Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Wintry walks and icy spectacles

The freezing temperatures of mid-winter do bring one special bonus, which is the beauty of ice formations.  I recently decided that one way to get my circulation moving on these cold days is to take daily walks whenever possible.  I've been glad of the motivation to do so as I've seen some special things which I would otherwise have missed.  We are fortunate to live near the coast and have been exploring some of the coastal tracks.  This path doesn't look as if it would be all that promising...

... but it rapidly led me to these visual treasures.  The sea spray in the air combined with freezing temperatures had coated a lot of plants in hoar frost

Look at the glorious detail the hoar frost has picked out on these dead fern leaves:

Lupins were decked out in frosty lace:

Clover became jewel-like:

Common weeds turned to frosted silver:

The bracken could be seen to be a work of art:

And even growth rings in the timber of the fence posts were meticulously picked out:

Another walk took us past a lagoon where a stream meets the sea.  We found that it had almost completely iced over.  

Some of it was thin enough to break and lever out:

The sound it made when tossed onto the frozen expanse was fabulous!

A larger piece was prized out:

Looking at it I thought about frosted glass, although this was rather thicker than most! 

It was heavy too!  Boof - there it goes!

A couple of days later we walked along the banks of similar lagoon from another stream which had also frozen over.  

It was a relatively mild day but in the early afternoon the water was still largely covered with ice.  The stillness of the reflection is due to the icy surface.  Nearer to the road where it had melted the surface was ruffled by the breeze:

Alongside the pathway clouds of bubbles were trapped in the ice:

This big lagoon has a tiny outlet to the beach:

There was no ice on the beach itself, but in sheltered places frost can remain there throughout the day.  The coast of Otago is chilly in winter!

I'll write more about these walks another time.

Other articles about my explorations along the beach and its rock pools can be found by clicking on the link below:
The article I've written about yet another lagoon, the Kaikorai Lagoon, can be found via this link:
My article about surviving winter in an uninsulated house can be found via the link below - there are plenty of useful facts in this one:

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