Our current time zone: GMT +8 (We're home in Singapore!)

Friday, May 1, 2009

Which Part of Snow Do You Not Understand?

Sometime last week, two hardheaded Singaporeans were out in the Wyoming wilderness wading through ankle-deep snow, stubbornly trying to convince themselves that they could handle however much of the white stuff the heavens threw at them. You know, those fluffy cottony white specks that float so lightly down to earth.

WELL. Those two Singaporeans learnt a few lessons in the snow and now understand our fluffy new friend much better after camping in and around Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks in early spring.

LESSON 1: Snow helps your driving skills improve by leaps and bounds.

When you're experiencing a white-out while maneuvering a giant RV through a mountain pass, I guess it's pretty much something to feel good about when you emerge from it safe and sound, without damaging the vehicle, plants, animals and fellow humans in the process.

I spy with my little eye... something white!

The fact that the amount of snow-free space on your ice-encrusted windscreen is growing smaller by the minute is a cause for worry too. As the ice accumulated on the vehicle roof the night before starts to melt, huge clumps of ice lose their grip on the overhang and suddenly land with a violent PLOP! onto the windscreen, causing you to jump out of your skin and momentarily lose sight of the road. Activating the wipers simply pats the snow down on top of the fast growing mound sitting snug under the wipers, refusing to melt.

What's more, the constant stream of droplets from the melting snow starts forming icicles from the overhang almost as quickly as it melts. Very cool to watch and see how long the icicle can get before it breaks off. Also very distracting.

The term "poor vis" used to apply only to scuba diving trips.

LESSON 2: Getting snowed in is a reality.

We totally didn't expect to wake up to a wintry world at the Mammoth campground at Yellowstone National Park, which was green and dry just the night before.

Weren't there animals chowing down on these GREEN plants just last night?

So we ooohed and aahhhed for awhile...

The amazing view from our kitchen window.

...before we realised that erm, maybe we wouldn't be able to leave the campground at all that day?! The snow around us looked pretty thick.

Someone needs to get out there to shovel the driveway.

Thankfully, our RV proved to be hardy enough to barge it's way steadily through the thick blanket of snow and get us out onto the road.

LESSON 3: Snow has no time for small personal emergencies.

Not only does it make driving difficult, forcing your vehicle to mosey along like a turtle along the icy roads, it proves to be a huge hindrance to pedestrians too. Especially when you're in a rush to go to the loo.

Slippin' n slidin' his way to the loo

It can make a grown man desperate enough to cry...

The sad picture of a man desperate for release

... especially when he finds out that even the restrooms are closed for the season!

LESSON 4: Snow sticks around for a long time even in spring.

Practically everything out there catches snow... logs, for one...

Like icing sugar on those Christmas log cakes!

...and every other place where you want to put your foot....

Fed up with the snow? Well it's time to put your foot down on it!

...it even finds a good grip on the spindly needles of the evergreen pines...

Holdin' on tight!

... until some silly tourist comes along and does this...

Then snow finds it's way onto silly tourists' heads and STAYS ON.

LESSON 5: Snow separates the hardcore travellers from the tourists.

We had driven 50 miles the day before to the Mammoth campground just so that we could visit the colourful terraces of the Mammoth Hot Springs the next day. We weren't expecting white to be the only colour to see. Very adamant and determined to find some degree of the coloured terraces we came here for, we trudged through the snow storm onto the trail. After a while, we realised that we were widening the gap between us and the RV - our only source of warmth.

At the trail head. Looking back at where we came from. Gulp.

Nevertheless, we looked ahead...

The path ahead. Oh boy.

We pressed on and followed one of the trails that lead us right up to the hot spring terraces. And we're proud to report that the terraces are a muddy, steamy, gloomy shade of BROWN. Hooray.

Where are the steps of pink, rust and cream as shown in the brochure?

LESSON 6: Sneakers, socks and jeans do not equate to a winter wardrobe.

'Nuff said. We were totally not prepared to go walking around in the snow. Thus my complicated outfit comprising 2 t-shirts, 1 fleece jacket, 1 windbreaker, 3 pairs of pants, a buff and 3 pairs of socks (2 pairs on the feet, 1 pair over the hands.) Dan made it through with just a jacket and a good pair of jeans.

Dan and his lifesaving jeans from a WalMart in California.

Being a stubborn goat and refusing to buy yet another new pair of gloves cos you unwittingly omitted them from your packing list once again gets you nowhere. Actually it does - it gets you freezing your digits off in the middle of Yellowstone park. Trying to pass off ankle socks as gloves does not make you less of a stubborn goat.

Those socks look better on my feet than my hands.

It's a pretty foolish thing to do actually cos it just means you're wetting all your socks at twice the rate. And your husband's socks as well while he makes do with one pair (on his feet.)

The casualties from one day of walking in the snow.

Wearing two pairs of socks (on the feet) at once doesn't help prevent the melted snow from soaking through and turning your feet into ice blocks either.

Heating - the process of transforming ice blocks back into human feet.

LESSON 7: Snow creates unimaginably beautiful temporal world.

Not your everyday walk in the park.

Still waters.. or ice.

And you find a deep sense of respect and appreciation for the plants and animals who go about their daily lives in a bid to survive in this harsh environment, without a word of complaint.

Quiet respect

LESSON 8: No matter how you're freezing your ass off, you can still have fun in the snow!

School kids having a geography lesson in the heavy snowfall add a vibrant dash of colour to the bleak landscape.

His & Her's footprints.

Snow angel! Bit deformed. But a snow angel nevertheless.

Can't afford skywriting? How about leaving your mark with snow-writing instead!

To emphasize my point again.... snow can be really fun...ny:

I think I miss the snow already.


Christine said...

hahaha! the manguin didn't do a very good job of gliding tho :D

Yi Lin said...

He just needs more practice... so we need to visit more snowy places :P

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