Woodland Winter

Winter is a good time to hike, there are no bugs, few people, and no heat! Look for berries, twigs, tree bark, and tracks in the snow.
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1 My husband and I love to hike in the winter, there are no bugs, few people and no miserable heat. A snowfall adds a special quiet magic to the landscape. The key to winter hiking is keeping warm and dry. Remember: "Cotton Kills"! Never wear blue jeans ...

My husband and I love to hike in the winter, there are no bugs, few people and no miserable heat. A snowfall adds a special quiet magic to the landscape. The key to winter hiking is keeping warm and dry. Remember: "Cotton Kills"! Never wear blue jeans ...

My husband and I love to hike in the winter, there are no bugs, few people and no miserable heat. A snowfall adds a special quiet magic to the landscape. The key to winter hiking is keeping warm and dry. Remember: "Cotton Kills"! Never wear blue jeans or cotton socks when hiking in snow! Wool and fleece can be life-savers if you get wet in winter. 1865
2 I found these beautiful, geometric <strong>Ice crystals</strong> along the creek bank at Haw Ridge on a frigid morning in late December 2005. I was fascinated at how some of the crystals looked like leaves, others like needles. I had to lay flat on my ...

I found these beautiful, geometric Ice crystals along the creek bank at Haw Ridge on a frigid morning in late December 2005. I was fascinated at how some of the crystals looked like leaves, others like needles. I had to lay flat on my ...

I found these beautiful, geometric Ice crystals along the creek bank at Haw Ridge on a frigid morning in late December 2005. I was fascinated at how some of the crystals looked like leaves, others like needles. I had to lay flat on my stomach in order to focus down on the ice. Suddenly, I felt cold; the water pouch in jacket pocket had leaked! :0 Thank heaven for fleece and wicking material! The following photos show some of the different ways that ice can form. Enjoy! 3800
3 During a hike at Haw Ridge in January 2007, I found many different and beautiful patterns of ice crystals in puddles, the edges of a pond, and even the frost on leaves. I thought this triangle pattern was fascinating!

During a hike at Haw Ridge in January 2007, I found many different and beautiful patterns of ice crystals in puddles, the edges of a pond, and even the frost on leaves. I thought this triangle pattern was fascinating!

During a hike at Haw Ridge in January 2007, I found many different and beautiful patterns of ice crystals in puddles, the edges of a pond, and even the frost on leaves. I thought this triangle pattern was fascinating! 1598
4 These Ice crystals were found at the edge of a pond.

These Ice crystals were found at the edge of a pond.

These Ice crystals were found at the edge of a pond. 1485
5 Another interesting design of Ice crystals at the edge of the pond. Ice looks white if it has lots of air incorporated into the crystals.

Another interesting design of Ice crystals at the edge of the pond. Ice looks white if it has lots of air incorporated into the crystals.

Another interesting design of Ice crystals at the edge of the pond. Ice looks white if it has lots of air incorporated into the crystals. 1531
6 These Ice crystals looked like tiny crystal goblets. I found them in the middle of the hiking trail!

These Ice crystals looked like tiny crystal goblets. I found them in the middle of the hiking trail!

These Ice crystals looked like tiny crystal goblets. I found them in the middle of the hiking trail! 1431
7 This oak leaf was outlined in frost crystals. Isn't water an amazing substance?!

This oak leaf was outlined in frost crystals. Isn't water an amazing substance?!

This oak leaf was outlined in frost crystals. Isn't water an amazing substance?! 1437
8 A close-up of the frost on the oak leaf.

A close-up of the frost on the oak leaf.

A close-up of the frost on the oak leaf. 1374
9 This delicate <strong>"Ice flower"</strong> is actually the frozen sap of the Frostweed plant. The water pressure from the roots is so strong, the sap oozes upward and freezes on a very cold day.

This delicate "Ice flower" is actually the frozen sap of the Frostweed plant. The water pressure from the roots is so strong, the sap oozes upward and freezes on a very cold day.

