She who hesitates has no snow to play in this year. How true, at least for the early part of winter. After a series of fits and starts, I was excited to see snow as 2012 began. It looked like I was going to get in some snowshoeing and cross-country skiing before I headed to Florida.
I got my equipment out of the attic and dusted it off. Then, I snowshoed into the swamp across the road. That was enough to wet my appetite for more winter fun. So, when neighborhood friends called and asked if I wanted to snowshoe at the Jamestown Audubon Nature Center on Riverside Road, I was ready to go. Little did we realize that the Jamestown/Lakewood area had been luckier on the "snow meter" than the town of Kiantone.
As we drove south, we saw less and less snow. When we arrived at the Audubon, there was only a dusting on the ground. At first we were disappointed, but being adventurous outdoor-lovers, we took advantage of our situation and left the snowshoes in the car. Using just our poles, we decided to Nordic walk.
The Jamestown Community College Preserve provides beautiful scenery for cross-country skiing.
Photo by Susan M. Songster-Weaver
The Nature Center contains 600 acres of land and there are several trails. We decided to take a path down through the hemlocks and around the far side of the big pond. The day was perfect! A bright blue sky, dotted with pure white puffs of clouds, smiled on us as we walked. The woods glistened and the snow covered branches added just the right touch to create a winter wonderland. Although we didn't see much wildlife, we were happy just tromping through the woods on this glorious day.
We hiked for over an hour and returned to the car feeling marvelous. It was still early in the day when we arrived back home, so I asked if anyone wanted to go to the Roger Tory Peterson to snowshoe and the Jamestown Community College Preserve to cross-country ski. The girls looked at me and smiled but said "Naw." Never to be one to let a "No" hold me back, I smiled back and said, "Okay, see you later!" And, off I went on my own.
I've gotten a bit smarter in my old age. Any more, I travel with both my snowshoes and my skis in the car. If the terrain isn't good for skiing, then I snowshoe. I like to do both the RTPI and the College Park on the same day as neither place takes hours to explore. On my last excursion to this location, I tried skiing at the RTPI and snowshoeing the park. The snowshoeing was okay but it was very difficult maneuvering skis through the woods behind the Institute.
I parked at the RTPI lot and walked across the road, entering the park on the side closest to the school. The snow looked perfect for skiing but looks were deceiving. On the first glide, I ended up in a wet spot and couldn't go any further. After cleaning off my snow-laden ski, I was a little more careful with my path. I skied down to Moon Brook, crossed the bridge and then backtracked to my car. The scenery was captivating.
The sun was quickly disappearing behind the hill as I strapped on my snowshoes to trek the paths at the RTPI. Knowing I didn't have much daylight left almost made me quit early, but then I remembered my snow days were numbered. At dusk, I came out of the woods with a huge smile on my face. Oh, what fun you can have in the snow! Finally!
The Chautauqua Watershed Conservancy presently has its 2011-12 membership drive underway and is seeking donations to conserve the Wells Bay Lakeshore. To support these efforts or for more information on CWC's healthy landscaping for healthy waters efforts, visit our website at chautauquawatershed.org, or call 664-2166.
Susan Songster-Weaver is a retired teacher, nature lover and longtime CWC volunteer and supporter.