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Monday, December 5, 2011

A deep freeze

"-8°F" screamed the outdoor thermometer when I woke up this morning. Can you tell that the world was in a deep freeze based on this photo? You can see K's agility teeter-totter sticking up out of the deep snow.
I decided to move slowly while getting ready for K's daily outing in the forest. Surely, if I drank my coffee slowly enough, it would warm up. After sipping slowly for a long time, I glanced at the thermometer. -9°F. That bad news prompted me to do a few chores, feeling certain that my procrastination would give the world time to warm up for us.

Nope - the next check showed -10°F. At that point, I decided that we had to go for it. I put on a ridiculous number of layers, dressed K in her snow boots, and readied my snowbike. I didn't look at the thermometer again because I was sure that the news wouldn't be good. We burst out of our clearing through the narrow passageway between snow-flocked pine trees.
We'd gotten another substantial layer of snow overnight. I couldn't tell how much new snow there was because we've been swamped in snow over the past week. However, it was so cold last night that the new snow was as light and fluffy as air. I pedaled through it easily.

K led the way, enthusiastic to explore our crystal-clear world.
We headed through the forest and up into a meadow, following a track that a friend and I work hard to keep packed down through the winter. Our hard work is paying off.... I was able to pedal the whole way.
K stood stock still, staring at the boundary between meadow and forest.
I looked in the same direction, and, at the forest edge, a doe stood watching us.
As I gazed at the doe, I imagined how hard life is for our wildlife right now. The world so frigid and most plants are buried under feet of snow. I cannot imagine how they survive. Indeed, some of them don't survive. Yesterday, I found an elk carcass, either the victim of the weather or a poacher (the head was gone which was why a poacher crossed my mind).

Indeed, a little later in our ride this morning, K's enthusiasm for our outing started to flag. I wanted to get a photo of her with the beautiful snowy mountains behind her but she needed to traipse through the deep snow to a boulder for me to take the photo. She wasn't enthusiastic, hanging back next to my bike. I didn't insist.
Just before we arrived home, I took one more photo of her. Yes, she'd had enough of the arctic conditions! I think that she was wishing that her human was a little less nutty about going out on a snowbike in the cold!
The amazing thing was that I was perfectly comfortable. I wasn't at all cold because I was so well prepared, unlike that 40°F day in October when I had a brush with hypothermia when a surprise cold front and rain engulfed me during a mountain bike ride.

It's fun challenging myself to get out into the forest even on the days like today. I'm always grateful that I did because the beauty astounds me.


  1. A headless elk does sound like something other than a natural death. Elk don't lose their heads naturally. Sorry it was so cold, but that is what makes snow so light and easy to move in and it makes the trees pretty.

    We have long wanted to make a line of down filled coats, pants, and gloves, we would market them under the name of "Colorado Bikinis".

    Mogley G. Retriever

  2. I adore that last photo of K with the snowy eyebrows! That ice blue and her chocolate fur are just sumptuous. We are getting a few snow flurries here, which I admit is a little exciting, but ten below is NOT! Still, the thought of little black puppy in the snow pictures will lure me out a lot this winter, I suspect.

    Funny you mentioned about Bunny and Kuster not being able to get far. While I was taking some pictures of Bunny, I had Kuster on the leash while hubby moved Bunny where I needed her and people just started walking up and picking him up! Most people noticed her first, and then went absolutely gaga over him. It was pretty funny!

  3. AGAIN Amazing photos!! WOW!
    The Front Range has been one of my MOM’s favorite places to hike and backpack. She has however had only hiked once in the winter near Estes Park. She is impressed with your bike riding through the white stuff.
    I’m still waiting for the snow to really arrive here. We are suppost to have “The Greatest Snow on Earth”. But I have not seen much of it yet.

  4. I got chilled just by lookin' at your most beootiful fotos! It was almost 60 degrees at my house today and it hasn't snowed since da end of October...kerAzy!

    Woofs and Licks,
    Maggie Mae

  5. Beautiful and COLD looking. Awesome pics. You make it easy to imagine we are there. You live in a very beautiful area. Poor K does look a bit frosty and ready to head for a warm home.

  6. OK, It is truly beautiful and K is as striking as ever. But I think your nuts. Seriously, you went out in -10 degrees.

    Girl, what is with that? I am cold just thinking about it.

    I gotta go put my long johns on cause your post is making me cold cold cold.

    Bert's My Vickie

  7. The beauty astounds us, too! What a sky!

  8. Brrrr! I get cold just looking! Those pictures are brilliant!


  9. Love the photos!! Even though it does look freezing I am still wishing for some of that white stuff!!

  10. That look on K's face is priceless! I'm sure she is the first to question your nuttiness!! BOL!! Ah, but the beauty you live in every day, is always worth going out, even when the thermometer is frozen!

  11. I just heard on the news that it's minus 21 degrees in Yellowstone and your post is reminding me of the cold days we had in Alaska, as we are enjoying (?) a 50 degree day in Virginia with rain. Its crazy weather, but your pictures are lovely and remind me of how good it feels to be outside in any weather!

  12. Hi Y'all!

    Whoa! Neither I nor my Human care for weather like y'all have unless it entails laying and sitting in the house in front of a warm fire. :)

    K looks like she needs sun glasses after she gets her eyes unthawed.

    Y'all come by now,
    Hawk aka BrownDog

  13. Maybe K needs a scarf? Very pretty!


  14. not to mention we live through you vicariously...and...feel like we are there along for the once again!

  15. Cold, crisp and amazing out. Your area is just beautiful! Nice fresh powder...and a trail holding up well through the conditions.
    K is sweet as ever!
    Happy riding...but do hope the temps go up a bit :)
    We have not been to the mountains since Sept. Miss them.

    Big hugs,
    Sierra Rose

  16. All the snow clinging to your bike cracks me up! I'm so amazed you are able to pedal through such deep snow! Loved the description, too. "Ridiculous amount of layers." I've felt that way for a month now, and the lowest we've experience (so far) was -4 last night!

  17. Ohhhhh, your photos are like lookin' a beautiful Christmas cards. We too had snow on the Ponderosa today. UCK...I don't enjoy chorin' in the stuff.

    God bless and have a glorious day!!! :o)

  18. ohhh the beauty in these photos is hard to imagine you capture these!
    And the coldness,,, oh KB.. we wish we were there with you,,, trudging down that bike trail,, of course you would laugh if we got burried in a heap of snow!
    Its cold here too 23 this am.. Frozen leaves and weeds on the ground are so beautiful!
    Your world is so beautiful!

  19. Cool that you and your friend work together to keep a track in the snow. Can't let a little snow stop you from being active right? My Finace has a snow bike. He did a 100 mile race in Alaska last year with it.

  20. -10 is a bit much for this southern ;).


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