Cervidae Peak


We bring in the New Year on Cervidae, in full conditions and a Blue Moon.

Note: click images to see a larger version in a new window

2009 has been a great year and I wanted to mark it as such. When I noticed that the almanac showed the 31st was a full moon, and a Blue Moon at that, I sent out the invite.

Unfortunately, NOAA wasn't reading the almanac and unleashed a pretty good snow storm this evening. So only Sean and Steve showed up.

In the heavy snowstorm, we drove slowly out to the trailhead. Then we were off at a few minutes after 7pm, snowshoeing right from the car.

This trip could have been titled "Fun w/Camera." The picture on the right was shot by holding the camera up over my head, pointing backwards. Got someone in the frame, but the tilt was wrong.


There was enough light to see the terrain without turning on your headlamp, but not enough to see the tracks of the fellers ahead. Can you tell which dot is a headlamp among the snowflakes?

Seeing the tracks was worthwhile. Although the snow on most of the lower trail was only a few inches deep, there were drifts. And higher up, there were both drifts and deeper snow.

At one point, Sean was breaking trail right ahead of me and plunged knee-deep, even though he was on snowshoes. In the dark and snow I think he had stepped into an old prospecting hole.


This time I got the flash turned off. This is my artistic impression of Steve on a sidehill.

Squaw Butte

This was a "full conditions" outing. It was blowing 10-15 mph and snowing hard for most of the three hours we were out. We paused to regroup frequently and check everyone's comfort levels.

But I think the flash-lit snowflakes have a sort of festive look, not unlike photos I've seen of Mardis Gras? Except Sean wasn't collecting any beads this evening.

Squaw Butte

In just a bit less than two hours we were on the summit. Steve was very proud of the new headlamp he got for Christmas. We weren't sure what was meant by the red-colored light.

I think this was my 14th tiime up Cervidae this year. But I never get tired of it. Having a wild peak this close to home is special. And having good friends makes it more so.

On the summit, the wind calmed for a few minutes, but we still couldn't hang out much. We were on a schedule with New Year's Eve to mark. Time to head down.


The soft snow made the descent easier than normal. I felt like I had a pillow strapped on each foot. And as we got lower, the storm eased somewhat so we could finally see landmarks and the surrounding hills. At one point, we saw a dark mass moving about 100 yards below us. It was a herd of about 50 elk streaming across our path on the ridge.

We made it back to the car a little after 10, fired up the rigs, and drove carefully home to our families.

Happy New Years everybody!



Mr. Natural Home | 2009 | Back to top of page | Questions :: e-mail to splattski