Clarkhouse Creek is still flowing, albeit only marginally, but the pond is completely frozen over, although I didn't try walking on it to test the thickness. The forest was mostly quiet except for a few crows and chickadees, plus two dogs that came barreling down a long driveway to bark at me, which doesn't really count. There were also a few deer browsing on shrubs, and lots of deer and rabbit/hare tracks in the snow.
And almost no snowmobile tracks, which surprised me, although some of last year's trails have gotten overgrown or have had trees fall over them. There was also only a single pair of snowshoe prints on the trails that I was on. While I've run into other people on the roads, I've never encountered a single other person on the trails. Today, although we haven't had significant snowfall in over a week, snow still clung to the branches of all the underbrush, because nobody's been walking through them to knock them clean.
To get from my house to the Antenna Farm, I have to walk along a few blocks of Central Entrance, which is always busy any time of day, and it's jarring, especially coming home, to go from a such a quiet, unpeopled place to such a heavily trafficked road. Even after visiting it for over a year, it still doesn't seem possible that there could be this kind of wilderness in the middle of the city and not even as official parkland. The trails are ungroomed, and the antennas are ugly and people often dump garbage on the roadside, but it is by and large such a lovely place to be.
For that matter, it's kind of jarring to go from Central Entrance into my actually rather idyllic Central Hillside neighborhood. This is supposedly the "ghetto," and when I tell people I live in the Central Hillside they get a worried look on their face and ask me how it is. Oh yes, it is truly a trial living here, all these community gardens and friendly neighbors, all this public transit and amenities within walking distance, it's brutal I tell ya. Which is not to say there are no problems in the Hillside, and certainly there are blocks closer to downtown where I would want to stick to well-lit streets after dark, but I've never felt afraid here and this is by far my favorite neighborhood in Duluth. Like the Antenna Farm, the Hillside is imperfect but beautiful.
13.1: the saga
1 day ago