President’s Notes –The 2012 Season is Beginning
By Joyce Furfaro
I love living on the side of Mount Nittany. In recent years we’ve have had a number of animals outside our front window in the late evening looking for food under our bird feeder pole. We’ve seen absolutely adorable skunks (really, like kitten adorable) that dug up the yard and almost sprayed my husband, John, when he turned the hose on them. Many deer, some of which came to within a few feet of that front window to pick at our bushes. I even found a groundhog under the hood of my car one day! But we have had very few late-night visitors so far this winter, so few that I don’t even have to take in the bird food at night. I’m attributing this lack of front yard wildlife to the relatively warm temperatures and lack of snow-cover on the mountain.
Mild winters are a blessing and a curse. Sure, we save money on our heating bills, and we can get outside and hike more comfortably. But you know what they say: we’ll have a bug problem all summer. And while bugs alone can taint a good paddle or camping trip, another concern is that we won’t have enough snow building up over the winter to give us a good spring thaw and raise the water levels to navigable on those normally too-shallow creeks.
So what will this spring be like for us? Well, I know a few things. Winter isn’t over yet, and there is plenty of snow potential left (yay?). I also know that we are a resourceful bunch, and we have enough waterways around here that we can paddle almost anytime. Heck, we are already planning some early season paddles, like the upcoming Pine Creek Gorge trip. Based on the enthusiasm I’ve already seen this year among members and at the Nat, I predict that we’ll be out there in our boats in no time!