This week in smartphone photography: when it comes to winter Gray, it's not just the fog that swallowed the mountain, the lake, and the whole horizon, but the entirety of the seemingly never-ending snowfall. It covered all the animal tracks and left behind ten-foot sidewalks along with a bit of confusion.
Time change back from the so-called daylight savings can be disorienting enough. Waking up to the following early-November scene outside the window on the same morning makes you want to say, "Is it Christmas already?"
For the past few days, I've been living in a cloud!
The fog has been so thick that one could only see the closest trees out the window. Then—nothing. And hiking? Hiking felt like walking into nowhere. Eerie. With fog in front of us, and fog behind us, even the basset felt a little hesitant about it. I talked to him loudly, feeling a bit stupid, so as to avoid running into some unexpected wildlife or something more...supernatural. This was the perfect Halloween-season atmosphere, after all.
When the Gray tries to swallow the mountains whole, but they come out on top, literally, we call it an "inversion." In this particular case, the Gray couldn't get the peaks, but it did eat the entire lake.
Working seven days a week—extra hard to meet a crucial deadline—I was excited about my upcoming vacation, even if only for two days and even if only a few hours away from where I live.
The first day of this brief, but much needed break brought cool autumn weather, which wasn't unexpected for this part of the Rocky Mountains before the Equinox and official autumn. It was the second day that announced its arrival through the old and, likely, haunted hotel's windows with a wall of the gray.
It was snowing.
The latter was not a deterrent per se: there was enough clothing for the just-around-freezing air temperature to head out into the great, but slightly frostbitten outdoors. It was the blistering wind that made the snow pellets feel like rubber bullets that got one to question going on a multi-kilometer hike.
The hike won, and I'm glad it did: this was likely one of the only chances anyone (unless he or she is a park ranger, that is) gets to have the taste of the Rockies at this elevation in the "winter." After all, the roads into this area will soon be closed until late June or even July. The only reminder of the recent change was the random pops of color, whether the still-verdant leaves peeking out from beneath all those inches of snow or the brightly colored rock enhanced by excessive moisture.
The best part (other than not running into any bears)? Hot coffee back at the hotel!
And a nap.
After all, nine kilometers and 200 meters of elevation gain let themselves be known when one's body is working overtime.
Being a badass, part 2: hiking to the top (~6.5 km walk, ~750 m elevation).
This is a reasonable hike for those who get regular exercise...except for that torrential-downpour part. It felt like one anyway. This is why you see me carrying a purse ("A purse?! What kind of an outdoorsman...errr..woman are you?"): my bulky, serious-business Red Riding Hood raincoat did not fit into our backpack.
I'm certainly glad I brought it along: the all-consuming Gray fog you see is just a taste of things to come. I'm equally glad I opted against carrying my photographic equipment: there's only so much waterproofing that a supposedly waterproof camera can handle. Having lost my previous smartphone to precisely this kind of conditions last year, I've also stopped snapping once the massive rainstorm hit. You'll just have to trust me on that one.
Venus leaves retrograde, and the new Moon is here. We can all breathe easily, I hope.
As seems to always be the case here in the mountains, the Moon arrives into the thickest kind of Gray (only to be periodically broken through by the resilient Sun).
As for me, I'm about to go out and celebrate the New Lunar Year, which has arrived, too.