The Gheen Hill Trails just south of Orr on Hwy 53 have been groomed for cross-country skiing and the trails are in great shape! The upper and lower parking lots are plowed.
There were animal tracks all over the place in the woods along the trail. Rabbit tracks, squirrel tracks and lots of mouse tracks. This would be paradise for a wise Owl, and I have seen Owls around this area in the past.
The Astrid Lake Trails are 10 miles down the Echo Trail (County Road 116) from Buyck. The parking lot at Lake Jeanette has been plowed.
I took the trail that heads to the south through the Black Spruce Bog. The snow was incredibly deep. All the plants are covered by a deep insulating blanket of snow.
Only the very tips of the biggest Labrador Tea bushes stuck above the snow. This plant is evergreen and their leathery leaves stay on the plant all year.
The snow was super deep and breaking a new trail was an horrendous amount of work. Towards the end of the bog, my snowshoes suddenly found a deep hole where some air must have been trapped, and I tripped and found myself head first in the snow. I could barely pull my snowshoe out of the hole and get myself upright. At that point, I said enough is enough and turned back. Following my packed trail out was much easier.
This Black Spruce had collected so much snow in its crown that it was toppling over.