This delicate "Ice flower" is actually the frozen sap of the Frostweed plant. The water pressure from the roots is so strong, the sap oozes upward and freezes on a very cold day. 2125
10 Another delicate "Ice flower". The shapes of the crystals are as varied as snowflakes!

Another delicate "Ice flower". The shapes of the crystals are as varied as snowflakes!

Another delicate "Ice flower". The shapes of the crystals are as varied as snowflakes! 1584
11 I found this "bouquet" of Ice flowers along the trail at Haw Ridge in January 2007.

I found this "bouquet" of Ice flowers along the trail at Haw Ridge in January 2007.

I found this "bouquet" of Ice flowers along the trail at Haw Ridge in January 2007. 1792
12 The warty bark of the <strong>Hackberry tree</strong> (<em>Celtis australis</em>) is very easy to identify in the winter, it looks a lot like a 3-D topo map!

The warty bark of the Hackberry tree (Celtis australis) is very easy to identify in the winter, it looks a lot like a 3-D topo map!

The warty bark of the Hackberry tree (Celtis australis) is very easy to identify in the winter, it looks a lot like a 3-D topo map! 2894
13 <strong>Sourwood</strong> trees (<em>Oxydendrum arboreum</em>)have distinctive bark with deep, thick furrows. In the summer the trees have clusters of small white flowers which are favorites of honeybees. The nectar collected by the bees becomes a deli...

Sourwood trees (Oxydendrum arboreum)have distinctive bark with deep, thick furrows. In the summer the trees have clusters of small white flowers which are favorites of honeybees. The nectar collected by the bees becomes a deli...

Sourwood trees (Oxydendrum arboreum)have distinctive bark with deep, thick furrows. In the summer the trees have clusters of small white flowers which are favorites of honeybees. The nectar collected by the bees becomes a delicious honey. In the fall, the leaves turn a beautiful dark red. 3471
14 <strong>Sycamore</strong> (<em>Platanus occidentalis</em>) trees are one of the easiest trees to identify in the winter. The upper branches are white since the brown bark sloughs off; Native Americans called the sycamore the "Ghost Tree". They are usua...

Sycamore (Platanus occidentalis) trees are one of the easiest trees to identify in the winter. The upper branches are white since the brown bark sloughs off; Native Americans called the sycamore the "Ghost Tree". They are usua...

Sycamore (Platanus occidentalis) trees are one of the easiest trees to identify in the winter. The upper branches are white since the brown bark sloughs off; Native Americans called the sycamore the "Ghost Tree". They are usually found growing near water, along river or creek banks. 2744
15 <strong>River Birch</strong> bark
<em>Betula nigra</em>
I found this tree growing along the Ocoee River in southeast Tennessee. The bark of this tree peels in sheets. When I was a kid, we had two of these trees in my yard. Once my mother wrote me a l...

River Birch bark Betula nigra I found this tree growing along the Ocoee River in southeast Tennessee. The bark of this tree peels in sheets. When I was a kid, we had two of these trees in my yard. Once my mother wrote me a l...

River Birch bark Betula nigra I found this tree growing along the Ocoee River in southeast Tennessee. The bark of this tree peels in sheets. When I was a kid, we had two of these trees in my yard. Once my mother wrote me a letter on the bark and sent it to me at Girl Scout camp! That was an interesting letter! 2156
16 <strong>American Beech trees</strong> (<em>Fagus grandifolia</em>
hang on to their leaves far into the winter. If you see small, smooth-barked trees in the woods with light brown leaves they will be beeches. The twigs have long sharp leaf buds. The fo...

American Beech trees (Fagus grandifolia hang on to their leaves far into the winter. If you see small, smooth-barked trees in the woods with light brown leaves they will be beeches. The twigs have long sharp leaf buds. The fo...

