Winter Yielding to Spring: A Walk Down A Country Road

– Posted in: Native/Invasive, Weather

Les, A Tidewater Gardener, has issued a challenge he calls The Winter Walk-Off. The rules are pretty simple: “On your own two feet, leave the house and share what can be seen within walking (or biking) distance of your home. … Your post does not have to be about gardening or a travelogue, unless you want it to be. …just keep your eyes and mind open, be creative and have fun, but don’t show anything from your own garden.”

Because I enjoyed reading some of the other contributions, most from worlds so different from mine, I was inspired to contribute as well. On the day this walk was taken, the high was 51F (10C). The snow was melting slowly because the sun was not shining. So the landscape is straddling the seasons. It’s not really winter anymore, but it’s not really spring yet, either. The ground is still too frozen to call it mud season, so I guess it’s still icicle season. So let’s take a walk to see what we can see.

cell phone tower access road

Looking across the neighbor’s yard, we see the access road for the cell phone tower.

The cell phone tower access road climbs higher in elevation, but we are going to be following a creek and will be going downhill.

country road

So far, the descent has been gradual, but looking back we can see that we have indeed been walking downhill.

deer prints in the muddy shoulder of my road

The shoulder of the road is soft with moisture, and deer prints are visible.

country road

We continue on down the hill.

curving downhill road

Can you imagine driving down this road when the packed snow morphs into ice?

Our road is plowed in winter, but they do not use salt, only grit which seems like plain old dirt to us. For weeks we drive on snow-packed pavement, and the compacted snow often becomes icy. By the time the snow has melted off the road, there is so much grit that visitors think we live on a dirt road.

cloud of dust in the road

Every time a car drives by, it raises a cloud of dust from the grit. Fortunately, not too many cars go by.

creek flowing along a road

We finally have a glimpse of the creek we’ve been following all along. It used to be further back in the woods, visible but not easily photographed–until now.

Structure draped in plastic

If memory serves, this structure was used as a greenhouse last spring.

yucca and sedum spectabile at the edge of a driveway

These two plants–a yucca and a sedum–growing at the edge of the driveway also cause me to wonder if a gardener lives here.

seedhead of Clematis virginiana

I think this is a seedhead of Clematis virginiana


These horses belong to the farm that is on the corner of my road and a more heavily traveled county road. A truck rumbled by on that road and spooked them just as I pressed the shutter button.

So, we’ve come to the end of the road. It’s time to turn around and go back uphill.

American sycamore Platanus occidentalis

Funny how just turning around can change your perspective. I walked right past this American sycamore (Platanus occidentalis) going down, and only noticed it on the return trip.

Banded Wooly Bear Pyrrharctia isabella

Banded Wooly Bear (Pyrrharctia isabella)

Now we come to the best part: a great view of the glen, while water tumbles over many modest waterfalls.

Wintry waterfall upstate NY

Here you can see winter has yet to fully relinquish its grip, but the tumbling water will eventually wear the ice away.

creek between winter and spring

Yes, it’s beautiful.

I'm guessing these are wild turkey prints--another thing I missed on the way down.

I’m guessing these are wild turkey prints–another thing I missed on the way down.

And so we wend our way back home to the beginning. I took this walk on Monday, and yesterday winter came back. Our lawn is once again covered with snow, and it is snowing as I write this. It will be a week before it is in the 40s again.

For those of you who haven’t discovered it yet, I’d like to introduce you to Google Maps Pedometer. You can plot your route on a map and learn the distance traveled and the elevation change as well. By using this I can tell you that our walk was two and a half miles round trip. And as this graph demonstrates, it was all downhill and then all uphill:

Elevation map of walking route

We started at an elevation over 1300ft, descended 413ft in altitude, and then reversed direction and climbed back up

Thanks for walking with me!
snowy flowing creek

About the Author

Kathy Purdy is a colchicum evangelist, converting unsuspecting gardeners into colchicophiles. She would be delighted to speak to your group about colchicums or other gardening topics. Kathy’s been writing since 4th grade, gardening since high school, and blogging since 2002.

Comments on this entry are closed.

Ray April 7, 2013, 10:03 pm

The waterfalls reminded me of the IBM glen in Johnson City, near the neighborhood I grew up in.

Joseph March 15, 2013, 12:57 am

I love icicle season. It is cold enough for there to be snow and to see your breath but warm enough that you can just put on a sweater and a light jacket. This is my favorite time of year.

Marcus March 15, 2013, 12:51 am

Thanks for the pictures. A walk through the forest is so good for the soul. Waterfalls and caterpillars are inspirational for very different reasons but they are also just wonderful to look at as well.

Charlie March 14, 2013, 10:49 pm

Spring is coming, you live in a very beautiful setting. I to really liked the waterfalls.

Alana March 14, 2013, 9:13 pm

I love this idea- the opposite (in a way) of Garden Bloggers Bloom Day. I just returned tonight from nearly two weeks in the south and have to re-acclimatize to winter – but I may try that idea of photographing a walk in my urban neighborhood of upstate New York. It won’t be near as photogenic as what you found, though!

Dee Nash March 14, 2013, 7:35 pm

That photo of the horses is so cool. I also enjoyed seeing the wildlife tracks. Because it’s so dry here, we don’t often see a lot of tracks.~~Dee

Cindy, MCOK March 14, 2013, 4:13 pm

I like that the horses were just starting to move as you snapped your picture. As our photographer friend Mr. Perry might say, it tells a story that way.

Les March 14, 2013, 3:28 pm

Thank you Kathy for taking us on your walk and for playing a part in this year’s Walk-Off. It is shaping up to be the most diverse ever. Thanks for the tip on Google pedometer, although there is no elevation change for miles around, so that part would be of little use here. I have been creating my own maps with Google to mark my kayak trips and to figure how far I paddled. For some of the trips I have been surprised I wasn’t more tired when I got home. Thanks again!

G.Longsworth March 14, 2013, 1:28 pm

Such fun! I walk daily with my husband in our neighborhood. He always sees and points out the animal tracks. Spring has sprung here in Virginia. My Star Magnolia has blossomed this week.

Donalyn March 14, 2013, 10:22 am

A pretty walk Kathy – I love those little waterfalls – so pretty!

Kathy Purdy March 14, 2013, 11:27 am

I’ll show them to you next time you come to visit.

Gail March 14, 2013, 10:19 am

That was a beautiful walk and I loved finding out about google pedometer!

Alison March 14, 2013, 10:18 am

Thanks for taking us along on your walk! I liked seeing the animal tracks and the creek with its waterfall. Sometimes when I tour gardens, I turn around after making a circuit of the place to see if I missed anything, for a new perspective. There’s always something!

Frances March 14, 2013, 10:06 am

Thanks for taking us along on your walk, Kathy, it was fun and educational! The waterfalls were beautiful, that would be a great destination to get some of those negative ions that are so healthy. I liked seeing the google thingey, too!