23 Feb 2015
Terry H. shared this story:
We lived in Anchorage when I was a 10 year-old boy while my dad was stationed at Elmendorf AFB. That winter Anchorage got 132 inches of snow. People were digging tunnels from their front door to the street.
After one snowstorm when the roads were cleared, my family took a drive down toward Seward, where the snow was said to be even higher than at home. And it was! Near Seward, we were driving through a snow canyon– shaped from large snow blowers throwing snow up and over the side of the road—with sheer vertical walls of snow 15 feet high on both sides of the road and only sky above us. Occasionally the plows had cut a turnout with space for a car to park off the road; my dad pulled off into such a parking area. We had to cut steps in the cliff face in order to climb to the top where everything was white. The surface of the snow had thawed and refrozen, so we could walk on the crust. Dad handed our dog, Louie, up to me.
At the top of our snow-elevated landscape, we saw mountains in the distance and trees around us poking up as white cones peeking evergreen. We play around for a while: running and sliding on the icy crust, throwing snow, and marveling at the completely white world. When we were ready to go back down to the car, someone noticed that Louie was nowhere to be seen. So we all wandered around calling, “Louie, Louie! Here, Louie, come here boy!”
No dog. Then we heard a faint sound of barking, seeming far away. Approaching the sound, we came upon a large spruce, which looked from a distance like a snow-covered tree standing up out of solid snowy ground. Actually though, the area right around the trunk was almost clear. Under the tree was a cone-shaped depression, and there at the bottom, trying to climb up the slippery steep slope, was Louie. I slid down and handed him up, then scrambled up myself.
I’ve never forgotten the shocking difference between what those trees looked like when we first saw them, and the nest-like spaces they revealed when viewed up close: such a surprise! I can still imagine Louie running to the tree to mark it in his way, then is doggy surprise at sliding into the 6-foot deep depression. Louie and I shared the surprising discovery of trees in deep snow that day.