American Beech trees (Fagus grandifolia hang on to their leaves far into the winter. If you see small, smooth-barked trees in the woods with light brown leaves they will be beeches. The twigs have long sharp leaf buds. The following year's leaves are tucked into a snug winter coat which will fall off as the leaf unfolds in the spring. 2098
17 In the winter, the evergreen <strong>Galax</strong> leaves turn a lovely shade of red.

In the winter, the evergreen Galax leaves turn a lovely shade of red.

In the winter, the evergreen Galax leaves turn a lovely shade of red. 1881
18 Even though there are no wildflowers blooming in the winter, it is possible to find interesting plants. I was fascinated by this curled grass growing along the trail to Laurel Falls in the Smokies.

Even though there are no wildflowers blooming in the winter, it is possible to find interesting plants. I was fascinated by this curled grass growing along the trail to Laurel Falls in the Smokies.

Even though there are no wildflowers blooming in the winter, it is possible to find interesting plants. I was fascinated by this curled grass growing along the trail to Laurel Falls in the Smokies. 1681
19 It is not hard to see how the <strong>Devils walking-stick</strong> (<em>Aralia spinosa</em>) got its name, only the Devil himself could handle this! These trees have huge pinnately compound leaves up to 3-feet long. The leaf scars are visible in this ...

It is not hard to see how the Devils walking-stick (Aralia spinosa) got its name, only the Devil himself could handle this! These trees have huge pinnately compound leaves up to 3-feet long. The leaf scars are visible in this ...

It is not hard to see how the Devils walking-stick (Aralia spinosa) got its name, only the Devil himself could handle this! These trees have huge pinnately compound leaves up to 3-feet long. The leaf scars are visible in this photo as a smooth "smile" mark. 2321
20 The leaf bud of the <strong>Pawpaw </strong> (<em>Asimina</em> spp.) tree is easy to identify in the winter, it doesn't have a protective cover like most other trees.

The leaf bud of the Pawpaw (Asimina spp.) tree is easy to identify in the winter, it doesn't have a protective cover like most other trees.

The leaf bud of the Pawpaw (Asimina spp.) tree is easy to identify in the winter, it doesn't have a protective cover like most other trees. 1823
21 Don't pull these off the <strong>Dogwood</strong> (<em>Cornus canada</em>) trees in the winter, these buds buds will turn into those beautiful white flowers in April!

Don't pull these off the Dogwood (Cornus canada) trees in the winter, these buds buds will turn into those beautiful white flowers in April!

Don't pull these off the Dogwood (Cornus canada) trees in the winter, these buds buds will turn into those beautiful white flowers in April! 1440
22 I love to look for signs of animals in the woods. It is very easy to do when there has been a snowfall. I found these <strong>Gray Squirrel</strong> tracks at the UT Arboretum after a rare snowfall. It is interesting to see the patterns of the footprin...

I love to look for signs of animals in the woods. It is very easy to do when there has been a snowfall. I found these Gray Squirrel tracks at the UT Arboretum after a rare snowfall. It is interesting to see the patterns of the footprin...

I love to look for signs of animals in the woods. It is very easy to do when there has been a snowfall. I found these Gray Squirrel tracks at the UT Arboretum after a rare snowfall. It is interesting to see the patterns of the footprints. Squirrels and rabbits move in a "galloping" pattern where the hind feet land in front of the front feet as they move. Note the larger hind feet to the left. Like many rodents, squirrels have 4 toes on the front feet and 5 toes on the hind feet. 1912
23 <strong>Bird tracks</strong> in the snow. Many birds are "hoppers", they keep their feet together and hop when they walk.

Bird tracks in the snow. Many birds are "hoppers", they keep their feet together and hop when they walk.

Bird tracks in the snow. Many birds are "hoppers", they keep their feet together and hop when they walk. 1405
24 I found these <strong>Coyote tracks</strong> at the UT Arboretum. Canid (dog, fox, coyote, wolf) tracks differ from cat tracks by having claw marks; cats retract their claws when they walk.

