This happens when it is very cold and foggy. No fun to take walks because the cold creeps into your coat, but then everything looks like a fairytale landscape, or like those strange infrared photos where the sky is black and trees are white. Everything is covered by tiny ice crystals. People who walk through this frozen fog eventually seem to get grey hair as even their hair gets covered by ice crystals.
Last day of our 1-week vacation at Lake Constance, and the sky was all grey everywhere.
Everywhere? As we could see on the webcam image of the Säntis mountain …
… it was just the Lake area that was covered with high fog. We had been on top of the Säntis already so we decided to drive to Bregenz, the Austrian city on the east end of the lake, and take the cable car to the Pfänder mountain – this mountain is not as high but its top still looked out of the fog layer on this day.
View from the ground …
The Vorarlberg area of western Austria is famous for its beautiful mountains, forests, and the cheese made of the cow milk.
When the cold Pacific water meets the warm California mainland, the result is fog. When we came down from Oregon to California, we started to notice that the mornings were overcast and cold, often for several hours until the sun came through.
Our first night in California (in Crescent City at the north end of the Redwood National Forest) was accompanied by a foghorn that hooted every 10 seconds … all the night through. It was one of the few situations where I was happy about the fact that my hearing gets notably worse with my age!
Here are some minutes of the foghorn. The hiss between consists of the ocean surf and some nightly traffic, both somewhat distant from our motel room. The foghorn was maybe a mile away. There are also some bells, their ringing seemed to also come from the direction of the foghorn:[mp3j track=”http://www.veloopity.de/soundscapes/usa2009/CrescentCityFoghorn.mp3″]
While the fog was not so nice for us human tourists, it is one of the factors that enable the rich biodiversity in this area, e.g. the wonderful redwood trees love fog, and they need it especially at the times of the year when there is little or no rain.
One of the places that we visited was called “Dry Lagoon” – that triggered my curiosity. A long narrow winding road through wilderness led to it and we thought we would be alone, but the parking lot next to the beach (which was next to the dry lagoon) was full of cars, to our surprise. That many visitors, on a cold foggy day like this?
Part of the beach visitors consisted of surfers – amazing how they managed to move in the ice cold grey waves. We stayed for a while, watching them. It must be fun to be able to ride a wave like this – so much fun that it is worth waiting for a good wave, often for quite a long time.
Also, there were surprisingly many people walking along the beach, some of them with rods in their hands – they used them to pick up stones from the ground. I asked them about it and they told me that they were looking for agates – semi-precious stones that can be found on the beach especially on a rough day like this. They showed me what they had found so far – not all of the small stones looked very impressive to me but apparently they become quite beautiful when polished.
We started looking for nice stones too after this and found lots of them, most probably not being agates, but beautiful nonetheless. Good thing that we can’t take them with us on the plane! Our suitcases are more than full already.