Yes, that’s right we’ve reached that lovely level of snow fall that separates the mice from the men; or at least the city dwellers from the mountain folk. Over a foot and a half of snow on the ground up here has made for some fun winter conditions. Impressively enough, though the power has gone out several times already, its return has been swift, kudos go out to our utility crews working this area, they represent the ultimate in outdoorsmenship (is that even a word?)
We are only at 1000 feet in elevation, nestled on a plateau that is on the side of a mountain and part of a larger valley that traverses inwards, gaining altitude, while closing together. A friend of ours lives 14 miles further up the road in a very old log cabin at the 2000 foot level. However, as the old-timers know, snow levels have to be adjusted in the weather reports. If they mention the snow level is at the 3000 foot mark, then our fellow log cabin friend is going to get it. On Christmas Day we went up to see him and I took pictures of the road along the way. The plows had already cleared it, but the snow was slated to start again later in the day; thus our visit would be of relatively short duration. Sure enough, when we got there it started to snow at a steady pace and we beat a hasty retreat before the short day ceased entirely.
Over the course of the next couple of days, the snow has continued unabated except for short little breaks from the heavy stuff. With night time lows remaining in the upper 30’s there is some melting, but luckily no freezing. That’s about to change over the weekend. We’ve got a scary combination of rain during the day with nighttime temps in the upper 20’s and THAT is a concoction for freezing. So icy roads are ahead of us. Luckily, we have the refrigerator stocked and lots of hot chocolate to make. As long as we have power then let the film festival commence!
Of course, we regress a bit to our childhood sense of wonder and go exploring through the woods out back. With the snow on the ground there is an entirely different scene to experience. Our dogs romp their way over deadfall and through the undergrowth chasing out birds and critters with much glee. We tread cautiously through the somewhat trails looking overhead at the trees that are precariously bent, laden with the dense weight of wet snow. We pay special attention to any dead or decaying trees overhead as we can hear the snapping of such branches as they break and fall to the ground in the not-so-distance. You can tell this is "secondary growth" forest. These trees have overly stretched themselves towards the sunlight being so closely crowded together after a previous harvest of timber in the distant past. Locals call these "Pecker Poles", at first I thought this was a crude reference of sorts, but then discovered that woodpeckers can be found on these trees since they are the ones most likely to snap and become standing deadfall homes for bugs. Over time, these trees naturally thin out from winds and snow and the remaining ones grow thicker as the secondary growth forest matures. Ah, the fun of living in the forested mountains!