On the 15th January, the sky cleared. I hiked up onto the south bluff. Despite the mild winter so far, quite a lot of the river is frozen over.
The temperature started to drop, and as the sun dipped towards the horizon, a sundog appeared. These are rainbow chips of light refracted from ice crystals. They occur on the same side of the sky as the sun, unlike rainbows, which form on the opposite side.
I had not seen the sunset for a few days and wondered if it would clear Finger Peak. It did not, but just before it disappeared altogether, it winked for about 30 seconds on the far side of that mountain.
The following day, the temperature continued to slide. The world was smothered in a grey mist-snow and there was a very nasty wind. Frostbite warnings appeared on the weather forecast.
The next morning, the thermometre registered minus 35C. (Remember, those are minus figures you are looking at.)
The wind had dropped quite a bit, and it had also lost that terrible bite that happens when the cold fronts come down.
This winter, for the first time, I have juncos at the feeder. The mild winter must have enouraged them to stay. Normally I don’t see them until March. This poor guy must have been wishing he was elsewhere.
In the afternoon, when the temperature rose to -25C, I felt able to go for a hike. (Still very icy under the thin powder of snow: I now wear the old crampons I bought 30 years ago in New Zealand.) Here is a view from the cabin.
And here is what I looked like after an hour tramping around. Even my eyelashes have ice crystals on them. (I could not wear my glasses: they kept icing up.)
Once again, the sunset was visible. The sun did not quite clear Finger Peak, but it is climbing fast now.
Today it is a couple of degrees warmer and a raft of cloud is coming from the west. It is supposed to warm up gradually after tomorrow.