Relative Something

*this* John W. Hays' take on things and experiences

Posts Tagged ‘snowpack

Time Weathered

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What a wind we experienced yesterday! A simple walk around the property was an exhausting struggle. The bare branches of our trees clattered overhead as they bounced against one another, putting me on alert about walking beneath them. Delilah’s ability to smell what’d been going on overnight was visibly altered as a wealth of distant scent information was arriving through the air faster than she could parse and the ground scents were being endlessly scrubbed away.

While deep in the woods near the edge of our property, we witnessed the sound of a large tree cracking and falling. My first impression had me turning to my left to look up the hill toward the direction of our house, but that didn’t sound right. Looking in the opposite direction into our neighbor’s woods locked into the full sound, but I couldn’t see the source.

It was definitely impacting multiple trees and the cracking and crunching made quite an impression. I looked toward Delilah and she was staring intently toward the direction of the sound, after which she looked up at me as if to say, “Whoa!” –as in, ‘that was huge!’

Yeah, that was a “whoa” alright. It was a big one that answered any questions about falling trees making sounds whether anyone was there, or not.

We were out on the second trek of the day and I could see the footprint evidence of Cyndie and Delilah’s first walk at dawn. Cyndie was able to stay on top of the frozen crust. It provided a contrast to the other extreme from her afternoon walk the day before when the soft snow had her boots dropping to the full depth, making a stroll on our trail into a real slog.

At the hour I was traveling over the terrain, my boots were just breaking the surface.

Our snowpack has experienced multiple thaw/freeze cycles in the last week and then yesterday the surface was scoured by the relentless battering of gale-force gusting winds. It barely looks like snow anymore. It resembles the surface of the moon, except for the occasional random foot path trails various wildlife visitors have left in their wake.

This morning’s peaceful calm almost enhances the perception of a lunar location.

It’s a calm before the next storm, we are told. A Winter Weather Advisory is on for tonight and tomorrow morning in our location. That crusty surface will be given a fresh new coat of inches on which we get to tread in the days ahead.

Huzzah to that, we say! Bring it on.

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Written by johnwhays

February 27, 2021 at 10:43 am

Warmth Visits

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We are enjoying a welcome break from the harsh depths of the gripping cold that commanded all attention for the previous two weeks. Cyndie said snow and ice sliding off the roof throughout the day created startling noises that jostled sensibilities. Delilah would react with equally startling barks of her own in response.

Walking our trails in the winter, one clearly experiences the dramatic influence the snowpack exerts in holding the temperature down. Think: walking the frozen foods aisle in an otherwise comfortable grocery store. There is a noticeable chill. Walking our trails in the winter when the air temperature rises above freezing is like walking on a refrigerated carpet.

The cold radiates up from below, overcoming the natural order of cold air falling low.

The two pictures above were captured by Cyndie on Saturday as we drove to Pepin. The bottom one could almost be interpreted as being over water instead of the snow that was really there.

Or, maybe that just a reflection of my response to the visit of this February thaw.

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Written by johnwhays

February 23, 2021 at 7:00 am