Mar 11

Commuting, Flagstaff Style

Category: Arizona

I’ve really been enjoying my “commute” lately and I thought I’d share.

Mountain weather is so variable.  This is a view of my neighborhood from the the observatory.  One minute it can look like this:

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… and in less than an hour, it’ll look like this:

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There is a good deal of snow on the ground – about 2.5-3 feet, and in the woods where there is shade and drifting, often much more.  Once the snow has seasoned a little bit, it’s just right for snow shoeing.  I tried to do it when it was fresh and powdery and that was a bad idea!  That episode also taught me the value of a good pair of gaiters, a clothing item I thought I’d never need.

Now there’s a good semi-solid base with a few inches of powder on the top.  The woods look brand-new; hardly anyone has been walking around there, even in this city of outdoors people.Walking through there feels like exploring virgin territory.  Because the deep snow covers all of the rocks and logs, it’s a lot easier to walk around now than it is in the summer.

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I saw a story told in fresh snow: in the obscurity of early dawn, a hare crossed a forest road, visible now only as a break in the trees – and a fox jumped out from behind a stump and tried to kill it.  But the hare shot off at a sharp angle down a steep mountainside, and lived to see another day.  The tracks were as clear as a map.  I could see just where the hare knew it was being chased, and just where the fox gave up.

The hillside is steep, but it’s so pretty I don’t have to make myself want to do it. Here’s my office window view:

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The evening has come – it’s snowing lightly, and the sun is levering under the clouds just enough to shine dramatically on the peaks.  Time to commute home

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