The Mineral Springs In Winter

I’ve been dealing with a case of cabin fever here recently as the weather has been bitterly cold and not safe for me to be out in.  But the sun was shining Wednesday with temperatures in the 20’s, so I figured I could handle it if I broke out the heavy-duty winter gear.  With winter coming to a close, I decided to see the mineral springs in all their winter glory. It was supposed to be a joint trip with Spider Bait as my companion, but a meeting beckoned and I was on my own.  So I bundled up against the nasty cold (I have circulation issues) and off I went.

It was a quiet walk through the woods.  It was midday on a weekday and I had the trail to myself.  Crisp clean air and no one talking over the muted gurgling of the creek and the occasional bird.  Heaven.

I love seeing all the little things that can live on rock.

I love seeing all the little things that can live on rock.

The left side of the springs.  I love all the colors from the minerals in the rock.  The cascade of frozen water on the right is the water from the creek that flows into the little gorge.

The left side of the springs. I love all the colors from the minerals in the rock. The cascade of frozen water on the right is the water from the creek that flows into the grotto.

The front view of the grotto.  Long frozen ice falls glittering in the sun.

The front view of the grotto. Long frozen ice falls glittering in the sun.

Here's a side view of the falls from the right.

Here’s a side view of the falls from the right.

Here's the bowl the flowing water from the springs has formed over time.  Notice the spring water hasn't frozen.  It is a constant 58 degrees.

Here’s the bowl the flowing water from the springs has formed over time. Notice the spring water hasn’t frozen. It is a constant 58 degrees.

Here is a picture of the back of the grotto cave.  The whole front was a nasty sheet of ice, so I wound up using the wee creek from the flowing mineral waters to creep into the cave.

Here is a picture of the back of the grotto. The whole front was a nasty sheet of ice, so I wound up using the wee creek from the flowing mineral waters to creep behind the ice falls.  Not that the inside was much better!  Though the grit falling off the ceiling helped give me traction.

The view looking out.

The view looking out.

The backside of the falls.

The backside of the falls.  That little sliver of creek to the left is how I got inside.

Ice!

Ice!

I had trouble with the lighting inside.  Gah!  These are feathery ice crystals that formed on the ceiling at the back of the little cave.  This photo was taken without a flash.

I had trouble with the lighting inside. Gah! These are feathery ice crystals that formed on the ceiling at the back of the grotto. This photo was taken without a flash.

Same crystals with a flash.

Same crystals with a flash.

At this point I left the grotto and went up a side path to sit on a bench above the grotto and take in some sun.  It was blissfully quiet except for a pair of Pileated Woodpeckers drumming and squawking.  But since they can be quite shy, I was more than happy to share space with them.  Sorry, no pics.  They didn’t get close enough for my cheapo camera to see them as more than just specs in the trees.

Eventually I was forced by the cold to get a move on.  I had gotten wet climbing around and wet plus cold is Bad.  So back down the trail to the grotto I went.

Say, "Hi!" to Spider Bait's stand in, his walking stick.  I grabbed this as an afterthought on my way out the door.  It helped me survive many treacherous spots on the trail and in navigating the ice in the cave.  Thanks for the help, Spider Bait!

I felt a need to acknowledge the absence of my son.  Say, “Hi!” to Spider Bait’s stand in, his walking stick. I grabbed this as an afterthought on my way out the door. It helped me survive many treacherous spots on the trail and in navigating the ice in the grotto. The walking stick is 5 feet tall, if you’re wondering.  Thanks, “Spider Bait” for the company and the help!

My first selfie.

My first selfie.  My son said there had to be a picture of me on my trip.  Ugh. (I won’t tell you how many times I had to do this to get my whole face in the photo.) Time to go home!

Beautiful ice patterns in the creek.

Beautiful ice patterns in the creek.

The way home.

The way home.

Hope you enjoyed the walk!  If you would like to see our summer pics of the mineral springs, go here.

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