Winter in Yellowstone National Park envelops and batters the landscape with snow, turning it into a land of stillness. Thermal features scatter the surface of this land, leaving clouds of swirling steam behind as a reminder that the Earth, too, breathes. Standing within the forests, along the boardwalks and thermal features, are "ghost trees." These are trees that stand within proximity to a hot spring, thermal pool, or geyser and are the recipients of passing steam that freezes upon contact. This constant barrage of steam coats the trees in rime ice. This armor of hardened ice is then covered with snow from each consecutive winter storm.
A walk through these trees is hauntingly beautiful. Here they stand, prisoners of the steam from the thermal features they surround. With their icy coatings, they appear as statues, frozen and locked in place for the long and brutal winter. Each grouping of trees evokes a feeling and tells a story. They emerge every day from the steam, hoping the sun's rays will free them from their oppressive and icy chains. Some appear to stand guard as the steam passes through under their watch. Every day they face their foe of steam, waiting to coat them with another layer. The trees look exhausted from the burden of the ice and snow, and some stand trapped among the thermal features. They all stand like statues, waiting for the warmth of spring to help melt their prison of ice and to be free once again.