Saturday, October 19, 2019

Winter Storm Aubrey - Fall's First Snow

Elk Meadow and Bergen Peak

This year’s first snow was right on schedule as the Front Range Foothills were laid on the fringe of a freak winter storm named Aubrey. It was remarkable because of the precipitous temperature plunge that accompanied the autumnal weather event.

The arctic-cold air bottomed out at a breathtaking seven degrees Fahrenheit while heavy snow fell hard from a steel-gray sky. The flakes were more like icy pellets that piled up on the ground in drifts of gritty powder.

Fortunately, the wind was not a factor as a battle against the north breeze was something that never developed. Blurred edges were an eerie effect produced by the diffused light, exaggerating the atmospheric perspective so prevalent from the apex of a rugged ridgeline.

On the morning after, clear skies unveiled a vision of the countryside in its finest form. Most of the accumulation in the meadow had melted into the warm earth but the big peaks were still plastered with a frosty glaze.

The fleeting mirage was a rare phenomenon that only occurs in late fall when the orange fields, yellow trees, blue foothills and white summits combine to create a sublime kaleidoscope of fading color.

Within a few weeks, the woodland will be abandoned by most visitors but I enjoy spending time in the empty forest during the dark season. Winter in the deserted wilderness is a sanctuary for absorbing nature’s finest details while tramping in a solemn environment of peace and solitude.

First snow was on schedule

A remarkable temperature plunge

The flakes were like pellets

Arctic, cold air

Heavy snowfall

Blurred edges and diffused light

Drifts of powder

Clear skies unveiled a vision

Most of the snow in the meadow had melted

The big peaks had a frosty glaze

A fleeting mirage

A kaleidoscope of color

The wilderness is a sanctuary

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