South Plateau, Montana/Idaho Border
The forested trails south of West Yellowstone, Montana offer good snowmobiling. As the service roads wind upward on this plateau bordering the park, the snow deepens. The powder changes consistency up here around 7500 feet. Everything is encapsulated, snow blasted and wind hardened. The woods I was taking for granted visibly change: every tree, every bough, even the needles stand in sharp relief against each other, the entire forest a subject that stands out. They bear their burden stoically, and I am surprised that, in this little meadow, I feel a peace more commonly found on a summer's day. I let the silence wash over me for a while. When the wind picks up and the temperatures drop after sundown, it will be different. But in the soft light of a winter afternoon, maybe this white forest is not such a harsh beauty after all.