On and Off The Mountain-Stephanie Grubert

The high afternoon temperature in my neighborhood Sunday January 7th was 15°, edging toward the highest reading in 10 days when the mercury hit 17° on December 27, 2017. In the frigid interim I had not taken one decent walk until Sunday. It helped that the sun was shining brightly as the -8° at my house early Sunday warmed up during the day. I saw two dog walkers bundled up for their task on our road as we returned from an errand and I knew that I had to try it too.

We’ve all gotten used to layering these last couple of weeks and I piled on 3 layers under my long warm coat. A warm cap and hand knitted muffler topped off my head with my hands inside gloves inside warm thick mittens. I set my pedometer to clock my effort and checked my Fitbit to see if I could possibly get to the 10,000-step mark with only a one-hour 2.5-mile trek. The temperature was 14°. Happily by the end of the day I had achieved my goal.

I loaded up one of the political best sellers on my phone and enjoyed the exhilaration of a robust walk while listening to the most talked about book of the week. A neighbor’s large German Shepard ran out of its yard in a menacing manner jumping and pawing at me as the dog’s owner called him back from the street. After three or more rounds with the dog it obeyed the command. The dog owning neighbor did not offer any apology for his animal’s behavior. I was grateful that the rambunctious dog was away. I may need to start carrying pepper spray or mace.

There are a few dogs in my neighborhood and they are small and usually on leashes for their walks. The probability of a senior walker out on a Sunday afternoon in 14° weather was slim. No harm done this time.

I only saw one car while I was out and it was Rich Krzyzwicki down next to the beautiful swamp on Heslop Road where it goes up toward the Gamelands. Rich reminded me that we had met before and he was now regularly enjoying the Mountaintop Eagle after we talked about it the last time. I told him I would include our encounter in this week’s column.

By the time our mail subscribers receive their Mountaintop Eagles this week temperatures were predicted for a high of 36° with even milder conditions improving toward the weekend. Hopefully this polar-artic-vortex or whatever label the forecasters had been touting has passed. All weather patterns are cyclical. We enjoy warm winters and cold winters. Lots of snow and no snow at all. It is always a surprise and we can only enjoy it or endure it. January weather is for skiers, skaters, ice fishermen, snowshoeing and robust walks. All require warm clothes, hats, gloves and boots. We’ve lived through it before and we will again. I love those “days until spring” reminders that pop up in emails and on Facebook. Yes, we need to try hard to be optimistic.

We are sure to have some “cabin fever” in the next couple of months and the best way to overcome it is to take a ride out around our beautiful town, stopping to shop or for some lunch or dinner at one of our fine eateries. Charlie and I stopped at Leaf & Ladle Sunday for a fresh homemade soup and sandwich treat. The young workers were energetic and efficient. Most of the tables were full of diners. Hot food on a cold day is enjoyable.

The deer are hungry now and I see lots of deer hoof prints in the snow in my yard. Deer don’t hibernate like the bears. Go slow and if one pops up in front of you on the road, you have a better chance of stopping and avoiding a collision.

It is always fun to put out a bird feeder in the winter. The birds of many feathers and colors will soon entertain you with their presence.

We always have a number of Mountaintop subscribers who take their Eagles with them while they are away in January, February and March. With the availability of our mteagle.comInternet edition, the news is as close as your laptop, iPad or iPhone. For those readers right here in Mountaintop, the paper is delivered every Wednesday by mail. Sign up today on mteagle.comor call us at 570-474-NEWS (6397).