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Vapors

Last Saturday hiked up to the cloud base. Always wanted to do that. You know when the hilltops are covered in cloud, and you want to hike up into the cloud base? Except … to be exact … that was not quite what happened.

The hike in question.

Planned on a three-hour hike. Had a Secret Dinner that evening, so time was limited.

The problem with hiking up a hill is that I have a hard time stopping short of the summit (turning down a challenge, hard). Need a point somehow significant.

At the three hour point, I could see the next outward bend in the trail above was covered in mist – at the cloud base. Very cool – that made a great point, once reached, where I could turn around.

Except when reached that part of the trail was clear, and the next outward bend was in mist. Onwards … repeated twice(!) more. Finally the trail crossed a saddle, with mist streaming heavily across. This shall be my goal! Except once reached, the air was clear, and the mist was further up the trail.

The rational/deductive part of my mind applied Occam’s rule – the simplest explanation, that the cloud base had simply moved up – was most likely right.

The other side of my mind noted the noted the coincidence, and that cloud chambers (at cloud boundary conditions) are used by Physicists for extremely sensitive experiments. Was I in some strong way perturbing the cloud boundary? The fact that I had no idea how was not proof against my disturbance of that boundary.

An added oddity. Coming down the trail, I saw a white feather suspended, motionless, in the air just out of reach to my right. The slope above was to the left. The ground sloped away on my right. White feathers are a bit unusual in the local wild bits. I assumed the feather was held in some slight upward current of air. As I passed, within a few feet, I felt no current. The feather was just out of reach. (I could have jumped and grabbed the feather, but that would be a jump over empty air…)

Proof of absolutely nothing to the rational, deductive mind. To the imaginative mind … the coincidence was a bit much.