Sunday, January 4, 2009

Mt. Monroe with a snow plume in 100 mph winds. Taken from low on the summit cone of Mt. Washington.

So winter has come with those invigorating cold temperatures. I have to say that I actually like the cold and the wind as long as I can limit the time I spend in it. At the top of the Ammonusuc Ravine Trail yesterday I watched a small flock of juncos surfing on the wind and darting in and out of the trees. They were the only other non-vegetable life forms I saw on my hike (other than myself). I took the top photo of the Crawford Path just above the junction with the West Side Trail. On almost any summer day as you hike this part of the trail you're often entertained by myriad insects crossing your path, particularly a certain black spider, a little bigger than a quarter, that is plentiful and that darts back and forth across the rocks. There’s also populations of large black ants. Alexander (1940) identified 10 species of spiders included in a list of 95 species of insects that he reported as inhabiting the Alpine Zone on Mt. Washington. When I’m climbing above timberline on these exceptionally cold winter days I can’t help but wonder how the spiders and ants survive. They must freeze solid.

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