2016 December 25

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Christmas Time
Cole Hill State Forest
Delmar, New York
Five Rivers Environmental Education Center
Kaaterskill Clove
Meads Creek State Forest

December 2016
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Questions? Need an updated map? Email me andy@andyarthur.org.

I hope you had a good Christmas. It was nice seeing my niece and sister today for breakfast. Lots of fresh fruits and waffles with cream. Gifts were exchanged with each other and it was nice.  You most likely saw some of the photos from my hike at Five Rivers Environmental Education Center this morning. It was very quiet there. Seeing that big doe up close was neat. 

I hadn’t really hadn’t decided what my afternoon and evening plans were going to be until around 1 pm, but I ended up deciding to go up to Cole Hill State Forest, build a Christmas Campfire and set up a tent and enjoy a nice evening in the wilderness next to the fire. 
Tonight is going to be fairly cold with a low around 12, but that’s to be expected for Christmas which occurs in the coldest time of year. I’m not worried about the cold because I brought ample sleeping bags and the propane heater so I can reach over and turn the heater on from time to time and take the chill off the tent. 

Right now we are around 21 degrees under very starry skies. The clear skies will allow the mercury to drop to 12 degrees on the hills around Berne. Six degrees below normal. A bit cool but it is Christmas and I’m up I’m the mountains and it’s colder here then I’m the city.  Northeast wind 3 to 8 mph. About four inches of snow where I’m camping but dragging the gear up to camp sometime I was dragging the gear through the mud on the plastic sled. As the breeze is light and because I’m dressed in layers next to the fire and the Big Buddy Heater, it’s not that cold. I got the long johns on, coat, sweater and wool socks. Times in the past when it’s been windy, I’ve been much colder in the woods. 

Last year on Christmas I was camping at Cherry Ridge at Charles Baker State Forest in Madison County. There was no snow them. In 2015, it got down to 34 degrees under mostly cloudy skies. The record low of -17 occurred back in 1914.

Waning Crescent Moon tonight with 19% illuminated. The moon will rise around 3:27 am. The New Moon is on Wednesday night with chance of snow showers. 

Tomorrow will have a slight chance of snow, freezing rain, and sleet before noon, then a chance of freezing rain between noon and 5pm, then a chance of rain or freezing rain after 5pm. Increasing clouds, with a high of 35 degrees at 6pm. Four degrees above normal. South wind 7 to 12 mph increasing to 13 to 18 mph in the afternoon. Winds could gust as high as 29 mph. Chance of precipitation is 40%. Little or no snow and sleet accumulation expected. A year ago, we had mostly cloudy skies and a high of 49 degrees. The record high of 59 was set in 1895. 13.9 inches of snow fell back in 1969. The sun will rise at 7:25 am with the first light at 6:53 am, which is 20 seconds later then yesterday.

I didn’t pack at camp stove or breakfast, because I plan to tear down the camp first thing and head home. It’s only a 25 minute drive home and I didn’t want to bother with the camp stove. I will have to take down the tent and make several trips back to the truck to bring all the sleep bags and gear back to the truck. The nice thing is it’s down hill to the truck. I hope to be home by 9 or 10 tomorrow. I want to avoid the freezing rain that is expected later in the day. If the weather is okay, I may go down to the laundromat and was up my smokey clothing so the smoke smell doesn’t sit into it all week. I didn’t wear my new coat because I didn’t want to get it dirty or smoky. 

Found out why the dash cam and cellphone charger wasn’t getting power in my truck. Ground wire had pulled out of solar charger which provides current to those devices, from the accessory battery. It was just a simple reinserting of the wire and screwing in a screw. Easy. Now I don’t have to worry about forgetting to shut off the dash camera and running down the starting battery. I like leaving the camera running while parked too in case my truck is hit in the parking lot. 

I’m also experimenting with dash board camera settings to see if I can improve image quality. It should be interesting to find out what happens. I think I have found the best compression for uploading to YouTube but there are still a lot resolutions, frame rates, and HDR vs no HDR enhancement. It will be interesting to see what happens. 

Looking ahead, New Years Day is Next Sunday, My 34th Birthday is in 5 weeks, Daylight Savings Time is in 11 weeks, Palm Sunday is in 15 weeks, Easter is in 16 weeks, Mother’s Day is in 20 weeks and Father’s Day is in 25 weeks.

A very Merry Christmas to all. A pretty mild day, earlier last night it was 42 degrees. Next Sunday is New Years Day 2017. Partly cloudy and 41 degrees in Delmar. There is a northwest breeze at 13 mph. 

Out for a Christmas morning walk at Five Rivers Environmental Education Center. Surprisingly not a lot of people here. I’m a bit surprised as Christmas Bird Counts are popular but I guess there isn’t an organized one here. A bit icy but I left my crampons in the pickupwhich the outdoors experts tell me are really micro spikes but that word isn’t as cool.  Then off to my parents house for Christmas breakfast with my sister and niece. Should be a nice start to the day. 

Christmas Day will be partly  cloudy through mid morning, then gradual clearing, with temperatures falling to around 30 by 5pm. Northwest wind 7 to 14 mph. A year ago, we had rain and a high of 59 degrees. The record high of 66 was set in 1889. In the hilltowns there is some snow but nothing like the 19.2 inches of snow fell back in 2002.

Not sure what I’m going to do today after breakfast. I packed a day pack with lunch  but I realized after leaving home and I left home my hoodie and hat. Based on the most recent forecast I may go camping in a state forest. For one night I only really need a tent, some bedding, the heater, and maybe a stove for coffee in the morning. Looks to be decently warm in the hill towns for camping tonight especially if I get the inside of the tent nice and warm.

Breaking in that new Carhartt this morning. It’s still a bit stiff and the colors are quite dark but wearing it plus the washing machine will change that. I got the dark brown because it won’t show the mud and muck so much. 

The sun will set at 4:28 pm with dusk around 5:00 pm, which is 40 seconds later than yesterday. Today will have 9 hours and 3 minutes of daylight, an increase of 20 seconds over yesterday.

Tonight will be mostly clear, with a low of 13 degrees at 5am. Five degrees below normal. North wind 5 to 7 mph becoming calm after midnight. In 2015, it got down to 34 degrees under mostly cloudy skies. The record low of -17 occurred back in 1914.

As previously noted, next Sunday is New Years Day when the sun will be setting at 4:33 pm with dusk at 5:05 pm. On that day in 2016, we had snow showers and temperatures between 38 and 30 degrees. Typically, the high temperature is 31 degrees. We hit a record high of 57 back in 1966.