I was determined to get down to Council Point Park today, so I waited until 1:00 p.m. to ensure the bulk of the icy patches on the sidewalks and streets had melted. I looked outside, just prior to suiting up, and there was still some ice, slushy snow and a whole lot of puddles. I was a wee bit nervous about that ice, so I laced up my lug-soled hiking boots …
… and just put on my big-girl panties (photo omitted) and decided I could make it to the Park without wiping out. I opened a fresh bag of peanuts and took the entire bag with me to pacify my furry pals.
Unbelievably, the weather has really relaxed and it was a balmy 50 degrees F (10 C). I was ecstatic that the temps warmed up enough to begin our snow and ice meltdown, as it has been one long week, which began with the plumbing debacle and the snow that was falling that night, and kept escalating with the snow, ice and Polar Vortex. All week I was worrying about my furry fellows at the Park and how they would get nourishment because, between the brutal air and wind-chill temps, coupled with almost 6 inches (15 cm) of snow, then ice, it was a sure bet that they were not digging up their long-buried peanuts anytime soon. There is nothing left at this venue to forage – so what’s a squirrel to do? If I could have convinced them to come to my house ‘cuz the eatin’s good, I would have, and they could have joined Grady and his pal on the porch, (even though Grady would claim dibs on the brick ledge).
While this may be an awesome Paul Simon tune, it’s not so awesome when slick patches and big puddles hinder your steps, so I quickly switched to walking in the street, where the ice patches were few and far between, and I only had to deal with potholes and a handful of drivers.
I wasn’t even to the cross street when I realized I was overdressed, since, by force of habit, I donned the same amount of layers before heading out. First the coat zipper came down a smidge, and by the next block, I unzipped it all the way and flung my coat open, like it was Spring or something. Ah – much better. I’d have taken off the hat too, but the SW wind was kicking in at about 14 mph so it stayed put.
Water gushed and gurgled through every sewer grate I passed as the melting snow could have resembled a time-lapse photo had I stayed there long enough to capture those images. Actually, I was not in any great hurry, despite the late hour of my departure, yet I arrived at the Park in my usual twenty minutes. I gave a cursory glance around to find my pal Parker but didn’t see him. I hoped the squirrels had not already returned to their nests for the day. They are usually more active in the morning hours.
There were just a few cars in the lot and the icy patches were easy enough to navigate around. The test would come once I landed on the perimeter path, because it is never shoveled, brushed or salted – in essence, it is usually an icy/dicey mess and you’re better off walking alongside the path on the grass. I quickly saw today would be that way.
Yup, the trail was tricky.
As I eased along, the perimeter path was a conglomeration of ice, slush and huge puddles and the ground was saturated with water and mud. I wondered just how long I’d have to wait for my little buddies to emerge at ground level. Did I need to shake my bag to announce myself, or was my presence good enough?
My passel of peanut pals did not disappoint and soon I was doling out peanuts to eager and hungry takers and counting noses, including Parker’s, as they danced around my feet. They got their peanuts and began munching happily.
I gave them a lot of extra peanuts because they ate them right on the spot, though a few of them scurried up to a tree branch to munch, but quickly descended again and came back for a second helping.
As I meandered along, I noticed the Creek was still frozen over in most places.
It appears the mallards had stayed under the storm drain during the bitter cold, because there was no ice there and a few mallards paddled from underneath that half-moon drain out into the open water.
The rest walked on the icy Creek surface.
I would have walked another loop, which is one mile, but I really had to be wary of the ice, so decided to just head for home instead. I made a couple of pit stops before departing and spread out peanuts on the picnic table …
… then dumped out the rest of my bag into the water fountain bowl.
It was a short walk for a weekend, but I aired my brain out and got some steps in, but, truthfully, this trek was really more about them than me.