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Start The Conservation Bloggers

Kristel Guimara Hello everyone and welcome! My name is Kristel Guimara and I currently live in the beautiful northern Adirondacks. I have my Bachelor's degree in Biology with a concentration in Environmental Science from Paul Smith's College located in Paul Smith's NY. Currently, I am in my second year of graduate school pursuing my Master's Degree in Conservation Biology from Green Mountain College in Poultney VT. I am currently researching the effects of black carbon concentration in the Adirondack snowpack which will be compared to samples taken in the Arctic Regions. This I hope will continue beyond my thesis requirement.

I have been blessed to have wonderful opportunities at such places as; Smithsonian Environmental Research Center, Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies, Wildlife Conservation Society and much more. Yet, my love of the outdoors goes beyond literature, research and endless days spent on top of a mountain; it's a sense of place. I am not here to stand on top of my soapbox and sway you on your own personal opinions and views in topics that I post. I am here merely to open some topics up that will get a conversation going about the on-goings happening in the Adirondacks. So kindly pull up a chair, get your coffee ready and join me in a lively conversation.

Snowshoe Travels

Fresh snow coated our landscape this morning and I eagerly grabbed by snowshoes for a venture out to a nearby trail. As I headed out, the snow began to fall with a light dusting and I watched as it settled on the leaves and branches of each tree and into the crevices of the bark. The temperature was low and the trees were crisp and starched with frost. It seemed the only sound I could hear was the swish-swish sound of my snowshoes. With each step, I looked to see if any sign of life had come before me and no tracks were seen in the frozen stillness.

The delicate flakes began to fall heavier and the bows of branches began to encroach closer to the trail. I pulled off the trail and snuck under a bow of branches and began to watch the snow fall before me. Snow has a way to bring order to the woods. Every creature has its place and the arrival of the first flake, that coats our landscape, graces us on a different day each year. The expectation can be seen with the scurry of squirrels and chipmunks across the landscape, in search of food to store for the coming season, and the filling of our pantries with canned goods to relish in the bounties of summer in the dead of winter.

Just as the sun began to break the horizon and peak into the woods, a loud popping sound echoed in the forest. I initially jumped from where I stood, in the unanticipated sound that broke the silence of the woods. The sound was the result of a rapid expansion and contraction of water in the phloem or inner bark of a tree. This process is often referred to as "frost cracks" and is the result of a temperature change in the trunk of a tree. The temperature drops abruptly and causes the outer trunk to crack from the inside out.

Moments like these I tend to linger in the woods and drink in the winter season as if it's a wonderful cup of hot chocolate.  As I headed head back to the trailhead and thoughts of a warm fire waiting before me, I ponder as to the next trail I will venture onto. However, I am always looking for new places to embark on and places away from heavy foot traffic. Therefore I ask you "What trail should I embark on next?"



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Kristel, I think this was great piece you have written. I also have been in those predicaments while observing the wilderness before dawn and wondering to myself what is ahead of me or behind me? A single pop, bang, crunch, squish, or growl can make you second guess the reason for being there. As for the next trail? I would ask myself what branch on the trail of life shale I venture onto next?


I found your posting to be insightful! Thank you.

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