Inverted Sky

The title of this blog is the imagined way I’d hike in the sky if everything were upside down, inverted — the sky being the ground.

This morning was one of those days where the light was a little flat (hazy/cloudy sun) on the fresh snow.  It can be really flat when it’s snowing, too. Sometimes when I’m snow-shoeing in flat light I can’t really see the snow.  Instead I see only all white, with no depth. I take a step into the white not knowing where my foot will stop and touch something firm.  There’s something surreal about it, like I’m not walking on the ground.  The inverted sky.


Hazy light of dawn

Hazy light of dawn, Mt. Thorodin in the back ground, the stone ruins of Caribou gold mining town in the foreground.

A lot of snow has fallen since I returned from the deserts of Utah, much more than I’ve ever seen here at this time of year.  But this is what I expect with a warming climate, the heavier snows we would normally get in spring will fall mid-winter when it’s usually just cold and dry.


Which snowdrift should I go to?

Which snowdrift should I go to?

This morning, I endeavored to stay off any trails. When I’m walking on a trail, my mind wanders and contemplates things, often unrelated to the hike.  This is good when trying to make a hefty decision about something. When I’m off-trail, I’m fully focused in the moment, path-finding, choosing where to go, especially in the forest.  It can be exhilarating and gets me out of my head.

I emerged from hiking in a fairly dark forest and into one of my favorite valleys. A lone coyote yipped and howled from the side of the valley, possibly as a simple greeting to me. It surprised me a little because coyotes usually head for lower elevations in the fall (I was above 10,000 feet).  I can’t imagine a coyote hunting for showshoe hares in such deep snow.  There were snowshoe hare tracks all over the place.

Another cool thing were these large feather-like ice crystals growing on the branches of the trees.


The largest ice crystals I've ever seen, especially upper left in the shadow and lower center.  Click for larger.

The largest ice crystals I’ve ever seen, especially upper left in the shadow and lower center. Over an inch long (2-3 cm). Click for larger.

They kind of reminded me of moth wings.

Under the Surface

I have over-committed myself on many fronts. My desire to be helpful gets the best of me. Then I become one of those people I despise, one who doesn’t deliver on promises. People tell me it’s a good thing that business has grown so much. But the downside is not being able to deliver on the promises I make.  It’s much easier to say “no” up front, than to keep saying I haven’t gotten to it yet and to give me a little more time.  This is not a new lesson.  It makes me laugh how I ignore life’s small lessons.

Over the holidays, I went to Utah to visit friends and to do some hiking and photography. The ends of the trip were all about dodging storm systems and semi-trucks. (Actually the semi-trucks were fine; it was the icy roads and idiot drivers of SUVs and pickups.)



A familiar sight travelling I-70 in the winter.

On the way to southern Utah, I stopped at the Crystal Geyser near Green River.

The Crystal Geyser is a cold water geyser with a water temperature around 62º F (17º C). But in the sub-freezing temperature of the winter air, the water steams.

The Crystal Geyser is a cold water geyser with a water temperature around 62º F (17º C). But in the sub-freezing temperature of the winter air, the water steams.

I’ve been to the Crystal Geyser before.  It’s not a natural geyser, as the geysers are in Yellowstone. This one was created accidentally when drilling for oil back in 1936.  It’s nothing but an old rusty pipe sticking out of the ground.


It wasn’t erupting when I stopped by. But this made the photography more interesting because ice had formed from the previous eruption (probably sometime during the night).  One of these days, I’d like to camp at the geyser so I can witness a proper eruption.


Travertine deposits

Travertine deposits


Ice crystals

Ice crystals

The sun in southern Utah was sparse. But again, it provided for more scenic photos.  Actually some of these photos might be from extreme north-western Arizona near the Virgin River and Beaver Dam Wash.


Near the Virgin River Gorge


Side entrance bird's nest in cholla cactus.

Side entrance bird’s nest in cholla cactus.



Joshua tree

It seemed like a pretty short trip, which included going to an art museum featuring artwork about our national parks, visiting a restaurant on a cliff overlooking St. George, and last but not least, hanging out with friends.

It’s time I get back to my commitments. Perhaps my new year’s resolution should be “Just Say No”.  Nah…