Chester County Downingtown Nature Photo Journal Photography Rivers

Early Winter Walk on the Struble Trail

After spending the morning checking in with the world, I got myself ready to spend some time walking along the Struble Trail near the Dowlin Forge Road entrance.

It was an over cast day, and one could “smell” the snow in the air, something I was able to learn from living in New England for so many years!

From the entrance, I headed North on the paved trail, and after a short time, I found the small dirt trail that leads down to the edge of the Brandywine creek itself. I was definitely nice to see, that I was one of the first ones to adventure through the snow.

Once by the water’s edge, I setup my camera on the tripod, and just looked around to see how the snow had covered the area:

Brandywine (Winter) - Up Creek

Brandywine (Winter) – Up Creek

Brandywine (Winter) - Down Creek

Brandywine (Winter) – Down Creek

As you can see, the light snow that covered the trees and rocks was just enough to add a wonderful dimension to everything that I was seeing.

Then I started to focus my camera on the creek itself.

Winter on the Brandywine - Snow, Ice and Water 01

Winter on the Brandywine – Snow, Ice and Water 01

Water Wings

Winter on the Brandywine – Water Wings

More images from the creek level area can be found on my Flickr Photostream.

I started back to the snow covered land, and back in to the woods and on the small trail, were I looked around at what nature had to offer with the snow cover.

Wood Mushrooms in the Snow (#095)

Wood Mushrooms in the Snow (#095)

Finally back on the paved trailed, I started back to the Parking Lot, and encountered some large rocks that had a beautiful collection of moss, lichens and ice.

Moss, Lichen and Ice (#108)

Moss, Lichen and Ice (#108)

Moss, Lichen and Ice (#111)

Moss, Lichen and Ice (#111)

Back at the Parking Lot, I ran into another Photographer putting his gear away after his afternoon trek. We discussed different areas we had been, and additional areas in Downingtown to shoot.

Eventually, he said his good-byes, and was off.

He was late to a meeting.

Looking at my watch, I figured I has a little time to check out the Grist Mill ruins just off the Uwchlan Trail along the Shamona Creek.

After crossing Dowlin Forge Road, I started up Uwchlan Trail.

In the distance, I could see a man and a women crossing the small wooden bridge near the ruins.

After a minute or two later, I was at the bridge, and started across.


I landed on my butt!

My camera was safe, and as I tried to get up, I realized that I had severely twisted my ankle, and had to use the bridge for support!

Standing there on my left leg, I tried to put weight on my right ankle, but was greeted with great pain.

Guess, I was not going to visit the Mill ruins after all!

Using my tripod as a walking support, I was able to get back to my car, and get home.


Update – Finally, after several weeks of hobbling around, my ankle is slowly feeling better. Yeah!
– Andrew
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Chester County Downingtown Flickr Nature Pennsylvania Photo Essay Photo Journal Photography Photostream Weather

Inverted Icicles – Ice Spikes

These Inverted Icicles, also referred to as Ice Spikes, were amazing!

We have been watching them grow over the past several days, and when we heard the temperatures were going to be too warm for them to survive, I had to grab my camera to record what we saw.

Overview - Inverted Icicles/Ice Spikes 01
Overview – Inverted Icicles/Ice Spikes 01

As you can see, these Inverted Icicles/Ice Spikes, were grown on the under-side of a 100-gallon horse troth, that we use in the summer, as a deck pond.

The troth had been up-side down for well over a month, and ‘Mother Nature’ dropping leaves, water and what ever else into the various sections of the horse troth under-side.

During the past couple of days, the highs were in the twenties, and the area was struck with direct sun for 4-5 hours.

At night, the temperatures would easily drop into teens.

There is no roof or over-hang, and the tree branches are too far way to be this consistent.

Overview - Inverted Icicles/Ice Spikes 02
Overview – Inverted Icicles/Ice Spikes 02

From the Overview images, the tall ones are easily over 2 inches “tall”, but there is obvious variations in shape:

Inverted Icicle (Ghost)
Inverted Icicle (Ghost)
Inverted Icicle (Cobra)
Inverted Icicle (Cobra)

I can understand, to a degree, the vertical oriented icicle/spikes, but these?

Inverted Icicles (DoF) Y?
Inverted Icicles (DoF) Y?
Inverted Icicle (Hook or a Check Mark)
Inverted Icicle (Hook or a Check Mark)

I am very baffled in how the angled icicles/spikes are able to grow, and in such perfect form, especially, when one would suspect that they would droop over…

And what about the secondary “buds”?


Since I originally captured these images, I have been searching for an explanation to this phenomenon.

Distilled Water (Man-Made)

From my cited references below, icicles/spikes are generally “grown” in controlled conditions, using “Distilled Water”; a flash freeze process; in ice-cube trays, and seems to be easily repeatable.


On the other hand, and less well reported, are the Natural icicles/spikes that do occur, in bird baths or other small bowl-shaped objects. Some examples can be found on “Got Spikes on Your Ice Cubes?”.

When looking at the captures on this page, note the clarity and translucency of the ice, which would seemingly demonstrate the cold temperatures involved.

Size and Shapes

Refrigerator grown icicles/spikes, it seems, tend to be very thin and around 2 inches in length, and the images provided, easily show that these icicles/spikes are over that mark. [Note to self – Need to work out actual sizes]


As for the impurities issue, using Distilled Water versus Not, images on this page do not seem to show any impurities as the focus of structure formation.

Measuring Age

If I were to guesstimate an ‘age’ for these ice shapes, 3-5 days, based on looking the air bubble paths.

If one looks carefully, there does appear to be a larger repeating bubble ‘chamber’ along the path of the escaping air.

I suggest that the ‘chamber’ is a result of an extreme cold state, corresponding to a chilling/warming cycle, and would normally seem to occur during the day time hours, or when exposed to warming temperatures.

Static Electricity

It seems in a majority of cases, a plastic compound seems to be the main sub-straight.

I have to wonder if there is an influence of some sort of electrical discharge, in the colder, drier environments that effect that shape.

As for the shaping of the check-mark shapes, consider the idea, that the ‘buds’ are a back-follow condition of the primary side.


What are your thoughts?

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