Last updated: March 17. 2013 2:59AM - 322 Views
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Perhaps it's the Grand View Trail at Ricketts Glen State Park, the Marie Antoinette Overlook on Route 6 near Wyalusing or a scenic drive out of Noxen along Sorber Mountain Road. • Wherever you find your favorite view, chances are, you appreciate it during all four seasons. • For nature-lovers, there is real pleasure in watching the changes of a rural or forested landscape, as the fresh blossoms of spring become the deep greenery of summer, followed by the riotous colors of autumn.

Then there's winter, when the landscape might look barren yet still beautiful. Is there snow on the cornfields? Ice thickening on a pond?

Lean from your perch, if it's a high one, and look below. Do you see people sledding? Skating? Ice fishing? In a few months they could be playing baseball, boating or fly fishing in the same locale.

Today, photographer Mike (also known as Frank, – long story) Burnside of Harveys Lake shares with our readers some of his favorite scenery, made all the more striking by the presence of ice and snow.

There's something almost magical about the late-afternoon light in the woods and even more so when the light can play in the snow, said Burnside, who admits his friends have a point when they say he's obsessed with ice.

He's found wintry subjects along an old carriage road near Our Lady of Victory Church, Harveys Lake, among stately trees on state game lands between Noxen and Ricketts Glen, and in a creekside park along Route 29 just outside of Tunkhannock.

They're all part of Northeastern Pennsylvania, yet as you gaze at his photos you can imagine you're in Norway or Lapland.

Or, as Burnside said of a foggy forested walk near Blakeslee, It was as I imagine Brigadoon.

You can see more of his camera work at burnsidephotographic.com, where readers have posted such comments as Brrrr-utiful! and Only one word for these – exquisite.

I like to do stuff that's a little abstract, Burnside said, pointing to photos of sunlight sparkling on ice, which he compares to liquid glass.

I like to get intimate with my subjects.

Still he'll shoot not only snow on a tree branch or ice in a puddle but landscapes – pictures of meadows, ponds and mountains.

While you're outdoors this time of year, you might combine your admiration of nature with photography, as Burnside does, or perhaps with hiking, cross-country skiing or snow-shoeing.

Those with the proper equipment have even more options.

If you have ice crampons, ropes and axes, for example, you can still explore the waterfalls at Ricketts Glen State Park near Red Rock, Caroline Yockavitch of the park's administrative staff said.

But, for safety's sake, the Falls Trail is closed to ordinary hikers. The stone steps get so icy, Yockavitch said. There is no tread.

Nevertheless other pathways at the park, such as the Grand View Trail, can show you some pretty scenery without the risk that you could slide off a cliff.

Where else might you find a stunning winter vista?

Avid hiker Joe Healey, 71, of Laflin has plenty to suggest, among them the Pinchot Trail in the Lackawanna State Forest, which leads to the Pine Hill Vista, complete with a wooden tower you can climb. You can see the whole Pocono Plateau, and the windmills, he said, adding he hopes proposed high-voltage power lines will not obscure the view.

Members of the Susquehanna Trailers often enjoy the view at Glen Onoko Falls near Jim Thorpe as well as the view between Mount Minsi and Mount Tammany in the Delaware Water Gap, said Healey, who with his wife, Lorraine, has belonged to the hiking club for many years.

The Pinnacle on the Appalachian Trail near Hamburg is an especially beautiful spot that overlooks the Lehigh Valley, Healey said, and the Mocanaqua Loop near Shickshinny and Mocanaqua has several scenic points.

As you enjoy any of these places – or your own favorites – during the next several weeks, you can watch winter fade away and know that Burnside has promised he'll share more photos of his bucolic haunts to show the changes wrought by spring, summer and autumn.

For now, winter is yours to enjoy.

if you go

Looking for a winter vista? Here are some suggestions.

Mocanaqua Loop Trail System: Trailhead is off Route 239 in Mocanaqua. Turn left after crossing the Shickshinny Bridge from Route 11.

Marie Antoinette Overlook: About 40 miles west of Tunkhannock on Route 6.

Grand View Trail at Ricketts Glen State Park: Trail head is on western side of Route 437, while Falls Trail is to on eastern side of that road.

Pinchot Trail System that leads to Pine Hill Vista can be accessed from Pittston Road in Lackawanna County.

The ‘Pinnacle' is on the Appalachian Trail. To access from Hamburg, take Old Route 22 to Reservoir Road (intersection near church/graveyard) and park at the reservoir gate.

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