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3 Dog Nights and Marvelous Maples

In mid-October, there was 5-6" of snow forecast for Wyoming.  So much for a backpacking trip.  There had been a major blow-down of trees a month earlier, with most of the trails hidden under the fallen trees.  A 5 mile flat walk out from Big Sandy Lake in the Wind Rivers was taking people 7 hours.  Stranded climbers, backpackers, hunters and anglers were brought out by helicopter as horses were largely unable to navigate the deadfall.  As hunting season approached, many trail teams worked hard to get the trails passable for people and horses in the most popular hunting areas.  I decided to go to the Tetons for a few days to get pictures of fresh snow on the mountains instead.  The 5-6" of snow turned out to be a dusting (more in the mountains), so I stopped at one of the most cleared trailheads in the Wind Rivers on my way back.  We went for a short walk that afternoon just to see what kind of shape the trails were in.  For the short distance we went, they seemed fine.  When I awoke the next morning, it was 13 degrees F.   It had been a 3 dog night, but I only had 1.  But at least I had an extra sleeping bag to throw on top of me.  Hmmm.  How long would it take to double the temperature?  And that would still be well below freezing.  I headed towards town.  On my way, I saw these white plumes ahead.  Hunters coming in on their 4-wheelers?  No, the ground would still be frozen, so they wouldn't be kicking up dust.  Then I remembered that there were some warm springs between the town of Jackson and the Tetons.  Could there be warm springs here, too?  Yes!  The green grass and trees were covered in ice and frost as the steam wafted up from the Kendall Warm Springs.  This is the home of an endangered fish, the biggest being no more than 2" long.  I was now very glad that it had been so cold as I had driven by this place numerous times & never noticed anything that would tempt me to stop.

After a handful of days back home, I went up to Oregon to visit a friend and slipped in a quick trip to the Portland Japanese Gardens as the iconic maple tree there would be in its autumnal splendor.  In contrast with that, there were a few days of very cold weather back in Bend that made for some very interesting ice formations at the waterfalls.