Halo around the sun
What do you call a rainbow formed by ice? An icebow, of course. Others call the phenomenon a halo, and we'll admit it does have a mystical aura. It happens in locales where the bitter cold persists despite the shining sun, like here in the Ore Mountains of Germany. When the conditions are just right, tiny ice crystals in the air will refract light into a colorful halo around the bright sun. It's a perfect complement to the snow angels you're yearning to make in this pristine blanket of white.
Spring comes to the Diablo foothills
Spring rains carpet the rolling foothills of Northern California's Diablo Range in emerald green this time of year. Just past the sprawling suburbs of the East Bay region, the Diablo foothills become a sylvan playground for horseback riding, hiking, bicycling, and simply escaping into nature. Grasslands and oak savannahs cover the low ridges that gradually rise into the higher peaks of the range, and at the crests of the foothills, a visitor is granted panoramic views of the ridgeline to the east. Aside from the green grasses, springtime brings a profusion of wildflowers to the area, including poppies, daffodils, and lupine. It's also nesting season for the many birds of the region, like the peregrine falcons that build nests high in the vertical rock formations here known as Castle Rock.
A glittering diamond in the rough
Peering from this vantage point you may wonder, how in the world could anyone access this hut nestled in the Bavarian Alps? By hiking in, of course. There are well over 1,000 such huts dotting the Alpine landscape throughout Europe, most of them built and maintained by private social clubs devoted to climbing, hiking, and other activities in the mountains. These huts allow hikers to light out onto the extensive trail systems, sometimes for days, while carrying as little gear as possible. No need to pack cooking equipment, tents and sleeping bags when you have guaranteed shelter each night, with dinners, breakfasts, and, if you're lucky, a hot shower, included.
Do pack earplugs and a sleeping bag liner, as most of the beds are lined up next to each other in a dormitory setting. And don't try booking for this time of year. The hiking season in the Bavarian Alps typically begins in mid-May and lasts through the end of October. Weather, and COVID, permitting of course.