Sunday, 4 March 2018

A very snowy adventure - No. 205

Today, we had a long adventure. We went on and on about things and the adventure seemed to stretch on for ever. Not in a bad way of course.

We decided to go early in the morning before the snow melted. It was a good idea and we had a mix of snow and grass. It looked perfect for an adventure. If only Sue could have come with us on this adventure. It would have been even better than the last.

We started walking next to the fields of snow. It was such a difference from last week when there was no snow at all. Maybe a bit of ice but that was it. I managed to take a very lucky picture. I took a picture of Tonio walking and the view to his left. He turned to see what I was doing and I took the picture while he was turning. It ended up looking like he is looking at the view to his left. What a lucky picture.

We saw what looked like a chocolate cake with icing. The icing was actually icing (snow) and the chocolate was soil. That is the third time soil looked like chocolate on our adventures but this time it looked the most like chocolate.

Tonio asked me what frogs do in the winter. As they are cold blooded they freeze too, right? I answered by saying that certain types of frog do just that then continue their lives once the ice melts and there are others that find shelter in deep lakes where it’s less cold than the surface.

Towards the end I wanted to do an angel on the snow (a "snow angel") and this was the result:

And finally, we went back to the car and drove off. Did you enjoy it? If you have then make sure to join us on our next adventure. Also make sure to check out Tonio's blog called The Wanderer. But for now, goodbye!


[by Tonio:]

It snowed quite a bit on Friday and the following morning we woke up to a Belgium covered in white. The forecast was that the temperature would go up to well over zero during the day, so I suggested we go for this weekend's adventure on a Saturday morning, before all the snow melted.

What a show!

We parked next to no. 205, from where we had walked last time. Today's was, yet again, a continuation of the eastward progression, starting from the edge of Overijse into Huldenberg, Loonbeek and now Neerijse. This is almost all agricultural landscape: fields and farms. The last few weeks it was cold with sun and cloud creating a spectacle of their own. Today, the same terrain looked so much different covered with snow.

Different animals used different modes of locomotion along this passage

We appreciated, in particular, the "croaky" sound as we trudged on the fresh snow. We enjoyed observing marks made by previous walkers - human and animal. The arrow shaped prints made by pheasants, round shaped marks probably of a dog's paws, and of course human footprints, or rather shoe prints. At one point, trying to step on these same prints myself, I was puzzled at the long steps the previous walker had taken. Then it clicked, and as a (previous) runner I should be ashamed for not having realised this at once: they were the prints of a jogger.

Our first encounter with animals today was with horses. The poor chaps were too cold to take any interest whatever in us. They stood or lay on the ground motionless to conserve energy. Luckily for them, it would later warm up substantially. We also saw pheasants, a farm dog which wanted to play with Gianluca while he was trying to tie his shoelaces... and a silly man with a child's brain driving around in the country lanes with his 4x4 jeep or whatever. Gianluca recognised the same driver from a couple of weeks back driving a sort of rally car in the mud on that occasion. Mercifully, we encountered Mr Child Brain only once, although I suspect the tyre tracks we saw throughout our otherwise wonderful walk had been left there by him.

One animal that we didn't see, but which we discussed, was frogs. This was the result of my remarking on the croaky sound underfoot. I then wondered what happens to frogs when it freezes. Being cold blooded animals, I reasoned that frogs should naturally and quite literally freeze too. Gianluca then mentioned a species of frog that freezes itself in autumn to thaw back to life in spring. But I wondered about other species of frogs. I'll need to do research on this.

An old war bunker transformed into a winter shelter for bats

An hour and a half after the start of our walk, we came back to the car to notice that the landscape was indeed thawing out. We had come just at the right moment to experience the Belgian winter countryside at its most beautiful.

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