Field Trip: Butterfield Pond Trail in Winter

Here’s what the Butterfield Pond trail looked like in mid-September.

And here’s what it looked like a week or so ago, on the coldest day I can recall this winter — the high was 16F, the low was 2F, and the wind was brisk, even gusty, so the temperature with wind chill was well below 0F. I wore my usual gloves but my hands were never warm for the whole 1-1/2 hours we walked, covering two miles.

Our progress was slowed by me, taking photos, and by me again, taking the long way around slick steep trails, preferring my chances in slightly crunchier snow and lots of tree trunks to hang onto. We wore stabilicers (attachments for the bottom of our boots with metal spikes in them; this is the kind I have … my next pair will be the Hike version) but there were spots of pure ice where they just didn’t give enough traction on a downhill slope. Here’s my spouse reattaching one of his after it came off:



The bridge from the parking lot to the trail was icy (photo taken looking back at the parking lot):


The brook was icy, too, but also had some open — and at times, rushing — water:


And the pond – yes, also icy (spouse is actually walking on the pond here):


People keep canoes and fishing boats stashed all along the pond, because the walk-in is about 1/2 a mile:



The trail was more icy than snowy, but there was still plenty of snow in the woods:


This was the steepest, iciest section, but it’s hard to see in a photo:



This trail has many trees growing over rocks and boulders:


There was quite a lot of bright green moss showing through the ice and snow:


And some black lichen (maybe rock tripe lichen?) on this boulder:


I saw lots of  wintergreen plants (Gaultheria procumbens), some with cheerful red berries still attached (and lycopodium, or club moss, also in view):



We came upon this scat, which looked a lot like Cheetoes but we weren’t fooled; turns out (per Mary Holland) that it’s ruffed grouse scat, a long pellet with a uric acid whitewash:



This bird’s nest lying on the snow was a sweet little find:


And this gorgeous rock:



I was pretty happy to get back to the car:




    1. I’m glad you can see it too. (And almost anything beats having to use the treadmill to walk, even painful fingers and the risk of broken bones!)

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