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Posts tagged ‘snow’

How to Dress for Cross-Country Skiing in Yellowstone

Yesterday was my first full day home at Old Faithful. After breakfast, I checked the temperature outside—six below zero—and got my things together to head out for a quick ski. I felt it was my moral obligation to take advantage of the knee-deep, powdery snow before I tackled any of my other chores for the day. So then I faced the big decision: what to wear?

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Hoar Frost and Rime Ice: What’s the Difference?

The New Year dawned cold in the badlands of South Dakota.  Temperatures in the low single digits at sunrise on January 1 warmed to a balmy 30°F by midday.  The sunny, calm conditions were perfect for my first hike of 2013.  I hadn’t walked fifty feet from the trailhead, however, before the sun glinting off the surface of the snow captured my attention.  I commonly see delicate sparkles on the snow in the morning sun, but these were bold flashes coming from platy ice crystals the size of my thumbnail.

I knelt to see better, and exclaimed in delight.  Even with my naked eye, I could see fine growth ridges running parallel to the edges of each plate, forming beautiful facets.  My first thought was surprise that such big, perfectly hexagonal snowflakes could have persisted since the last snowfall, several days ago.  But then I realized that the ice crystals weren’t old snowflakes at all: they were a beautiful example of surface hoar. Read more

The First Snowy Day

The Badlands just disappeared. From where I sit next to my kitchen window, I can usually lean slightly to my right and have a nice view of the formations to the north. They have been fading for some time now, first veiled by fog, then whitened by falling snow. The big flakes, carried nearly horizontally by the prairie winds, are now falling thickly enough that the buttes and spires a quarter of a mile away have vanished.

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Flowers in the Snow

Snow this morning!  It was warm enough that the roads were merely wet, but the dusting of snow I woke up to at 6 AM was, two hours later, a half-inch covering on the cars and the colder spots on the ground.  By late morning, the last traces of snow had melted.  The day remained chilly and gray, though, well into the late afternoon.  It was quite a contrast with the previous few days of sunshine and temperatures in the 70s. Read more

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