Happy Autumnal Equinox

By the time you see this, the sun has gone south of the equator, and there is no longer any excuse for heat waves or drenching humidity.

But hereabouts, we’ll get them anyway.

Which is why the last few days it’s been a pleasure to look at Wyoming webcams.

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Old Faithful in Yellowstone National Park

Okay, so Yellowstone having snow isn’t that impressive; it’s the snowiest place in Wyoming after all.

There’s a phenomenon called a moisture channel that extends from the point where the Sierra Nevada and Cascade mountain chains meet, across northwestern Nevada and southeastern Oregon to the Snake River Plain, and right to the mountains in and around Yellowstone. Much of the water that feeds three of America’s great river systems — the Columbia, Colorado, and Missouri — flows when Yellowstone’s abundant snowfalls melt in the spring and summer.

Looking down into Jackson Hole from Teton Pass

A surprising percentage of the people who work in Jackson Hole don’t live there. Many live on the other side of the Tetons in Idaho where, presumably, it’s cheaper to live — and commute across the state line and the mountain range to their jobs. The above is the view those commuters saw this morning as they crossed the summit.

Not that snow in the Tetons is any more unusual, perhaps, than in Yellowstone.

West side of Dubois, in the upper Wind River valley

Even the upper Wind River valley is a bit close to Yellowstone for this to be all that unusual, I suppose, but Dubois — at only 6,900 feet above sea level — is not really in the mountains.

To be fair, this snow is unlikely to still be there by local noon, unless temperatures drop further and a lot of additional moisture makes it into the valley.

Red Canyon, south of Lander

Normally this spot is noteworthy for its scenic view, but this morning it was socked in by snowfall. Red Canyon is on the east side of the other end of the Wind River Mountains from Dubois’ valley location; its elevation may be comparable or not much lower. It’s definitely not part of the Yellowstone environs.

When we have weather like this on the home acres, it’s January (February at the latest) and sensible people hunker down at home with the spoils of the panic buying they indulged in when the S-word appeared in the forecast.

Those trans-Teton commuters mentioned above? Just another high-country morning rush hour for them.

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