The wintery mountains take on an other-worldly feel after the sun sinks out of sight. The weekend full moon accentuated the gloomy lightness of the snow, sharpening detail that would be lost in the darkness and tree cover of summer. And although the sun lingers in the sky during the summer, when it does finally disappear the mountains are much, much darker.
My sister enjoys the moonrise at Big Springs
The white surreality of the snow, and the vibrancy of the bright moon created an ideal atmosphere on Friday night. My sister and I wandered fairly aimlessly, simply going where we pleased, along the river, through un-tracked meadows and into the trees. As the winter night descended around us we plunged off a steep, deep mess of scrub oak. Under the surface of the crystal blanket of powder were branches, lying in wait to grab and trip and pull down into the white abyss. On more than one occasion each of us ended up sprawled across the slope and laughing at the absurdity of falling flat on our face.
Luckily, I was the one with the camera.
Watch your step
And then there was Saturday. Higher elevations meant deeper, more powdery fluffy snow than the night before. An ambitious spirit took Keith and his dad and me up and up, following the determined track of some unknown backcountry skier. The evidence of his reward well documented around us, as the swoopy turns through the soft powder testified.
Working our way up through the steep ravine
As we climbed higher the multiple possibilities for exploration spread out around us like fog lifting to reveal a new found world. And indeed, it is a new world. Ridge lines and ravines and stands of pines that otherwise would be nearly impossible, or at least much less enjoyable to access were discovered, there for the exploring because of the deep, soft snow that obliterates the jagged, rocky, rugged mountains underneath.
And now, I sit, a little sore and worn out after a high quality winter weekend. I find myself longing to go back to that high country, but this time with camera gear, lunch, and more daylight.