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Monday, December 3, 2012

Coming a Clopper

All signs are pointing toward what should be a normal winter this year for northern Virginia, as in cold, snowy and wet (apparently the last winter was unusually warm, though we had record snowfall in the Pacific Northwest, where we were staying at the time). At least that's what the local media has been reporting. However, the local weather hasn't gotten with the program yet, if today's climatic conditions were any indication. Who can argue with temperatures in the high 50's Fahrenheit (around 12-14°C) and clear blue skies? Amber and I couldn't, as the two of us enjoyed a leisurely four-hour walk at the Seneca Creek State Park in Germantown, Maryland. Our 5.6 mile (9 kilometers) trek took us first along Great Seneca Creek to Clopper Lake, where we circled the 90-acre (36 hectares) impoundment along a 3.5 mile (5.6 kilometers)-long trail before returning whence we came. A few snaps from our outing today:

Before setting out on the Great Seneca Trail, my daughter paused to have a peek through the windows of the Grusendorf Log House, dating from around 1855. 

Before reaching the Great Seneca Creek, the trail first had to pass under some high-transmission power lines.

The crystal clear waters of the creek flowed past beeches, maples, oaks and sycamores, all bereft of leaves, resulting in a stark beauty that only comes around when the last of the leaves has fallen and before the first flakes of snow stick to the ground.

An island in the middle of the creek created by beaver dams.

My daughter pauses in a break between tree lines.

As we approached Cropper Lake, we started noticing these light fixtures. There were more of them along the shores of the lake, all with a seasonal theme. Apparently they're lit up in the evenings during the winter.

Cropper Lake.

Amber was quite amused by the sight of duck posteriors bobbing up from the water.

A great blue heron surveys the calm waters of its domain.

Taken near the end of our circumnavigation of Cropper Lake.

My little one on the walk back along the Great Seneca Trail from the lake. She had great fun pretending to be a cheetah stalking deer. Guess who got to play the prey?

Amber saw this bird and insisted it was a cardinal, which is the state bird of Virginia. I was just as adamant it wasn't, convinced that cardinals were much bigger. Upon doing a Google search after getting home, I realized that my knowledge of ornithology pales in comparison to that of a six year-old.

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