Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Mountain Monster



Hoarfrost Up High
White Fog Begins
It Grew Whiter and Whiter
The mountain monster called Hoarfrost descends upon Elmira like a ghostly spirit white as dry bones. This is not the gentle Mists of Elmira that can rise from the bogs of this valley any time of year. In fact, it's pure pleasure to feel the air cool in summer after the sun settles west behind the Blue Ridge and watch mist agitate the surface of Elmira Pond as if it were a mysterious wafting cauldron. In winter, vally fog is common.

What caught my eye with this bleached-white fog was how bright it appeared. It began like a layer cake until it touched the low-hanging cloud ceiling. Then Hoarfrost, that ice-breathing monster of higher elevations, paid a visit -- for three long days of blinding white.

Hoarfrost is the result of water vapor turned to ice crystals. Here in northern Idaho, we have much water vapor given that our weather patterns are moisture-drenched courtesy of the Pacific Ocean. We get dumped with moisture and when moisture evaporates, it rises. When the clouds and fog clears, you can see what Hoarfrost did at the tops of the mountains, leaving trees caked in crystalline white vapor.

Rarely does Hoarfrost make it down the mountains. The valley floor is too warm for his icy touch. But this white fog, blinding as it was, hid Hoarfrost's sneaky descent. And I heard monsters:



Yes, Todd calls me the Cowardly Cowgirl. I think every strange sound has monster potential. Yet, I have a curious nature. Curiosity won over cowardliness and I did venture to the barn to realize that Hoarfrost had settled above and was spitting ice onto the metal roof:



My best explanation (beyond that of a visitation by a Mountain Monster) is that the rising water vapor met with freezing conditions high in the Ponderosa pine over the barn and ice crystals rained back down on the metal roof. Strange, but with explanation. Hoarfrost was messing with us.

Linking up with Abracabadra for Wordless Wednesday. Photos & videos by Charli Mills.

14 comments:

  1. Spooky! I think you have the right answer for the Mountain Monster there Charli...I think! Loved your videos...hearing your voice and seeing your surrounds makes me want to visit even more! I remember my mum talking of hoarfrost when we lived in rural Suffolk (which is very similar to where you live, except for the mountains, so actually, not that similar, but you know what I mean!) I remember days of white fog rising above the fields just like this. Has it lifted yet?

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    1. Oh, I'm rejoicing in sunshine and patchy blue sky today! Fog lingers in the nooks and crannies of ridges and trees, but I am getting a much needed dose of light and vitamin D! Funny -- when looking up hoarfrost, it did make mention of a place in England! I often fancy I'm in England when it is so rainy here. Your visit will happen and mine in return! Or, whichever one of us crosses the pond first!

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  2. Wow! I loved how you supported your WW with videos. The excitement yet the fear...this was the epic WW post!!

    Sharing it across and such a pleasure to have you and your creativity knows no bounds :)
    xoxo

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    1. Thank you, Ruchira! Because it did feel epic, facing the "monster." Curiosity always wins me over and I realize it's never as scary as I first think. Thank you for inviting my creativity in with yours!

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  3. A fascinating description of a local weather phenomenon, weather 'monster' or not. :)

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    1. It was like that cartoon rain cloud that follows one person around, only it was tossing back shards of ice!

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  4. Weird. Could have ben alien voices picked up by the unusual atmospherics though what it reminded me of most was the chink and tinkle of milk bottles in the wee early hours when the milkman delivered to my house back in rural Hampshire under my bedroom window. Love hearing what Charli sounds like. You move into the second sense dimension and we 're not disappointed.

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    1. You know, Geoff, I think that's what caught my attention at first is that it had the sound of "something happening." I didn't jump to weather phenomenon until half the day past! Now you got the buckaroo surround sound! :-)

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  5. This is amazing, Charli. Thank you for sharing this. It makes it a little more imaginable for me. The language in your opening paragraph is beautiful. I read it a couple of times to increase my appreciation and enjoyment. I love the two videos you have included. It is great to hear your voice. It makes you seem all the closer. I identify with your reluctance to investigate being overcome by your need to know. Most times it will be something not sinister, but then - that's only most times . . . :)

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  6. I know! It seems so sinister at first. Good to have a curious mind! Thanks for appreciating it so!

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  7. Nature is so full of mysteries. Amazing post.

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    1. Glad you like the mysteries of nature, too! Thanks!

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  8. Wonderful post. Loved the videos nd the images. :)

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    1. Thank you for sharing the digital adventure!

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