Early Spring Jaunts

On the last day of March, we went “out like a lion” with an ice storm. The calendar told us spring began the afternoon of March 20th, but we had to wait until April Fool’s to experience the first day of spring weather. March was much colder than average by almost 6ºF. This winter was one of the top 20 snowiest winters and was consistently cold with no Indian summer. We dropped below 0ºF on numerous occasions in January, February and March. The coldest night bottomed out between 20ºF and 25ºF below zero.

Oil and electric bills were sky high this winter and unfortunately, it may not be over. I smell a spring snow storm. I remember May 9th back in the late 70′s when a foot of snow fell the day after I mowed the lawn. This spring has that type of feel.

Now here is some good news to the bitter cold and snow. Entomologists are telling us these extremely cold temperatures this winter may have knocked back the tick and Hemlock Woolly Adelgid populations. Let’s hope so.

Everything is late this spring. We are well into April and the maple syrup is still running, Snow Drops and Crocus are two weeks late, Pussywillows are just peaking out and there is still a snow pack in the deep woods. Before you know it, we will be up to our eyeballs in spring chores.

We need to wait one more week for the sun to melt the snow and the ground to dry out a bit more so we can work the soil. The heck with waiting, let’s go for a hike. Hiking was tough this winter with the deep snow pack. Snow shoes were a must the last 2 1/2 months. Let’s get some exercise and catch up on our hiking and exploring this early spring. It’s the most interesting time of year to be in the woods, before the deciduous tree canopy flushes out, wildflowers such as Swamp Marigold, Trillium, Columbine, Jack in the Pulpit, Virginia Bluebells, Mountain Pink, Shad, Spice Bush, Native Andromeda, Bleeding Heart, Pussywillow, Trout Lily, Skunk Cabbage, Woodland Phlox, Wild Ginger, White Foam Flower, Crested Iris, Pink Shell Azalea, Blueberry, Cutleaf Toothwort and Anemone are to bloom.

Here in Pawling, we are in a trail lands region for hiking. The Appalachian Trail traverses our region with many different and challenging terrains. The Pawling Nature Reserve, a Nature Conservancy wilderness with its many trails, is a true wilderness region straddling the towns of Dover and Pawling with access off of Quaker Lake Road. A hike up to Cranberry Mountain off Havilland Hollow is a great loop hike for you and your canine friend to enjoy some quality time together. For a quick outing, take a short walk up to the awe inspiring Dover Stone Church and take in the beauty of one of our local treasures.

There are many trails in the Harlem Valley worth exploring and picking a few hikes is the perfect way to get some cardiovascular and leg exercise before we get our nails dirty. Happy mud season!

Pete and the Natives