There was warmth two days ago, making things melt just enough to freeze solid over the course of yesterday, with things less slushy in the afternoon than they were in the morning. Now it is absolutely undeniably COLD! There are patches of ice in unlikely places. If you are hiking you should consider microspikes or snowshoes for consistent traction.
Muir Meadow (western section of the Cascades Region):
Some folks driving Rte. 122/Pleasant Street in Paxton over the last few days have noted logs out by the farm gate. The logs by the gate are from the cutting work last year along the western-most field that is closest to the Southwick Pond Trail with the bog bridging. They pulled the logs forward and will be cutting them. The Worcester Reservoir staff use the logs they process to heat their reservoir facilities in Holden, so this is a great model of resource use and sustainability.
There will eventually be some more cutting up at Muir Meadow, to the left or south from the farm gate. This will be an effort to clean up the meadow edge that was growing in, as forest always creeps in along field edges, and if you want to maintain the field you must periodically clear back to the old perimeter.
Donald Schofield did us all the great favor of heading out to Cook's Pond last night near dusk to photograph the herd of deer. Below is our favorite shot from the series of photos he posted on Facebook. (We count 5 deer in the photo, and some say they see 6.)
7:30 a.m. Trailhead Conditions at Cascading Waters (elev. 630'):
The temperature is 7.2 degrees F and rising (up from 3 degrees at 6am);
The humidity is 43% and steady;
The pressure is 30.24" and rising;
The windspeed is not registering a measurement but the wind is stirring;
The Cascades Brook is frozen, and covered with isolated open patches;
The Cascades are buried in snow and ice;
Skies are blue and sunny;
The USFS Fire Danger Class is NONE!
National Weather Service Forecast:
Sunny, with a high near 21. Wind chill values as low as -2. West wind 5 to 7 mph.