Pushing Winter Aside

“Well!  This is great; just great.”

“What’s the matter William?”

“Have you looked outside Beth?  The snow only got deeper last night.  I don’t think we’re going anywhere anytime soon.  Our long weekend may be ruined. The only photos I’d get out there would be Christmas card shots of snow collected on branches. “

“Nah – Go get your hiking clothes on and bring your camera bag. It’s not too deep to walk through.  The trails I wanted to show you will mostly be in the trees so would have been partially protected from the new snow.  Let’s go burn some calories before lunch.”

 – – = = ( * ) = = – –

“Beth, we’ve been at this for almost two hours. Do you know where you’re going? Back at that fork, the cleaner trail went downhill and I was thinking there might be some great melting ice shots around the creek.”

“Yep.  I’ve been up this loop many times.  You don’t really want to stand around some muddy creek. Come on. The area I want to show you is up, not down and bet it will be well worth your time and effort”

“Okay.  But only because I trust you.  I thought I knew my new bride but gotta say, I don’t recall this adventure woman side of you.”

“Ha! You knew I was raised in these mountains and lots of our hikes in High School were here, northeast of Yosemite. No matter what season we came, it was always wonderful.  You’re just lucky I agreed to a cabin for this trip.  I’ll break you into snow tenting on some other trip.”

“Ouff, it’s getting steep, but I’ll grant that not growing up in California, I’ve missed some amazing hiking.”

“Okay, we’re up to where I wanted to be.  Here, have a few sips of some hot tea and check out the view behind you.”

yosemite snow valley

“Wow! Even my expensive new wide angle lens won’t capture all this. It makes me want to fly like a hawk through the whole valley.”

“Stay here for a few minutes, catch your breath and capture what you can with a few photos. I’m going to check out an area on the left side of the meadow; I’ll just go a few feet to the left of that large granite boulder at the tree line.”

“I don’t see any trail, just a foot of white powder. What are you looking for?”

“If I find it, I want it to be a surprise. You just stay here.  I’ll go no further than five, maybe seven minutes to that boulder.  Get some shots of the snow covered forest and valley.  With late morning sun and fresh snow, almost any shot will be a keeper.”

“Right. Hurry back then.”

“And I’ll call you if I find what I’m looking for.”

“Don’t forget, it is getting close to lunch time.”

 – – = = ( * ) = = – –

“William! We’re in luck. Pack up your camera and follow my trail over here.”

“Will do! Give me a sec and I’ll be on my way. I’m  getting cold, so let’s make this quick.

“Hey Beth! This is isn’t so bad. The snow is still dry and the sun hasn’t melted it yet.  It’s all fluffy powder that makes me want my skis.  Okay, what did you find?”

sarcode 1“Follow me.  You’ll notice it immediately; just behind the boulder, where the light is beaming in between the trees.”

“Holy Moses!  Beth! What in the world are those things?”

“Pretty cool huh!”

“I’ll say.  I’ve never seen anything like them.  They could be my best shots of the trip, but what in the world are they?”

“They’re commonly called “snow flowers” but their real name is Sarcodes, and they’re not flowers. They’re more like mushrooms; a parasitical fungus that live in a symbiotic relationship by attaching  themselves to conifer tree roots.  Like mushrooms, they don’t do photosynthesis and so are happy to grow in the dark and they also don’t mind snow.  I don’t see any popping out of the snow here, but they commonly do making a striking contrast of that red stalk pushing it’s way up through the snow early each spring — almost as if they are pushing winter out of the way for us. I thought they would make a nice addition to your collection.”

“These are the most stunning symbio-para-somethings imaginable and these shots are going to own the collection for a while. All this beauty crammed into, what four to five inches each? “

“They are the reddest thing in nature this time of year, and your close ups should be breath-taking. So, should I drop by after lunch to pick you up — say in a couple of hours?”

“Beth, please back up some.  I don’t want your shadow darkening the shot. There, that one will great shot.  I wonder if we can find some actually in snow. Oh, sorry.  What were you saying?”

