The snow on the east side of the Hose of Owls and Bats..
It would seem we're getting a winter this year. When held in comparison to the last two years this could either be a shock or cause for elation depending upon your philosophical bent. It's been a good winter this year, in terms of snow; one-hundred four percent of average snowpack statewide thus far. I've been able to snowshoe a lot. So far, so good.
It seems the month long, perhaps even in the waning days of December, we started getting the winds. Every year, the same ten locos bemoan it's the worst winds in a century. Kind of makes it hard to take them seriously. If I felt like getting my meteorological geek on, I could check wind data for that many years and compare and contrast. Sabina's actually shocked I haven't.
What has fascinated me this year is the interplay of wind and snow around the house. The past two years, in January, we've had bald yard. This year, we have some excellent drifts. The one loading an upslope cornice along the east side of the house must be, at its deepest point, waist deep one me. That's at least five-thirteen and three-quarters, if it's an inch. Of course, there are those who have accused me-baselessly, I might add-of being freakishly tall.
It's superfreak, thank you very much, superfreaky...
I woke up to a blizzard and the urge to walk. I'd not been snowshoeing since Old Scratch broke down and was getting antsy. Not to say I'd not been out. Me without a being outside is like chocolate without peanut butter, or something else poetic and otherwise profound. Point being, I wasn't going to let the triviality of a blizzard prevent me from going on walkabout.
I trekked the narrow-gauge tracks down-valley to the library. See, I had documentaries to return and ones to search for. That was the excuse, I suppose. I wanted to frolic in the canyon between my town and the one six-hundred vertical down. Although, I doubt anyone would've bought said excuse, not that I was selling it.
It's funny, I intimately know my route through that canyon. Yet, because of winter's divinity to alter the landscape in such varied way from one year to another, I had to reteach myself the way. Not that I was ever in danger of getting lost; both the river and Road not far away, it was still amusing to catch myself tromping yards off my usual course.
"You don't mess around," the librarian said seeing me, looking like a wind-blown and ice crusted ninja with my snowshoes hanging from my pack.
"Vehicle's in the shoppe and I require educational media," I said glibly, pulling down my balaclava. "Anything new?"
The wind was at my back on the way down. Going home meant climbing up and having to fight the jetstream. I stopped at the high bridge for which the lower railroad station takes its name. Down here, locos said the Devil howled. I pressed myself against the cold steel of the bridge as the gales lashed at my skeletal frame, resolving notto get a particular insipid Bob Seger song in my skull. Instead, I focused on another Robert of whom I admire;
"Early this morning
when you knocked upon my door,
And I said;
I believe it's time to go'..."
Not like I go worrying about repercussions from the Devil, given what I've done to his wife before...
The wind is never as bad within the bosom of the trees, although, one must be mindful of widowmakers when it gets especially blustery. Along the tracks, smaller snowdevils danced. I could see their colossal kin waltzing upon the high peaks. The wind did a strange thing to the sounds of the canyon; I could hear it rushing past me, the river as it moved below its ice, the discordant song of trees swaying and rubbing against one another, and the occasional call of a chickaree, and my footfalls through the deep snow. I could not hear the Road. Were I to antropomorphise and believe something greater cared about my aberrant ass, I would postulate the Divine knew I wanted to be further out into the Backcountry and brought its symphony to me. The mere thought got me to chuckle at my own arrogance.
After a point, just past the Lair of the Boogieman, I chose to follow the tracks to the upper depot, instead of cutting through the cemetery. Part of me felt utterly spent, going uphill through such bluster. Yet, I could not convince myself to mind. I got to go walking, snowshoeing. A form of meditation, it's venue more opulent than the finest cathedrals within the kingdoms of Man. A wander through my own Never-Never Land where an adult encouraged to play outside all the time.
It doesn't get much better...
And as you see, I made it home unscathed...