11 January 2007

The Moulton Journal: a cold, slow ski

Skiing was cold and slow this morning, maybe because it was about -20 deg F. Even polar wax is slow on days like this, the skis give plenty of stick & kick, and not much glide. Makes it hard (for me) to skate anything but a downhill grade. But it's always good to be outside, even though the hole in my right mitten was letting the heat out and freezing my thumb. And my feet got a little cold on the long downhill run back to the truck.

It's good to see some cold weather, maybe it'll knock the mountain pine beetles (Dendroctonus ponderosae) back a little (though it's way too late for most of our lodgepole forest).

Here's a pic of a tree with lots of beetle "pitch tubes"--they're the little light colored spots of pine sap. As the beetles bore their way into the bark, the tree tries to expell them by exuding resin. When there are a lot of beetles, however, the trees are overcome and this simple defense mechanism does not protect them.

And here's a close up of a pitch tube.

Loggers were working this morning, cold or no cold. Tough job.

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