BLUE SKIES, SMILING AT ME!
I was finally able to get over to Head Beach when the tide and ice allowed. I traipsed through knee high snow that blew in and filled the access paths to the beach. Once there, I marveled at the beauty.....blue skies reflected in moist sand, clouds lingering in the sky, with patches of wind blown sand. I kept singing the song inspired by the scene, "Blue Skies Smiling at me!" The wind on the beaches made my eyes water, but fortunately the camera lens didn't respond in the same way. What is interesting to me as you walk these mostly deserted tidal beaches is the presence of numerous deer tracks. There are far more of them than those of hikers. One can't help but think these animals are seeking an easier way to get around, and perhaps get a taste of salt.

The shoreline is relatively snow free, so it is possible to walk along the rocky paths. You do have to watch out for ice patches that spill over to meet the ocean. I didn't find much of interest in shoreline debris, though mangled traps are always a presence. There is a huge pile over on Sunset Lagoon which will likely be there for some time.

I left the beaches, and again hunted for the elusive porcupine. There were no tracks near the Sou'wester, and in the usual places leading to dens under the latrines. The deer tracks made up for that deficiency, and I followed them across Western Reach. I easily spotted several deer beds in campsites, like this one. The deer had bedded down on an incline, but not under an evergreen tree where I usually find them. I was amused at the proximity to the snow covered fire pit......why didn't it snuggle down in that oval depression?! You will notice that the warmth of the deer must have melted the snow, making the bed easier to spot. There were others in this area, but more scattered about.

The week ended quite a bit colder, but not cold enough to stop outdoor activity here in Phippsburg. Shacks are now set up on Center Pond, and ice fishing has begun in earnest. One of these days I will venture out to see what is being caught. Instead, I took part in a program at the Sportsmen's Club where opportunities were given to snowshoe, cross country ski, ride a dog sled or do some tracking. There are trails behind the club which were used for these activities. I chose to follow the tracking expedition. Frankly, I found better tracking at the campground. I was most amused by the sleds that were pulled by enthusiastic dogs. There was a lot of shouting and happy sounds coming from that robust activity. I was also impressed by some of the gear worn by these Mainers, my favorite being this local guy wearing a hat made from a coyote skin! Most of these people are drawn to the club because of their love of hunting, and it showed. As I was leaving these vibrant scenes on a snowy, cold, but sunlit afternoon, I stopped when I noticed a clever cover for a trailer hitch. Now you know, this truck belonged to a hunter in moose country! 1/10/10 Ronnie, enjoying Maine winters.