30 September 2014
The Land of Storms
Pass Lake and one of its officially unnamed companion lakes...
It's the first accumulating snow of the season. At least above eleven-thousand. Meteorological prophecy foretells of the snow-line possibly dipping to eight-thousand by Thursday morning.
Although I was buffeted by some Tibetan gales upon the Roof of the World, it was not nearly as blustery or cold as I anticipated. The snow was not that deep. Maybe three or four inches in most spots. Although, for some of the places I walked, I was grateful I opted to wear gaiters. The occasional small snow devil danced within my field of vision.
Back at home, a two to three-thousand vertical foot difference, it was partly to mostly sunny with a strong breeze. The high peaks on either side of the valley were not enshrouded in grayish-white cloaks. Looking west, toward the Roof of the World, the clouds were thicker. Being up there, some of the ridges were hidden behind veils of mist and snow and cloud.
This is the time of year when the jetstream dips to fourteen-thousand feet, where it shall stay until April. Part of the reason it can be so windy up here. Anywhere the continent splits in half and waterways flip a coin by virtue of gravity as to east or west, the winter storms can linger for days. Sometimes up to a week and a half. It is said, and there is empirical evidence to back it up, that mountains make their own weather.
I'd simply wager that along the roof of the world, doubly so...
There were a group of snowboarders desperately trying to pile up enough fresh snow to ride. The exuberance and folly of youth. I was out for another late-season alpine excursion. Soon enough, the landscape will be blanket in white that will not melt until as late as early summer. There are some snowfields where I live that I speculate have not melted since before this part of the world was covered with many-miles deep glaciers. Such a thought pleases me.
I don't know how many more excursions I'll be able to make to the tundra this season. I don't know when I'll be snowshoeing for kicks. It doesn't matter. Here and now, I was able to get into that region of my outback. After walking a few hundred feet, I had solitude, silence, and serenity. That alone brings a smile to my face.