When snows blanket the hills, we can still hike. In fact, it is a good time to explore new areas, especially rarely-visited hills, grasslands, and open-forested slopes. With low winter light and frequent cloud cover, slow progress in the snow, and limited access to viewpoints, we can reset our objectives. An interesting choice is to hunt out dead standing trees (snags). The spiral twisting trunks of pines, the “witchy” branches of firs, and misshapen spines of broken trees can be found on the slopes, especially in drier, open spots.
We look for trees on slopes as silhouettes to the open skies behind.
The best snags are on the tops of hills or on the edges of steep slopes.
A snag deep in the forest is harder to capture in a photo and probably will be less interesting. Single snags on open slopes make the best subjects, but a windswept tree on top of the hill welcomes us for a brief winter visit too.