Temperature was in low teens when I took this early morning shot. The air was calm except when disturbed by an occasional passing vehicle. When I turned around and faced into the sun I realized that there where snow flurries of large ice crystals precipitating!

What was happening is the warm moist air near the water surface was rising up the face of the escarpment below. No doubt the weak sunlight on the rock face below helped heat a bit as well. As the the warmer, moisture laden air crested the bluff it “supercooled”. Ice crystals started forming in the super saturated air and drifted over the landscape sparkling and diffusing the early morning light. As the crystals grew too heavy they precipitated onto the pavement where the melted or sublimated water started a new cycle.

I have felt a mist on my face on a cool, cloudless summer day when biking along this section of the Byway. I had assumed that a gentle breeze must be picking up water droplets from water cascading over the escarpment. Now I am convinced that it was just warm moist air from below being super- cooled at the crest of the escarpment and forming a mist.

A safety note. This is a great place to photograph a beautiful panorama on the Mohawk Towpath Byway. Several tips:

  • Park well away from busy Riverview Road. I parked several hundred feet north on Knott Road and walked back. Or lift your bicycle to the other side of the guide rail.
  • Wear bright clothing so that motorists can see you.
  • Pick a light traffic time of day on a weekend.
  • Listen and look both ways before any sudden moves.
  • Bike right; walk left!