Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Northwest Winter: Hoar Frost in the Shade, Carkeek Park

Do you ever feel like a binge photographer when confronted with something beautiful? 

As with the zillions of photos I've taken of Mount Rainier and other Cascade peaks, sunsets over the Olympic Mountains, mushrooms, ferns, spring flowers, autumn leaves, Puget Sound, the Oregon Coast, San Juan Islands, and more, the other day I was transfixed by the beauty of hoar frost in the winter shade of Seattle's Carkeek Park.  Like a junkie, I took shots and shots of this phenomena and had a hard time stopping. In the chill of the forest shade, the thick frost clustered on just about everything not moving:  blades of grass, picnic tables, fallen leaves, shrubs, and more.

Simply beautiful.  However, I imagine the complexity of the tiny crystals that form are anything but simple.

As happens most Northwest winters, we're in the grip of a week+ high-pressure stretch:  a temperature inversion of cold air and sunshine trapped in the lower elevations and much warmer air at higher elevations in the mountains. Yesterday it was a balmy 55 degrees at Paradise on Mount Rainier at over 5,000 feet, while we shivered in the high 20s and 30s in the lowlands!

So any moisture on the ground doesn't melt in the shade during the short mid-winter days, and the exquisite, delicate crystals of the hoar frost remain and get thicker by the day. The result:  a treasure hunt and visual feast.

I hope you enjoy these photos I just wanted to share. (FYI, these shots were all taken off my Nokia Windows phone, not my Canon.)  Have you noticed some beautiful frost around too?

Sword fern
Frost accumulating on the top of a picnic table in the Carkeek gully

Frosty remnants of a mud puddle

Frozen puddle over grass
Leaf on gravel


Ed said...

I have also noticed the frost in the mornings and how amazing it looks...I think I need to make a trip back to Carkeek here shortly to hike around is a great spot surrounded by city life!

Anne said...

Very nicely done. In the winter, instead of "stopping to smell the roses," we should all "stop to inspect the frost."

Joe Leeak said...

Cool! It kind of looks like everything's wearing a 3-day beard. :)

Anonymous said...

Beautiful! Thanks for sharing, Jill.