Saturday, February 23, 2008

Sunny Midwinter Strand

It's a gorgeous sunny morning, February 2008. We have had a few days of dreary grayness and I was eager to walk the Strand while it was still too cold to be busy with hikers.

Click on the pictures for detail!In West Elmira, near the large, dog-walking area, the ice dams are stubbon. Very cold weather could create flooding around them. The Town of Elmira dredged the Chemung and apparently created sluices. Let's hope they work.
This is the view upriver from directly behind the Town Hall and Pirozzolo Park. We are looking at Roricks Glen. There are ducks nearly everywhere we step. They are not happy to see me and fly away immediately.
The Canada geese, on the other hand, couldn't care less about my intrusion. They are napping in the warm sunlight.
These little fellows charged me as soon as they could see me. I ignored them to prevent being bowled over. As soon as they got close enough to detect my disinterest, they veered off to find other diversions.
Otherwise, most of us early morning walkers found solitude and beauty. Not to say that those Golden Retrievers weren't both handsome and delightful. I love dogs, the bigger the better, as long as they are well behaved.
Long shadows and harsh contrasts. Just about sums up what I found on the Strand.
A lovely view of the dog-walking "park" directly attached to the Town of Elmira utility area. Behind me are scrubby woods and piles of dirt and rocks from the dredging, I think.
The Town of Elmira is a relatively new municipality. It's rare to spot a full copse of spruces and firs, enough to hide the houses by the dike.
Each wooded area is broken by paths beaten to the river bank. This visit finds lots and lots of footprints and sledding trails. The children have been busy, despite the frigid temps. It's approximately 15F degrees (just under -10C).
This feeder creek has a little bridge, now covered with snow. In the good weather, dogs and children readily cross the makeshift span. Adults prefer to follow the waterbed and walk up over the culvert, top-middle of photo.

There were lots of pictures, many of which I sent to the productions departments at the paper. If the real estate advertising carried these lovely impressions of winter, people would flock to the area.

Little Pond

It wasn't an especially pretty morning, but I needed the exercise, so I went back to Newtown Creek to see how she looked in the winter. Rather Bleah, I'm afraid.It's running very fast for a "little" creek, and I'm glad I didn't bring the HuggaMutt. She would want to explore as close to the water as possible, because that's where the river rats and ground hogs hide.
Everywhere I wanted to go was clogged thicket. This is not a heavily traveled area this time of year. Comparison shots for the summer visit were impossible, since the creek was much, much higher than it was last year.
The sun shone briefly a couple of times, and the pictures were a little more cheering. This looks towards the Chemung River. I doubt there were fishermen. The season opens in April, and the creek is too high even for those skilled at hiding themselves.
Did I mention it was flowing very, very fast?
That makes for a very frigid, very muddy place to drown. I have to wonder about it's year-round human denizens.

Do they dare bathe? I've found clothing and kit articles around here in other seasons. I do not doubt that our homeless find a little corner of Eden here.

Too bad the winters can be so harsh. I'm glad we have shelters for them in town. Almost all of the street people are very nice, personable. For a while there, we had a spate of murders that really cut down their numbers. A person who walks downtown would definitely notice the drop. All remain unsolved, at least officially.

We will return in the Spring for a new look.

Little Pond