The full implications of how cold it had been hit me around six-thirty in the morning when I was letting the hounds out, thus answering the gnawing metaphysical question of our time. There was no wind and my weather station stated it was positive sixteen out. I found this pleasant.
Of course, the day before, horrific gales lashed our Sahel at sustained speeds of between fifteen and twenty miles per hour. I'd rather not discuss the gusts. It was type of wind, which was that of icy talons and surgically sharpened blades; ripping and cutting through any kind of armor as though it was wet paper. The ambient air temperature hovered at a paltry eight or nine above, with a wind chill of minus ten to fifteen. There are very few times I might say it was miserable up here, but the day before was one of them.
The wind had turned the snow around the house into hardpack and I feared for conditions on the trails for a walkabout. Thankfully, it was not that bad as I started my snowshoe up Grizzly Gulch. There was a breeze, but the surrounding trees pretty much kept me shielded. I found myself comfortable in my gear, if not a little hot now and again, with the excursion.
Gray's and Torrey's were cloaked in phantasmal smoke-gray clouds and orographic snow. In the distance, I heard the roar of an avalanche, and deduced it was from the slope of Kelso Mountain along nearby Stevens Gulch. I hoped it wasn't human-caused, and, if it was, there was no one caught in it.
At home in the fading daylight, I took my tea on the porch, musing places for Sabina and I to snowshoe the next time the sun rose, whilst the hounds milled about. My weather station told me it was positive twenty-three and the high had been twenty-six. I sat back, taking in my tiny snow-covered world. It was so warm out I considered cracking open a beer out there on the porch and grilling for supper.