Friday, May 22, 2009

Frost in May

It is a gorgeous mid-May morning. The sun sparkles off Jenny Lake in the Grand Tetons, reflecting the clear blue sky as temperatures soar into the 70s. Walkers in t-shirts amble off along the lake side's "must-do" walk, picnics in their backpacks.

I am:

(a) Sunbathing by the lake.
(b) Sauntering along the path, idly looking for the park's population of moose.
(c) Inching along a snow laden precipice a mile along said path, trying not to sink thigh deep into the snow drift.

... you only picked (c) because no one would make that up, didn't you?

It's the strangest thing. The snow falls so thick and deep in the Grand Tetons and Yellowstone that the resulting drifts take forever to melt. You start off strolling down a sun-baked trail, regretting not packing your flip flops, turn the corner and boom! You're scrambling over thickly compacted snow that stretches for miles. It's how I imagine riding on the Knight Bus must be like. I contemplated this as I inched along a single-person track along side a near-vertical drop to the gushing waterfalls below.

Despite the ... hellishly unnatural weather ... hydro-challenged nature of the walk, the view of the falls at the end of the trail was spectacular. I also saw a beaver, three marmots, a moose, ospreys and a bald eagle teaching its chick to fly. All of which, it must be said, handled the snow rather better than me. God bless all creatures... and indeed my sturdy water-proof walking boots.

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