But it did look pretty nifty. Once I blinked away the tears and tugged my toque down I could appreciate the beauty of it all. The blowing snow sent silvery streaks across the sun and undulating white serpents side-slipped their way across the surface of the slough. A magpie flew by. Sideways.
I lasted maybe ten minutes. Despite the sun and the relatively warm temperature, the wind-chill factor made it downright unpleasant walking around on the ice. I climbed back into the truck to warm up.
I’d been poking around out this way for a couple of hours, heading first to Rockyford and then over to Redland before heading top into the hills themselves. I thought maybe I might see some wildlife on the way, some deer maybe or a peasant or two, but I saw next to nothing.
There were a few rough-legged hawks out hunting but none were close enough for a picture. And I spied a white bump far out in a field that might have been a snowy owl but really - beyond the ubiquitous magpies - that was it.
Still, though, when you’re out in the Serviceberry Creek and Rosebud River country, it’s pleasant enough just to drive along and take in the scenery.
There’s not much snow out there, far less than there is closer to the city. The coulees are shades of brown and copper and the copses of aspens stand out with their bright white trunks.
In the summer when their groves are all covered in green leaves they’re a uniform mass but once the leaves are gone they’re more like a collection of individual trees. Although nearly devoid of bird life now, it’s easy to see how populated they must be in the warmer months. Stopping by one little stand, I counted six bird nests in a span of trees maybe 30 feet long.
The wind was shaking the truck as I made the climb to the summit of the Wintering Hills. I’d left the slough behind and was criss-crossing back and forth hoping to find and kind of animal life. The north-facing slopes where the aspen groves were offered some shelter from the cold wind and I’d hoped that maybe a mulie or even a moose might make an appearance. No luck there. The grassy slopes that lead off toward the Red Deer River valley at East Coulee and Dorothy often host antelope but there were none in sight. I turned back south again.