On our last morning in Yellowstone, the cold got to me. My boots kept my feet warm; my several layers of SmartWool and down kept my body toasty. It was my fingers that were numb. I had three different pairs of ice climbing gloves with three increasingly warmer levels of protection plus I had hand warmers in my pockets. But, they didn’t seem to help. We stood on a turnout watching bison nibbling their way through the sparse undergrowth, shoveling snow away with their hooves. The scene was dreary and the cold was very visible. I am used to standing still for long periods watching nature pass in front of my lens. I have been in cold situations like this before and I will be again. But, on this last day, I lost interest in photography and could think of nothing but my numb fingers.
I left my camera and walked down the road at a brisk pace pumping my arms in an effort to get the blood circulating again. When I returned a few minutes later, Moose offered me the use of his beaver and elk skin mittens. I was almost instantly warm again. My fingers felt as if I’d wrapped them in an electric blanket. What was most amazing is that once I was warm (in just a few minutes) and removed the mittens, my fingers stayed warm. I can’t explain it how these mittens could provide such lasting protection but I will be getting my own pair of them.
This photograph reminds me of how bitterly cold I felt. I don’t know what the temperature was that morning. I just know that after standing in it for an hour and a half, my hands rebelled.