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Icy Cold River

January 5th, 2008

Today we took a walk near our house to some trails along the Middle and Little Patuxent Rivers. Even though we’ve had some of the coldest days of the season recently, I wasn’t expecting there to be a lot of ice on the river, as today it was well above freezing. To my delight, I was wrong; there were ice crystals everywhere along the banks and rocks.

Icy Little Patuxent River

It’s amazing how beautiful the ice can be, forming in so many different configurations. My favorite ones are the long, spiky, crystals like the ones below. Many of the rocks that are normally visible were completely consumed by ice. That said, the ice itself wasn’t really all that thick, full of air pockets, and requiring little force to be broken.

Ice Crystals

Some of the ice was a bit mushier like this below. I imagine that all of the asiatic clams normally found in this area are deep into the riverbed, trying to keep warm. Obviously, the small amount of the aquatic plant-life found in this river has long since melted away.

Ice Crystals

My favorite set of ice crystals from our walk were the ones shown below. It appeared that after the ice formed, the river and sun worked from above and below to create holes, making the unique pattern seen below.

Ice Crystals

At a distance, some of the ice formations looked more like snow banks along the river. Very pretty, creating a serene feeling in the winter forest. Despite lacking the lush green growth, and animal calls normally heard in warmer weather, the forest maintains its beauty year round.

Icy Little Patuxent River

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