CSI: Yellowstone

I spend so much time thinking about the complex scientific properties of snow, marveling at its viscoelasticity and ability to conduct and insulate, pausing occasionally to enjoy a perfect (or even less-than-perfect) ski run. What I don’t take enough time to appreciate is the way snow can tell a story.

It’s just after 2:00 pm on New Year’s Day, and Bix and I are cross-country skiing into a thicket of trees in the Gneiss Creek drainage, about two miles from the Yellowstone National Park boundary. Nighttime temperatures have been dipping below -20oF, but now, just after solar noon, the sun bounces off untouched snow to warm our faces, still tender with windburn from yesterday’s outing.

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