Steppe Outside – The Beauty of Winter on the Palouse

Published December 2022 in the Walla Walla Union Bulletin.

“Still and sunny are rarely simultaneous conditions that present a coveted winter morning in the Walla Walla Valley. Freezing fog often forms thorny ice spikes on the grasses and broken-down fencerows, and limits visibility to feet at times. When enshrouded in fog, the landscape feels like a scene from “north of the wall” in Game of Thrones. “White Walkers” could appear at any moment, seen first by the eerie glow of their piercing blue eyes through the frozen mist.   

Beneath the fog on a still morning, the Palouse can be deafeningly quiet. The ominous croak of a midnight-black raven can be heard for miles.  The slightest whisp of wind sends the big bunchgrasses into a cracking sway like the crinkling of a mylar balloon. And while the frosty, foggy days feel as though they have locked the landscape down for eternity, a mere hour of sun can free the Palouse from the grips of the icy chains.”