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A Mild Winter In The Vischer Ferry Preserve

It has been an unbelievably mild winter in upstate New York this year. Whereas normally in February we'd be huddled under the blankets after coming inside from shoveling knee-deep snow, this year we've seen hardly a flurry. I remember in September reading something about a prediction for a mild winter, but I didn't believe it until January came and went with hardly a cold spell.

One of my favorite areas to walk through and photograph is the Vischer Ferry Nature and Historic Preserve near the hamlet of Vischer Ferry, New York. The preserve sits alongside the Mohawk River and includes an original section of the Erie Canal and towpath, constructed in 1825. Normally, in the winter months, the preserve makes a great destination for skiing and snowshoeing. In the summer, the extensive network of trails make for my own personal home away from home as a place to run and a hike. This winter, however, the trails have been a muddy, soupy mess, limiting the ways in which one can enjoy the land.

Recently I ventured into the preserve to get some fresh air despite the condition of the trails. On this outing, I captured a series of shots like this one that I think tells the story of the winter we've had. Despite being the middle of February, there's still the slightest bit of color left on the trees. Meanwhile, shallow bodies of water that would typically be frozen over and snow-covered, rest calmly with only the thinnest layer of ice atop them. A week after I took this photograph, we did have an arctic blast of sub-zero weather, making it feel like a spat of revenge from Mother Nature. But three days later, temperatures were back in the mid forties. With this kind of trend, I wonder what the summer will be like?