Monday, December 1, 2008

Where's Winter?

Yesterday I walked across the 3" of ice on Maxwell Lake to check out the route for the 2009 Beaver Boardwalk expansion. It will connect the short boardwalk at the east end of the lake with the main boardwalk complex at the west end via a wetland corridor south of the lake.

Hinton gets lots of Chinooks. The air temperatre was +10 C and the wind was strong from the west. In places water ponded on top of the ice, and ravens stunted and gyrated in the gales. There's no snow and there wasn't much surface moisture before the ground froze.

The lake surface is gritty with wind-borne dust from Brule Lake west of Hinton. Every winter the winds deposit a little more dust ground from the limestone peaks by the forces of nature. As a result, the soil around Hinton is very calcareous on the surface. Plants that like low pH soil and can take the winter chinooks tough it out in the short growing season. You have to be really dedicated to produce a garden in Hinton.

So when will winter arrive in force? The forecast says flurries over the next several days. Maybe we will have a white December after all.

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