Saturday, February 8, 2020

Winter Wonders - Snowshoeing, Wildlife, Ice, and Snow


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 over
350 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? 


35 comments:

  1. Very little snow here and I've yet to spot a moose this winter. To be fair, I do live in the city. Not as many urban moose as there used to be.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well I hope you get a little winter to enjoy!

      Delete
  2. We've had our 2nd snowfall this winter. Not nearly what you have had. I love your pictures, and it surely is beautiful scenery. Love the wildlife also. Looks like you and Burley are enjoying the weather and getting out. As always be safe and have a blessed day Ariel!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We do love being outside in the winter! You as well.

      Delete
  3. Glad you're enjoying your snowfall. In Columbus we've had about 2 inches of the fluff stuff....fine with me....not a winter person

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm glad not everyone likes it so there are some of you who want to live in all the hot parts of the world. :)

      Delete
  4. I enjoyed seeing these beautiful pictures. Doris

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Glad to hear that! By the way, my mother mentioned that she chatted with you not too long ago. I hope you all are having a great winter!

      Delete
  5. Your critter pics are so sharp. Beautiful. Thanks for sharing.

    ReplyDelete
  6. You are looking happy and rested, Ariel. And, of course, so is Burley Man. . . Thanks for the excellent photos which evoke many fond memories in a Wyomingian's brain-bank. All the best to you two!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Hey Ariel, Nice to see you again! Awesome pics ... bet Burley‘s the healthiest pup in those parts, not to forget you of course. We’re havin stormy, windy days over here in Europe. Not much snow in the flatlands, but that may change next week. BTW, Do you have any plans on making more videos? Any news on the youtube situation? I‘m sure all of your followers are missin you 😥 we love your Posts and Photography, but sure wish we could also hear your voice once in a while. Maybe with some sort of podcast. Anyway, hope you and Burley many more fun escapades this Winter!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well I hope you get at least a little pretty white stuff! I don't know at the moment. The FTC has had no updates that I am aware of. And thank you, we are enjoying the winter!

      Delete
  8. I miss your videos, too, Ariel! This blog post is beautiful, though! Love how you love your life...your home...your puppy boy!

    ReplyDelete
  9. Nest Lady, LOVE all of your cold, fresh snow pictures!! Is the owl you have pictured, a great horned owl? Thanks for the new word, "sublimation," have seen the process in my freezer when ice cubes reduce - get smaller but didn't know the term. Please post some more fox pictures. . . Keep warm!
    P.H. South Carolina

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yep! That is a Great Horned. I've be able to observe him or her a few times in the same generally area so maybe we'll see each other again. And yeah that's exactly what happens to ice that sits in a freezer. :)

      Delete
  10. How beautiful, these pictures make my heart sing! You and Burley both look lovely. And you are a truly gifted photographer!

    ReplyDelete
  11. Beautiful times Ariel !!
    Peace
    -22 °C here :)
    Pats to Burley
    Happytrails

    ReplyDelete
  12. Replies
    1. Glad I can share some glimpses of nature!

      Delete
  13. I have recently discovered I am a Pluviophile: a lover of rain; someone who finds joy and peace of mind during rainy days. Isn't it great I'm in Seattle! This is my dormant time. Lots of books,naps and watching clouds out my window. In terms of wild life, I have Stellars Jays, Rose Breasted Towees, and my favorite little busy body, the wren. Today I discovered a rabbit in my yard. I throw peanuts to the birds, as well as nuts/seeds. I think I am now also feeding a rabbit. Miss you!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Glad you like it! I much prefer snow myself and find rain a little depressing. Sounds like you live in the perfect spot with lots of fun neighbors too!

      Delete
  14. Hi, Ariel, I didn't realize that you had started blogging again...looks like there was some drama with Youtube that stopped you videoing, guess I'll have to go back and figure out what that was. I do prefer the blogs myself if I had to choose so I'm a happy camper. Have you recently done an update on your other property? Have you been there in the past year to develop it at all? I was hoping to hear sometime that you'd covered a big garden area with chips or something to break down into beautiful soil for a few years for when you eventually get there. Or maybe there already is a spot that was done before you got it. I just love your dog so much. Have you ever heard of Scotch Collies? They are a multi-talented breed that nearly died out as farmers started specializing and wanted specialized dogs. Some of them look quite a bit like English Shepherds. I do love the English Shepherd look best of all. Can never get too much of Burley! :) I do miss Grizzly though and never figured out what happened there. I think you didn't say much about that, or if you did I couldn't find it. All the best and thank you for sharing your beautiful winters. <3

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Just the federal government interfering in people's private business. I'll be doing an update on that eventually. Yeah Scotch Collies are close relatives of English Shepherds. Grizzly's story is here - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2JsUFOXCprY Glad I can share a little of my snow!

      Delete