Leaving Footprints Redux

river path and sunshine

Are you bored of the blue Southern Colorado skies yet? We aren’t – actually we had a couple of days of snow and grey skies and cold, so it was a relief to wake to a sparkly sunny morning this morning even if it was 8 degrees outside. And for viewers in the UK thinking, ‘what is she talking about, 8 degrees isn’t too bad for December’ – this is Fahrenheit so we’re talking -13 in real money. Combine clear skies, desert air and enough altitude and it gets F cold at night around here

Fortunately it warms up eventually once the sun gets going and we had a lunch date at Papa José’s so we set off on the bikes in a desperate attempt to burn off enough calories to justify a Mexican meal. This might have worked had we not stopped off at the bakery afterwards (we were popping in for a loaf of bread but somehow came out laden with cookies the size of side plates plus a bonus free scone) so we took the long route home.

Coming back, on the shaded side of the river path, we noticed a curious phenomenon. I don’t know if it’s the dry air or the loose snow or what, but in what you might call a reverse Wenceslas, people’s footprints linger long after the rest of the snow has gone…

snow footprints

More sunshine and a bit more warmth is on its way. Just shout if you’d like me to stop posting pictures …

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3 Responses to Leaving Footprints Redux

  1. bikinginla says:

    Footsteps compact the snow, sometimes turning it to ice. Either way, the loose snow around them melt faster, leaving the footprints behind.

    Take it from a Northern Colorado native.

  2. disgruntled says:

    I think there’s possibly also a bit of sublimation going on (with the uncompacted snow) http://water.usgs.gov/edu/watercyclesublimation.html

  3. Andy in Germany says:

    When I worked clearing snow for the local Kindergarten I developed a bit of a tic about compacted footprints: they are a pain to clear once they’re there and stay for days, so everyone knows you were late in clearing the footpath.
    I doubt anyone else cared or even noticed, of course.

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