Exploring the Winter Landscape
Why and where to cross-country ski the Poconos
By Kevin Conroy, contributing writer
You get the wide motions of cross-country skiing by the time you near the woods with your friends, following what appears to be a deerpath, and in you go, past immense bull pines and trees felled by forgotten storms. Elegant quiet hangs about the place, lit now and then by shimmering snow borne on sudden breezes.
You skim the edge of a marsh thick with rhododendron, saplings closing in about you, brushing your face with cold, until you reach a stone row and realize these woods had once been farm fields. You side-step your way over the stones and continue, but soon stop to look at a group of massive vines climbing to the treetops, realizing with astonishment they are grapes. You race to catch up with your companions.
An apple tree gnarled with age marks the end of the path where a wide meadow rises in front of you, an oak towering atop the hill, its branches a sweeping chaos against the sky, one lone bough reaching down as if to make a snowball. You ski toward it, learning to herringbone your way up, finally turning to take in the view. The daily hassles get left behind in this kind of tranquility...