuck B.'s however. '-> Coco is adorable and enthusiastic about being in the snow and catching icy disks, how funny and cute. Thanks for giving us some outdoor time, we need it1

Frances at Faire Garden

Anonymous said...

You had the views all to yourselves! I have resisted walks due to low temps and I must rouse from the winter hibernation! Thanks for the push forward although, it is snowing here! Such a smart dog!

Christopher C. NC said...

Throughout your walk I kept thinking, "What kind of shoes are they wearing?" Did you have to use snow shoes for this walk or just some kind of winter boot? Maybe you can tell I have now walked in the snow with inadequate shoes.

joey said...

Enjoyed the hike, Kim ... reminds me of where I grew up on Saginaw Bay (Lake Huron). I do believe your tree photo is a Sycamore, one of my favorites because of the flaking bark.

Anonymous said...

All right, I'm feeling better about living in this part of the country at this time of the year now, so thank you. :) Also I'm glad to hear the lake is at least partly frozen.

Unknown said...

Lisa at Greenbow, she definitely did! Although as you can tell, we get a kick out of it, too... we just seem to tire of it

Leslie, for the first time in a long time, I am almost there in terms of being tired of the long winter. This one is just dragging out forever... but I think that part of it is that I haven't done as many walks/hikes as I have in the past few years. I need to rectify that.

Tracy, thanks! I love the snow just after it falls... it makes the city even look so fresh and clean. :)

Kathy, they do? Interesting--I hadn't known that. Thanks for verifying my hunch, though.

Robin (Bumblebee), you're right--I was only cold when I stopped too long to take pictures! lol.

Kerri, she had a blast... lots of things to sniff, lots of messages to leave, lots of running around and even eating snow. Needless to say, she crashed hard as soon as we got home. *grin*

Kylee, THAT'S WHAT IT IS! I knew it reminded me of something--field stubble covered in snow, of course! I'm just used to seeing that in somewhat straight lines, not these curved lines of the beach inlet. (That's my story and I'm sticking to it!) Please do take a picture of your sycamore, too....

Meagan, Thursday was my one day off last week... and it just happened to be Valentine's Day... but the Christmas thing is a definite tradition. :) (But you're right. I'm the girl who decorated my dorm room door with black hearts on Valentine's Day--I see little value in it.)

chuck b., I guess I shouldn't have been so specific, because I don't know, either. Care to share that tree ID book's name--I would love to check that out. (And I didn't know about lake ice and lake effect snow until I moved here, either!)

Animals are so funny... some habits, Coco still has from her puppy days, and other habits she's developed over the years. It's so fun to watch. :)

UK Bob, it's a short walk compared to some of the rambles you and Tommy take, but still very fun! And yes, you definitely have to watch what kinds of things you start with dogs... lol.

Frances, don't remind me... I could use some of chuck b.'s scenery instead of this pretty soon! *grin* Thanks for stopping by.

Layanee, we were mostly by ourselves... just a few other walkers and one other dog. In the midst of a big city, it did feel like a luxury! And I keep thinking that I need to rouse from winter hibernation and resume my daily walk at work... that would be good for me.

Christopher C, the shoe thing is actually kind of interesting. I have waterproof hiking boots... but really they just look like high top brown tennis shoes, and they're from New Balance. Brian had hiking boots on, that have been waterproofed. Dry is very good in the snow, but you have to be careful--if something is too airtight, they can cause your feet to sweat, and then once your feet get cold after they're already wet, you're miserable!

joey, my great-aunt still lives in Saginaw, and it's sooo pretty up there. I used to love to visit for just that reason, even though we often had to just sit at her house. :) Thanks for corroborating my tree ID!

seeded, I just went back to your blog and realized that you live in Toledo! Pretty close--and close to Kylee at Our Little Acre as well. (And I went to school at UD, and my brother and sister-in-law live in Centerville now... so I know some of the places you have been.) Fun. :)

Unknown said...

What a lovely walk! Can't imagine walking along those mighty lake shores...and the trees are marvelous, like living sculptures. Great time, Kim, we had almost as much fun as you did!

Sue Swift said...

Super photos. I love the first picture of the tree. Have to say though that I'm glad that here the winter is almost past and we're seeing signs of spring.

Entangled said...

These vicarious blog walks are good for me, but probably not as good as a real one ;-). It's nice to see the Lake Erie scenery - when I was a very little kid we used to go to Lorain to visit my mom's family and I thought the lake was just about the coolest thing I ever saw.

Meems said...

What a nice tour around the snow-laden lakeshore. Hubby and I often visit state parks in our area and we always try to go when they are least crowded. I love your tree photos and the rocks covered with snow are always fascinating to this Florida native. Thanks for taking us along.

agentXXX said...

we've been talking about gordon lightfoot too. sp loves that song, and also baker told us it reminds him of put in bay, and oliver hazard perry "kicked the shit out of the british singlehandedly". maybe sp, underneath all that polish and slovak is a little bit welsh, like me?

Anonymous said...

Wow, I haven't been on a walk in the snow, like, forever! Quite a number of years. Thank you.

(And that bark is beautiful, and does indeed look like sycamore).

My brother had several malamutes - and there were such wonderful dogs. Alyeska, his first one, used to take naps out in the snow - it would be way below zero, and she'd be happily snoozing in a couple feet of snow - she was a sweetheart. Coco looks like she enjoyed her Valentine's Day walk too!

Yolanda Elizabet Heuzen said...

Such a wonderful walk Kim and in the excellent company of Miss Coco too. ;-)

Everthing looks so white and wintry, so very different from here. Love the yellow branches on that tree, the snow makes them really stand out!

Carol Michel said...

Hi Kim, thanks for taking us along on your walk. The winter scenery is beautiful and gives us a chance to see trees and water and rocks more intently than in the summer. I feel all refreshed and invigorated from the exercise!

Carol, May Dreams Gardens
(Looks like a Sycamore to me!)

Annie in Austin said...

Thanks, Kim- it's been years since I went on a snowy walk of any kind...even longer since it was one along a lake.
My wardrobe used to have the right clothes and shoes but no longer - guess it's a good thing this trip was virtual.

You also reminded me how cool the yuccas look in snow.

Annie at the Transplantable Rose

Weeping Sore said...

Your almost monochrome photos perfectly capture winter by the cold water. Walking your dog through the snow must be fun for all. The best part for me would be the hot toddy upon arriving home.

nina at Nature Remains. said...

Beautiful scenes of the frozen shores!!!
The perfect counterpart to the summer scenes on the beach--very lovely!!!

lisa said...

Nice walk! I want to take one this weekend...but my snow is pretty deep still. I like the "frozen" waves...I've seen them freeze over almost 5 feet high on the souteast shores of Lake Michigan in Indiana...I think from water flowing over the same area again and again. (But it does look like just one wave, frozen in time.) Coco looks very contrasty against the snow...heh, even your dog is a "Study in Contrasts"...awesome! :)

Muriel said...

Nice pics! The willow tree is beautifully captured.

I am half Welsh, though no sea-cliff dwellers in my history. Just coal miners, and it has not resulted in a love of coal!

However, I have heard it said that if you have just a drop of Welsh blood in you, it takes over. My Dad made sure of that, eg. Did you know that _____ (insert a word) is of Welsh origins. Did you know that ____ was invented by a Welshman? etc, etc....

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