What matter how the night behaved?
What matter how the north-wind raved?
Blow high, blow low, not all its snow
Could quench our hearth-fire’s ruddy glow.
—John Greenleaf Whittier, Snowbound
The snowstorm continued through Tuesday. We decided we could be snowbound, but wouldn’t really know for sure unless we actually felt the need to try to go somewhere. That certainly isn’t a pressing need these days! We seem perfectly content to stay home and watch the weather from the fireside. Schools, clinics and business closed in Haines; the road maintenance people asked everyone to stay off the streets. We threw another couple of logs in the woodstove against the 12° day, and thought about settling in.
We’ve got things to do, though. Aly has her internship at the museum, and we’re expecting a new circuit board for our wind generator in the mail, so today we’ll go to town. For that reason, and because we were anxious to use our snowshoes and to see how much snow had accumulated, we decided to get out and break the trail yesterday afternoon.
Our trail completely disappeared under deep drifts by the outhouse and in a lot of places farther up the trail. We guessed our way, orienting ourselves to landmarks that we usually see about three feet higher than we did that day.
We took turns breaking trail. The person who rotated off “point” fell to the back, and benefited from a trail packed by the two people ahead. In this way we marched out to the bay, then turned around and came home. It took us an hour to hike out, half an hour to return.
We took a few photos, then gave it up as useless. There’s just no way for us to capture the beauty of it all! Except for a few places where snow fell from the trees, the landscape was unmarked until we passed through. At one point we found a shrew trail, later we saw where a marten had run down a hill, other than that, nothing. It was just we three, trudging along happily, enjoying the day. Today’s trip out will be much easier for the work we did yesterday.
If we’d needed to, I guess we could have claimed we were snowbound. It’s not like conditions were good enough that anyone would come in and check!