The three months of December, January, and February have been the second coldest ever here--average daily temperature of 3.85, second only to 3.7 back in 1874/5. As far as the number of dates below zero, we've shattered the old record of 59 days--we're in the mid 60s now and with the forecast should hit at least 70 days. And this has happened without the record being broken for a single day--it got cold and stayed that way. The Lake has been almost frozen over.
As far as snow, we're in the vicinity of what we usually get for the full season, but with hardly any melting, it's almost all still on the ground--by far the most snow I've ever seen here. I went grocery shopping this morning. Usually when I'm waiting for the bus home, I can look across a parking lot to see if the bus is coming. Now there's a pile of snow about twice my height and as wide as a house and I can't see the parking lot at all.
It's been a wild winter out in Montana also. A friend outside Yellowstone told me it was -20 in the morning and +40 in the afternoon a couple days ago. Missoula is under a blizzard warning as I write this. In Billings, the city plowed residential neighborhoods for the first time ever. Before you ask, I have no idea how that usually works. Are residents required to plow their own streets or do they not get snow? I just looked it up--they average 57 inches annually, but warm winds usually keep it from accumulating.
I don't know if I'll ever be in Yellowstone again, but I know it will be in me for the rest of my life. I went on a book buying spree to get my fix--In the Temple of Wolves (Lamar Valley in the winter), Yellowstone Has Teeth (year round life at Lake, an area inaccessible to most people in the winter), and the new edition of Death in Yellowstone which includes the bear deaths from my time in the park. Coming in May, Grizzlies on my Mind by a former ranger. Unfortunately, I can't read them right now because I have a time sensitive pile of library books and freebies to review including Bernd Heinrich's latest, The Homing Instinct, which is due out in April.
I was supposed to start my new job this week, but although I've been drug tested a couple ways, they haven't finished investigating my criminal past, so maybe I'll start next week. It's very part time and temporary which suits me well at this point.
Whether it be my age or the life transition or the cold, this is the first time I've ever had enough winter. I'm looking forward to seeing the ground, walking without more than one layer of clothing, and warm winds. A couple days ago, I contacted the company which does sailing trips on the Lake and got details about their different trips. On the subject of water, I did start writing Autobobography: Watching the River Flow, but I don't know if I'll ever finish it--don't have much inspiration at the moment. Maybe in the spring.