Great Swamp Outdoor Education Center
The winter of 2015 has truly been the Winter From Hell. Not only has it snowed nearly every week (at times several times a week), but the temperatures have been dangerously cold most of the month of February. Most weekend mornings have had temperatures in the single digits with wind chills causing them to drop below -20 F! This is the reason we went on one hike the entire month! This is unprecedented in ten years of weekend hiking. It's rare that we miss a weekend due to the weather. It's unheard of to miss an entire month. And yet we almost did! Had it not been for our hike on the very first day of February, it would have been completely bereft of outdoor excursions.

And today, the first day of March, was no exception. Just two hours after returning home it began snowing and we got another 5-6 inches. As I type it's snowing outside giving us another 2-3 inches of snow, hail and ice. And tomorrow night we could get another 8 inches of snow. That's three snow storms in the first four days of the month! Luckily, we were able to get out today for a bit less than 90 minutes of hiking in a small area of the Great Swamp that we last visited just over six years ago. Using this map, and our trusty Katoolah MICROSpikes, we hiked just about every trail in the joint. And it was a blast, because most of the trails were sheets of ice. But our spikes made the going very easy. And the snow was frozen solid, so there were no problems with falling through the snow as there would have been had it been just a bit warmer.

Total distance hiked today was about 1.5 miles in about 75 minutes. No, it wasn't long, but after a nearly hikeless month, we'll take it! Oh! And we saw a red fox but the little fellow was too quick for my frozen camera hands!

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Photographs and content copyright © Dan Balogh
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