"I dream of a hard and brutal mysticism in which the naked self merges with the nonhuman world and somehow survives...Paradox and bedrock."-Edward Abbey

11 January 2012

Diamond Drought

On a moonlit night, the snow across the mountainsides glitters in the manner of diamonds. On the last full moon, we had just received a fresh dusting, which caused the landscape to glow in supernatural ways. Had the wind not started to pick up and it had not already been down in the single digits, a moonlight walkabout may have very well been in order, although something like that may still happen this season.

"Where's all the snow?" Has been a popular inquiry amongst travelers, and it's not to be flippant. There's not a lot of it about.

I've been on one snowshoe this year, and could've gotten away with just my boots. My daughter and I had to go off-trail to justify the wearing of our snowshoes and pants. On walkabouts up the Bull's Head, Butler's Gulch and the 730, I've worn my gators almost as more of an aside than out of necessity.

Depending upon the ski resort, the powder level is not quite two feet to just shy of three. In deep winter. From what I've observed, those totals are more the norm early on, not midway through the season. I do not ski or ride, finding no thrill in going down a mountain very fast with a board, or boards, strapped to my feet, but I do know the winter tourists have been a little more than disappointed. My sister, an armchair snowbum when she's not mothering my nephew, has certainly grumbled over the decided lack of white gold. I'm willing to bet the powers that be at the resorts are willing to sacrifice a virgin for more snow, though it would require finding one.

Down below, which normally depends upon the snowfall in the mountains to fill its reservoirs and water its farmland has received more snow this year by virtue of upslopes, which have been too weak to reach the Roof of the World or beyond. It's been amusing to visit the greater metroplex and see bigger drifts there than around my own house. I've taken to saying around our little Sahel that it's more like March, sans the mud, which comes with the first thaw.

When the trained meteorologists call for snow I find myself becoming increasingly cynical. Well, for one, those city oracles get a little too melodramatic about a dusting, which keeps any tourists from traveling through and visiting, and when you live in communities that rely heavily on such traffic, such an over-embellishment just will not do. Even when the snow does fall, it snarls up the Road for a few hours, or a day, at the most, and then everything goes back to being khaki and crusty.

I fear drought and tinderbox and river rafting companies starving come summer. Even if skiing and riding holds no appeal for me, I am concerned for the resorts. The cats there have their own bills to pay and families to feed, after all.

On a recent walkabout, gazing up into the turquoises blue sky, I caught myself wondering if there would be a truly righteous blizzard this season. One of those storms that closes roadways for a day or more and leaves us digging out for just as long. The type of snow, which is the stuff of great works of literature and crappy 1970's era pop songs. As much of a pain in the ass as it would be to dig out from a storm of that magnitude, I can certainly see where that much snow might be appreciated to say the very least.

Of course, it is only deep winter. The two snowiest months for the state of Colorado are still a few months off. Trying to predict the weather in this part of the world, even and especially in the mountains, is as much of an art of of fortune telling as it is chaos math. It could be before it's all said and done and summer's here that the snow will glitter in great mounds of white gold abating any potential drought before it starts.   


  1. Maybe that wicked storm in Anchorage will end up in your part of the world.

    Here, in southern Oregon, the river that runs through town is so low, you can almost walk across from one side to the other. Not normal. There's been no rain, snow or anything else except cold and fog.

    Still, as you said, there are more months of winter to come.

  2. We'll get cold now and again, but for the most part, it's been pretty mild so far. That is scary how you could walk across a river in Oregon. If that storm up north comes down, I hope it give ya'll a drink first.

  3. I can't say that I miss the snow, but it would be nice to have a winter shower, complete with rolling thunder. Today, the wind is fierce. I'm cold all the way to the bone.

    1. Thunder could be neat. Around here, we have a phenomena called thunder snow, which can be interesting. We had a dusting, not even an inch, and once it moved out, the wind kicked up, Himalayan in its ferocity. Like you, I'm quite chilled, and it sounds like a choir of banshees outside.