We live near Silver Lake in Bellingham, and watched with others as rain fell for two days before turning to snow, and then kept snowing the whole day. What had been forecast as 1-3 inches of snow turned out to be more like 5 inches, at least in our neighborhood. We woke to a winter wonderland Halloween morning and headed right out before the warming sun melted everything and returned us to autumn.
Cold (about 20 degrees) when we started out, we dressed in layers–long-sleeved undershirt, ski jacket, with my blaze orange sweat shirt over everything. Hunting season is upon us, and deer frequent the woods behind our house. While we saw no other human footprints on our outing, it’s good to be prepared.
The early snow weighed down trees not quite ready for winter.
A maple tree stood next to the former trolley path that cuts through the woods behind our house.
As we strolled along, we realized our path trip might take a little more work than we had planned, out to what my kids grew up calling “the sandpits.”
Birches, white pines and even witch hazel were coated in snow, bowed down,
but not broken by the weight of all the ice crystals.
We checked to see if we could cross the stream bed that had been bone dry just a few weeks ago. Nope. Two days of solid rain then another day of wet snow had gotten the stream flowing again. Plan B. Straight ahead the other way around.
Our family has been walking these paths for nearly forty years, and a lot has changed. Years ago, small pines and other shrubs had begun taking root in an area mined for gravel and sand.
But since we moved here, those small pines have grown and created dense woodland that is becoming more challenging to walk through.
We look toward another winter, grateful for being able to remain healthy even in the midst of a pandemic. We spend time with others in the outdoors, wearing masks when friends and extended family join us. Stay warm, keep dry, dress in layers, and take care. Happy trails!
Marjorie Turner Hollman is a writer who loves the outdoors, and is the author of Easy Walks in Massachusetts, 2nd edition, More Easy Walks in Massachusetts, 2nd edition, Easy Walks and Paddles in the Ten Mile River Watershed, and Finding Easy Walks Wherever You Are. Her memoir, the backstory of Easy Walks, is My Liturgy of Easy Walks: Finding the Sacred in Everyday (and some very strange) Places.
She has been a freelance writer for numerous local, regional, and national publications for the past 20+ years, has helped numerous families to save their stories, and has recorded multiple veterans oral histories, now housed at the Library of Congress.