Monday, October 6, 2008
Mt. Lafayette from Franconia Ridge, January 2005
This photo was taken in January 2005 at the same spot that the one above was taken on August 17, 2008 and it shows the light snow of that particular January and how the snow is distributed by the wind on the ridge. If you enlarge the photo by clicking on it you can see the Franconia Ridge Trail as it follows the ridge crest and is defined by the stone wall that parallels it. The snow accumulation when the photo was taken was unseasonably light but you can see how the snow builds up in the lee of the wall system and offers a potential niche for plants. It's conceivable that the plants would be protected from wind along the lee of the walls and more moisture would be retained by the soil there due to the snow build up. The point I'm making is that the wall system was put there to keep hikers on the trail and to remind them of the flowers outside the walls but the walls might also help some of the plants, like Diapensia, remain established by providing a favorable micro-environment that wasn't exactly there before.