Friday, February 27, 2015

Snowfall On Big Bluff

There was a full moon gracing the sky when we reached the Goat Trail that leads across the face of Big Bluff. The naked trees reached up and surrounded the light leaving only dappled pieces to reach the ground at our feet. We carefully snaked our way through the rocks careful to keep our centers of gravity on the uphill side of the sheer 300 feet cliff just a few feet to our right. We came to a spooned out portion of the Goat Trail in the face of the cliff and sat down on the ledges of sandstone to rest our feet and treat our eyes to the river valley in front of us and 300 feet down and 200 feet of vertical sandstone over our heads.

The emerald green waters of the Buffalo carves through the wrinkled and worn mountains to our right, slam into the base of Big Bluff below our resting feet and carve through more wrinkled and worn mountains as it runs away to our left. We are miles from the nearest road, house and probably people so the night is deathly quite. So quite we can hear the river gurgle and coo as it makes its way over the rocks below, lost from our view in the shadows of Big Bluff.

Clouds start making their way down the valley and soon they choke the light from the moon and it becomes dark. The valley in front of us becomes a dark void where all sense of anything is deprived from us. Even the sounds of a forest are gone and not even a rustle of a leaf remains. The stillness is intoxicating and we sit there drinking our fill. Then we see it.

From the dark void up above, a large white crystal snowflake appears softly tumbling end over end. We watch it as it falls into the void below and disappears. More of its brethren follow. Normally we rest here for an hour before continuing on across the face of the bluff and down to the river or if like tonight we are just stretching our legs, turn around and head up the mountain to the comfort of our cabin. However, the snow falling out of darkness and disappearing into darkness captures our eyes, our minds, our very souls and we sit there transfixed for another hour, perhaps more. Time ceases to exist.

Finally the cold begins to seep into the deep recesses of our bones and we are forced to retreat but not without longing glances over our shoulders as if departing a lover. We carefully pick our way across of the face of Big Bluff along the Goat Trail careful to keep our centers of gravity from the void just off to our left. As we exit the Goat Trail onto a saddle ridge between two mountains and the relative safety of the main trail the snow tapers off and the moon's light is once again released. We walk the three miles back up the mountain through the moonlit snow lost in our thoughts of the beauty we had just left behind. I still think of it every time it snows in the evening.

The Goat Trail across Big Bluff during warmer times.


sage said...

Sounds beautiful!

ErinFromIowa said...

Reading about the snow falling gave me goosebumps!

Ed said...

Sage - It was which is why it has stayed with me after all these years.

Erin - I almost received a sense of vertigo watching those flakes falling from nothing and disappearing into nothing. It is something I will probably never forget.

Bone said...

Wow. I can see why that stuck with you!

I love those moments when nature just stops me in my tracks.

There are a few geese who spend quite a bit of time on a pond across a field from my back yard, so they'll fly over occasionally. When they do, I stop whatever I'm doing to watch and listen.

It's a little thing, but it's amazing.