We've been very much enjoying winter around here! Many miles of snowshoeing through woods and along rivers have provided delightful glimpses of beautiful things in the natural world.
The snowpack, the amount on the ground, is always changing with new storms, well below zero weather that sucks moisture back out via sublimation (frozen water turning directly into vapor without melting into a liquid first), or a warmer day with some sunshine that helps compact all the layers from the various storms together as the snow settles. The snow fall totals are a different measurement from snowpack, generally measuring the amount of new inches that have fallen once a day before all the above mentioned effect have much time to act on that new snow. At the moment this leaves the mountain above me reporting over350 inches of snowfall for the winter, but a snowpack that's just over 100 inches deep.
Around my house and a little above and below in elevation where we range on our walks, the snow on the ground varies from knee to chest deep. But my snowshoes and Burley's big furry feet allow both of us to travel well and float over all of that.
Snowy day walks through the woods and clearings. And occasional sunny periods where you can clearly see every track we or any thing else that moves leaves.
Along creeks and rivers, the ice forms lots of unique designs. From the starburst like pattern above to mini icebergs left after a particularly cold spell below.
Check out the cool ice circle formed in a back eddy along the river. It's a giant spinning wheel of ice. And there's a smaller one to it's right as well, but it looks like it already froze in place. This only happens when it's below zero F. and not always then.
Walking through woods and brush leads to sightings of rubs like this where moose use branches, trunks, or brush to help knock of last years antlers which start to get itchy and they prepare to shed so the new antlers for this year can grow in.
And neat old dead trees that other little things decided to make their homes in for a while.
And we've had opportunities to watch lots of wildlife large and small.
The doe above is actually watching a moose and seemed to totally ignore us.
The above moose is a bull and you can see the scars where he recently shed last years antlers.
Moose are generally easier to spot from a distance in the winter due to being a far darker shade than almost everything else in a snowy world.
We do encounter a lot of moose, and we always try to give them a wide berth and change direction to avoid disturbing them or getting them irritated as they can attack both people and especially dogs. Burley does such a wonderful job of sticking with me, not chasing wild things, and holding long stays while I photograph some of them. One of these two ladies above got so relaxed the other day while I had my camera out and Burley was laying beside me, that she decided to lay down for a nap.
Burley waiting patiently various times for me to tell him he's allowed to move again so we don't spook some wild thing.
When we get out in an open area, the wind can carve neat patterns into the snow. And Burley adores racing as fast as he can over this windpack. In the above shot, note him racing across the top corner. When we are in open areas where I can clearly see there are no wild things to disturb, he runs freely in 1/4 to 1/2 mile races up and down any interesting track like a fox trail that we cross. So every time I cover 4-5 miles on snowshoes, he's probably doing at least 10 or more. :)
For those who wander how I get photos of myself while adventuring solo like this, here's the answer. While I do have big tripods, I mostly use them around the house as I'm too lazy to carry them while out hiking or snowshoeing. When walking through the woods, most photos, including all in this post that include me, are with my little Sony RX100ii and this cool little tripod that lets me wrap it's legs around trunks, branches, brush, or just prop in the snow. (Thanks very much to one of you amazing followers who gifted it to us from our wish list!) It won't hold my big camera and that's not what I selected it for, but for this kind of things it's perfect and not that heavy to carry along all the time. And gives me so many options for places to perch the camera. Then the 10 second self timer let's me walk away from it before the shutter fires.
Burley smiling beside a mostly buried baby pine. What's your weather doing these days?