Passing the frozen beaver ponds and heading down into the Kananaskis Valley, the mountains came into view. Clouds hung on the peaks and the snow covering the scene reflected the blue of the sky above. Ravens flew around, croaking and oblivious to the cold.
Barrier Lake was frozen over. I had hoped there might still be some open water but the cold descended so fast it gobbled it all up. O’Shaughnessy Falls was still flowing but the splash ice was quickly covering it up.
The Kananaskis River itself was still flowing but slushy ice covered most of it. The valley was quiet and seemed to be hunkering low against the cold.
The sky, though, was lively.
Ice crystals hanging in the frigid air caused sundogs, those little chunks of rainbow that form parallel to the sun when it’s cold like this, and as I drove along I could see them wax and wane as the crystals gathered or scattered. The sky itself seemed to stay the same, a constant pastel blue. Away from the sun, the ice crystals were invisible.
They were, however, quite visible around Nakiska. The snow guns were firing full-bore and the mist from them rolled down into the valley. It was quite pretty, actually.
It seemed to fascinate the whitetail deer I saw by the side of the road. When they weren’t staring at me, they were staring at the mountain. The bighorn sheep standing nearby were ignoring both. Except for the ram, of course. He stared straight at me, icicles hanging from his cheeks.