South Mountain State Park in Winter

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(Note: I started this post back at the end of January 2014, but I’ve been so wiped out by the worst cold I’ve ever had, that I left it half-finished for over a month.)

My son and I went to South Mountain State Park in the winter for first time recently, and it was a very different experience from our earlier, warm-weather trips.

Wild, Wildlife

The first thing we noticed was the greater number of big animals, that you never see in summer, out and about. Driving from the park gate to the trailhead parking lot, we saw a wild turkey, and stopped to take a picture of a deer grazing by the side of the road.

Deer on the road going into South Mountain State Park
Deer on the road going into South Mountain State Park

On the same stretch of road going out, we saw three white-tail deer, who bounded into the woods before we could get the camera out. Even though there were probably 20 cars in the parking lot, they must come down the road so infrequently during winter that the animals feel secure being around the road in the middle of the day.

Baby, It’s Cold Outside

Even though my son and I were wearing the same multiple layers that we normally wear on our annual family ski trip, we seriously considered getting back in the car and coming home soon after we arrived. The wind made it seem bitterly cold as we ate our lunch on a picnic table by the parking lot.

Lucky for us, we decided to plunge into the woods, where the shelter of the trees and just expending energy made the cold much more bearable. It was still a surprise to see the Jacob’s Fork River half covered in ice.

The Forest in Winter

It was truly a marvelous hike.  About two-thirds of the way up, it starts to snow—not enough to stick, but enough to make us feel like it was an adventure to keep going. We made it to the top of the half-frozen High Shoals Falls… and then, with the snow starting to stick, with double-timed it back down to the car.

Rather than describe each picture, I will include a  gallery of pictures from along the way. If you have the time, you should try South Mountain in winter, too.

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