“Uh – never mind. Let’s see if we can find you some good sarcode snow shots.”

GW bio card 4

27 thoughts on “Pushing Winter Aside

  1. Hi Gary, so wonderful to meet you and read your story today! Having just met me, you probably don’t know I was born and raised in California (San Diego) then migrated north to Sacramento. I have been to Yosemite (mostly Tuolumne Meadows) 26 times! Your picture of the valley in the winter is stunning! Beth is a genius! But the snow flowers are incredible and your images are striking and so perfect for Rosy Red this week. I try to tell a story or share information when I post for Sunday Stills each week, so your ideas and images are a perfect fit. I’m now recently moved to Spokane (Eastern Washington). I look forward to your future posts if you are so inclined!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Terri. I so pleased that you liked my little essay. I still think of myself as a newer blogger, but I’ve been working on my story collection for almost 3 years now. If you like to laugh, you must check out my DOT story collection. I only do 10 minute reads and I have a specific model that I write to for this set. I’m also beginning to write short fiction, like the story I just shared. But to tempt you some and maybe get a good laugh for your day, here’s a sample for your reading pleasure, and yes, all my DOT stories actually happened to me. I hope you enjoy it.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Diana. Thanks for the kind feedback. I have encountered them while hiking those trails and, until I looked them up, had almost no idea what they were.
      Now, many more of us do and they are a nice way to nudge winter off the stage.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Absolutely. I recall the first time I found them hiking in the area of the story and had no clue what they were, or even, could be. Some member of our party only knew they were “Snow Flowers” and I had to look up the rest. But I never forgot that amazing red color or their alien appearance.


      1. Sorry got cut off by time. I liked both your pics and envy you living close enough to see such beauty. Puts Kentucky’s foothills to shame.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Cath. Thanks for stopping by and giving it a read. The first time I saw them, I had no idea what they were and I couldn’t decide if something so strange had to be dangerous. They are pretty rare and I’ve only seen them a few times but each time is striking how red they are in contrast to everything around them.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow! Great story AND I learned something new today. Thank you for introducing me to Sarcodes. They are beautiful! Another reminder that there is beauty all around. We just need to get out and find it!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Laurie.
      Thank you for taking the time to read it and comment. They were freaky the first time I saw one. It wasn’t line anything I’d ever seen. But a memory was made & I learned something too.


    1. The first time I saw one, it was a “what in the world. . .” kind of moment . They almost look alien, but they are just rare unless you know where to look. Thanks for stopping by Shari.


  3. Great story, Gary. I hate to say it, but living close to Yosemite, I only saw it two times – one camping trip and one day trip. The photos are stunning. I loved the sarcodes and I’d never seen them. My trips were not snowy ones. Fun story, Gary. I’m linking this story to your name in Story Chat which comes out Tuesday.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Marsha. I’ve hiked around those hills a lot and I’ve only seen them a few times. I think they are more rare than some mushrooms and don’t display their majesty for very long.

      I’m anxious to see how my story is received and look forward to a bit of time under the microscope of your readers, and chatting about how to make it better.

      I created a new story yesterday and thought I should have magically reversed the order of creating, “Sometimes a Miracle” and my newest one “Sit with Me”. It is a more traditional story but I could not see messing with your planning and work on the first story so went ahead and shared it out.


      1. Thanks Gary. Yes, I work ahead of schedule. I need to send you a copy of the finished product, so thanks for the reminder.

        We have just purchased a condo in Scottsdale which we are turning into an Air B&B, so we’ve been super busy getting it ready this week. The management company takes pictures on Wednesday, so it will be ready to rent on Friday. So I’m on a tight schedule this week.

        You are welcome to reblog Sometimes a Miracle and invite your friends to comment. our friend, Debbie did a great job of that.

        Thanks again for joining Story Chat. I’m honored that you did, and looking forward to the upcoming chatter. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

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