It's Wild and Wintery In the Centennial

Funny. Seems like a lot of people think winter is just a time to 'get through.' We talk about the winter doldrums. Some experience depression after days of gray skies. Many New Year's Resolutions to exercise quickly fade when faced with winter weather. But, there are some who enjoy winter.

Those are the folks you'll find on skies, or snowshoes, or snowmobiles, on dog sleds, or sometimes just snuggled by a cheery fire with a great book. I like to think I fall into the later category. However, I must admit, it hasn't always been so.

For years we lived where it rained and rained and rained all winter. On the days it didn't rain, the clouds clung to the earth like saran wrap. The wet kept me in. The clouds kept me down. But, not any longer!

Here in the Centennial, we enjoy more days of sunshine than clouds. And, when its cloudy, it's usually snowing. Who can frown when frozen particles are drifting like pieces of cotton candy from above? Not me!

Another misconception of winter is it is a 'dead' time. The trees look dead. The grass is dead. Even the wildlife seems to have disappeared leaving behind dead skies, dead fields, and dead trees.

Not true! I'm finding the more I get out, the more I see. My New Year's resolution, actually my resolution before we left for Costa Rica (back when I got envisioning myself in a swim suit on the beach - and didn't exactly like the picture), was to get some exercise at least 6 days a week.

I bought a stationary bike for those nasty, in the house, curled up by the fire days. But, cross country skies are much more fun. So, on those nicer days, I'm trying to get a couple miles or so on the skies.

Fortunately, cross country sking is great exercise. Here in the Centennial, we get a lot of lovely days. Consequently, I've gotten out quite a bit this winter. Guess what I've found? Lots of birds and animals are making a living just fine, in spite of the less than friendly looking landscape.

Granted, there is less variety. I suppose animals are like humans. Some just haven't got what it takes to tough out the colder months. Can't say I blame them. Seems like more and more humans are following their lead. Heading to warmer climates during the cooler months. Maybe that's why we call them 'snowbirds'? But, I digress.

Just in the past four days , we've enjoyed the following (we being four sets of eyes):

46 moose sightings (several were young to moderate aged bulls)

2 coyote sightings (tracks elsewhere in addition)

2 fox sightings (tracks and scat found along lake and near lodge as well)

25 trumpeter swan sightings

numerous ducks sighted (mallards and a smaller black-headed duck I have yet to identify)

3 bald eagle sightings (one with lunch in its tallons)

1 couple of flocks of grey birds about the size of a sparrow hawk (I need to look them up, too)

2 shartail grouse

1 set of fresh cougar tracks

1 black-cap chickadee singing its little heart out right outside my window

All in all, not bad for such a brief time period. It makes me sad to think there are those who haven't yet learned to enjoy winter (or maybe, like me, live someplace where winter is made to be endured). I'm glad I live here, where winter is alive with things to see and do.

Lady of the Lake

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