Ice Fog in the Chisos 1-11-11

January 11, 2011 at 6:37 pm (Big Bend National Park, Big Bend National Park TX, National Parks, Nature, Photography, TX)


Casa Grande 
When I couldn’t see the mountains this morning from my front window, I knew something glorious was happening up there.  In Panther Junction it was in the 20s, and combined with little droplets of moisture up higher, hoarfrost would surely be the result.
Road to the Basin 
Sure enough, near the Lost Mine Trail it was at its peak – as if snow had settled on every leaf and blade.
Just beyond, as the road dipped down, the sun was shining in the Basin.  But here the wind chill froze me to the bone.  I knew this wouldn’t last, and by 10:30 – as the sun warmed the thickly coated trees – the wind began knocking off the icy shards.
White tendrils of fog crawled down little creases in the mountains, while chunks of it were blown quickly through others.
As the vista cleared, it became apparent that this ice fog only affected a fairly small segment of the Chisos, mostly alongside the road it seemed, perhaps because of the way it funnels the wind through the pass.
High up on Casa Grande, the muted golds and siennas of the fall oaks appeared to be untouched.  There had been a coating of frost in the Basin, judging from what was on car windshields, but it seemed that the ice fog with its transformative power preferred to linger only on certain slopes, at certain elevations.
Trees higher up, at base of Casa Grande, appear untouched
Pinyon pines seemed to grab onto this ice most tenaciously, probably because of the amount of surface area each needle offered it.
Sotol and grasses appeared to be sheared flat at the tips, and a close inspection revealed that the points were indeed still there, but the ice rime just built up and out and was shaved flat by the wind.
A very large orb spider web was collapsed by the ice, but strong enough for its main shape to hold up under the onslaught.
Fog and sunlight varied second to second, altering the landscape, highlighting first this century plant, then that crag, and then hiding them both.
Last year my buddy Shanna was enraptured with the hoarfrost that decorated the landscape during a similar event, and she made a video of the beauty she found.  What I remember most is the look of wonder captured in her eyes.
Indeed, who wouldn’t be bewitched by such a transformation?
The Window from Lost Mine Trail parking area


  1. Mary Lou said,

    >Great pics, Cindy! You are so gifted. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Glenda said,

    >Beaiutiful close-up shots with wonderful narrative. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Anonymous said,

    >sure wish i were there to see it, cuz!

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