I found these Coyote tracks at the UT Arboretum. Canid (dog, fox, coyote, wolf) tracks differ from cat tracks by having claw marks; cats retract their claws when they walk.

I found these Coyote tracks at the UT Arboretum. Canid (dog, fox, coyote, wolf) tracks differ from cat tracks by having claw marks; cats retract their claws when they walk. 2324
25 <strong>Coyotes</strong> (<em>Canis latrans</em>) are making themselves at home in east Tenneessee. Although they are primarily carnivores, they are opportunists that will eat livestock and pets, birds, snakes, crayfish, birds, frogs, small mammals, in...

Coyotes (Canis latrans) are making themselves at home in east Tenneessee. Although they are primarily carnivores, they are opportunists that will eat livestock and pets, birds, snakes, crayfish, birds, frogs, small mammals, in...

Coyotes (Canis latrans) are making themselves at home in east Tenneessee. Although they are primarily carnivores, they are opportunists that will eat livestock and pets, birds, snakes, crayfish, birds, frogs, small mammals, insects, fruit and berries, garbage, and carrion. It is not uncommon to hear coyotes howling, especially in the evening. I was at Frozen Head State Park one time when the noon test siren at the Morgan County Correctional Facility went off. I heard a pack of coyotes howling in the distance. Coyotes are quite wary of humans, so they are not often seen. 1418
26 Can you see 3 <strong>White-tailed Deer</strong> in this photo? Deer are very well camouflaged, if this small group had not made a sound, I would have never noticed them! If there had not been snow on the ground, they would have been nearly invisible. ...

Can you see 3 White-tailed Deer in this photo? Deer are very well camouflaged, if this small group had not made a sound, I would have never noticed them! If there had not been snow on the ground, they would have been nearly invisible. ...

Can you see 3 White-tailed Deer in this photo? Deer are very well camouflaged, if this small group had not made a sound, I would have never noticed them! If there had not been snow on the ground, they would have been nearly invisible. Sights like this make me appreciate the early Native Americans and their tremendous hunting skills! Deer raise their tails as a warning signal when they are startled. There really are three deer here, two are in the middle, one has its backside to the camera and is turning its head to the right. Look for the black tail of that deer on the left of the obvious deer. 2216
27 It was easy to identify these <strong>Skunk tracks</strong> because of the rolling pattern the feet make as the skunk lopes along.

It was easy to identify these Skunk tracks because of the rolling pattern the feet make as the skunk lopes along.

It was easy to identify these Skunk tracks because of the rolling pattern the feet make as the skunk lopes along. 1572
28 These Skunk tracks are not clear because more snow had fallen on them, however the pattern of how the skunk walks is still visible.

These Skunk tracks are not clear because more snow had fallen on them, however the pattern of how the skunk walks is still visible.

These Skunk tracks are not clear because more snow had fallen on them, however the pattern of how the skunk walks is still visible. 1620
29 The outer sapwood is distinctly different than the harder heartwood on this fallen pine.

The outer sapwood is distinctly different than the harder heartwood on this fallen pine.

The outer sapwood is distinctly different than the harder heartwood on this fallen pine. 1626
30 Pine trees often decay in a standing position. The harder heartwood in the center has solidified sap which makes the wood rot more slowly. The softer outer sapwood breaks down more quickly leaving the solid heartwood core behind. The resinous heartwood...

Pine trees often decay in a standing position. The harder heartwood in the center has solidified sap which makes the wood rot more slowly. The softer outer sapwood breaks down more quickly leaving the solid heartwood core behind. The resinous heartwood...

Pine trees often decay in a standing position. The harder heartwood in the center has solidified sap which makes the wood rot more slowly. The softer outer sapwood breaks down more quickly leaving the solid heartwood core behind. The resinous heartwood is split and sold as easy burning "fatwood." 2251

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