Out for a ski date. Our destination was just a few miles from home, yet we skied in total solitude as far as human company was concerned. Mountain Meadows hums with wildlife this time of year. The lake remains iced over, save for pockets of open water near springs at the edge of the lake. And this was where hundreds of tundra swans congregated, before they were spooked into flight by the rasp of our skis on icy snow. They are over-wintering here, preferring our version of winter to their arctic breeding grounds. Bald eagles spun lazy circles overhead, while at our feet lay evidence of animals unseen. Bobcat, coyote and raccoon had all complicated the smooth snow with a jumbled web of tracks.