February 2007 Highland Center

Ahh, fabulous February! Started right off as cold as could be with temps well below the zero marker. Once again those cold days allowed for spectacular long distance views from the mountaintops. We spotted tracks from snowshoe hares, squirrels and mice zig zagging across the path. Oh yeah!! Fresh powder! Eight fluffy inches dropped all around us here at the top of the notch, and revealed signs that winter was really here. It didn't take long for the temperatures to go crashing back down, and the gusty winds to pick back up. The cold snap put all the neighborhood woodpeckers to work tap, tap, tapping away at the trees. Our cross country ski tour took us into moose country, where tracks and sign were abundant on the freshly groomed trails.
During several snowshoe treks to Ripley Falls, and big sister Arethusa Falls we witnessed the beauty of the frozen cascades in all their glory. Nearby Frankenstein Cliffs were crawling with a plethora of ice climbers throughout the month. All the clatter on the ice seemed to draw out the birds in the area, letting us spot black capped chickadees, blue jays and more woodpeckers. On one outing along the Zealand road to the Sugarloafs we encountered quite a sight, a red tailed hawk soared by as we checked out some bob cat tracks.
Mother Nature shared her love on Valentine's day by blanketing the north country in upwards of 24 inches of the fabulous fluffy stuff. Two days of snow brought new chances for tracking, and once again we spotted tracks from our big pals the moose as well as our little friend the mouse. As the snowbanks grew higher, the temps dropped lower, yet again. A return trip to the falls after a few cold days had passed gave us a chance to track a new friend, the pine marten, cousin of the fisher.
As the end of the month came, warm weather followed. We began work on our snow shelter, as the cardinals flew overhead.