“This is almost better than the Ice Castles!” another Hike it Baby member commented on our hike this morning. I would fully agree, and it saves a heck of a lot of money! Wales Preserve is one of my favorites year round, but I really enjoy visiting it in the spring. This time of year the river swells up and you can see the power water has, as it over takes the river banks and comes very close to the trail (and even on the trail at times). The most exciting part is all the ice that forms on the small waterfalls. Each bend is some new display Mother Nature has created, almost in vengeance against the men who create the Ice Castles we visited in January. Any log or stick that has fallen into the river is quickly turned to ice. If I didn’t know any better Queen Elsa is hiding in these woods using her powers to transform the river.
One of my favorite tricks Mother Nature likes to show passing hikers is her Ice Pancakes. This happens when foam stuck in a whirlpool, freezes and these little discs of frozen foam from and start spinning around and around in the river. Today the pancakes weren’t “fully cooked”, last spring I got an amazing shot of this area in the river completely filled with perfect discs. I must visit again next week to see how the formation is coming.
It especially exciting as I had two families show up who had never been to this area before so it was fun to share the experiences myself and the two other families who attended have seen over the course of the last couple years hiking here. I even caught them noticing some of the things I have grown accustomed to over the years, such as the odd glass electric insulator that hangs on a tree branch. Things I pass by now, other pick up on and realize the magic of Wales Preserve. The one piece that I miss dearly everytime I hike here is the little Owl that used to live in a tree stump. He has been missing since the summer time. Which I keep telling myself I need to find a little owl to replace it. The kids loved seeing the little owl. I loved making a game out of it. Telling the kids that there is a friendly owl that lives in a tree and make it a game to see who can find it first.
Oh and to the dogs owners we saw today- Clean up after your dogs shit!