marsh madness

Today, I learned the hard way that I really should invest in some winter pants.

I woke up this morning, ready for my weekly Huntington Bird Club trip, and checked the weather forecast. Snow! Okay, I thought, I’ll just bundle up a bit. I put on several warm layers and briefly contemplated wearing sweats over my leggings, before deciding against it. It wasn’t that cold out, and we were only going to be out for an hour or two, anyway. So I piled into a car with several other birders—such good turnout this weekend! some alumni came thru!!—and we drove off to the Scarborough Marsh Audubon Center. I was pretty excited about the marsh—one of my favorite birding spots back at home, the Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge, includes miles and miles of beautiful open wetland. But marshes in the winter, it turns out, are a whole nother story.

My first warning should have been the story about the last time HBC visited this marsh, which we heard on the drive up. With freezing 30-mph winds, they had barely made it halfway across the marsh, let alone seen any birds. I should have thought about that—marshes are so flat, so open, that there’s really nothing to stop the winds from picking up.

By the time we pulled into the parking lot, snow was already accumulating on the ground. There was only one other car in the lot. But we pulled on hats and coats, had some donuts from Frosty’s, and set out.20180225_104310

Long story short: it was cold. Biting-wind-frozen-cheeks-eyes-closed-against-the-snow cold. The thing is, the air itself wasn’t even that cold—it would have been a lovely, pleasant walk if it hadn’t been for the wind. But the wind, driving horizontally across the frozen land, pelted us with snow as we traveled across a completely exposed, raised path.

Don’t get me wrong, it was still fun!! The landscape was crazy beautiful, and I wish I’d been able to look up more (I spent most of the time scrunched into my collar). We did see some birds—geese, goldeneyes, a handful of gulls—and had some good laughs along the way to keep our minds off the cold. (A budding Concept: birding trip but you just make up fake names for all the birds.)

That being said, it was just the right amount of time for me to have been Cold but not miserably / dangerously so. My leggings were entirely snow-soaked and my legs were so cold they felt HOT!! It was wild! But I survived, and I’m glad I ended up going. Lots of good memes and mems, as always!

And I’ll definitely be back to that marsh—I bet it’s beautiful in the summer.

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