Moose Country Minute – January 07 2017


Despite the fact I have been in the newspaper game since the days of the manual typewriter, and have travelled much of the world on the company’s dime, I have never heard of, or seen a hoarfrost.

Never, that is, until a few days ago.

I was standing at the community mail boxes overlooking Baptiste Lake, a strange mist enveloping it, when one of the locals also fetching his mail said, “Look at that, a hoarfrost. I haven’t seen one of them for thirty years or so.’

That’s h-o-a-r, by the way, not w-h-o-r-e.

And hoarfrost is one word, not two.

It’s a phenomenon where warm air is cool temperatures forms little icicles, suspended icicles that look from a distance to be akin to a fog or heavy mist.

Up-close they look like clear snowflakes.

Webster’s defines hoarfrost as “a greyish white crystalline deposit of frozen water vapour formed in clear still weather on vegetation, and fences et cetera.”

It doesn’t do it justice.

From high ground, it looks incredible, like looking down into a milky bowl. From lower ground, it is so thick that visibility can be measured in feet. It is almost claustrophobic.

Thankfully the old-timer at the mail box had seen a hoarfrost before, and educated me.

Otherwise I would never have known what I had just witnessed, and would never have learned.

I talked about it all day, and only found one other person who knew what a hoarfrost was, and she was from Newfoundland where such things are not quite as rare.

Hey, you’re never too old to learn something new.


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