There was a movie with Antonio Banderas called The 13th Warrior. In the movie, Antonio is an exiled Arab warrior who, through twists of fate, and the imagination of the writer, finds himself in the land of the Vikings fighting a mythical beast that slinks through the hills out of the fog. It looked similar here in NW Montana this week.
Not Bandaris or the mythical beast but the cold fog that weaved its way through the valleys until it had filled every crevice.
I had never experienced Freezing Fog until I moved here. I had seen fog that froze but this is different. With freezing fog, the air temperature is well below freezing so the moisture in the fog doesn’t settle as wet drops but as ice. My past experience with fog was damp and wet. Here it is damp and frozen.
The fog blanket can be a thin layer or rise many feet above the valley and into the hills. It can be stationary or it can spread silently, clinging to branches and tree trunks as it pulls itself along.
Our house is about 600 feet above the valley floor. That small change in elevation can make the difference between being swallowed by fog or sitting in sunshine above it.
The fog usually doesn’t last but this year it landed and stayed for the past week forming a Hoar Frost on all the surfaces it touches. The cold and damp air, with little to no wind, caresses trees, tall grass and even fence posts leaving ice not as a film but as crystals. The crystals grow as more moisture touches each limb, blade and surface until everything looks like it has been coated with powdered sugar. Tall larch and pine covered with powdered sugar and enveloped by a shroud of fog. A forest scene that could easily be on another planet.
Out of the dismal cloak of fog, a wonderland of crystal trees and fields emerge. Pretty cool