There are many different kinds of snow, as the Inuit know only too well.
You are probably familiar with how easy it is to track animals when there is a thick layer of fresh snow. I have written about it in my books and in the email newsletter in winters past.
But there is a type of snow that tells a different story.
When the air is especially cold, the snow tends to be smaller and drier. And this type of snow doesn’t settle in one place. It moves with the wind. It’s the type of snow that’s rubbish for snowball fights or building snowmen. But it is good for some things.
The wind blows dry snow across the landscape and it comes to a halt when it falls into dips or depressions. This paints white lines in the landscape, revealing many things, including animal trails that are harder to see in normal times.
Have a look at the pictures above and below, they were taken in my local woods this week.
The vehicle’s track shines out and is a dramatic example, even though no vehicle has used that route for several years.
But as you look down, you’ll notice how, once your eye is trained to look for this ‘white paint’, you can pick up trails that are much subtler than vehicles. In this case, deer and badger trails shine out from the undergrowth.
Many of these would not show up at all clearly unless you looked for them carefully. In the snow they’re not so shy.