Sun shines on Mount Shasta after a major storm system moved through the area. 23Jan2017
Well, that was fun. When I last posted on the conditions here in Mount Shasta, I speculated that the storm system passing through could drop up to 3 feet of snow. Instead, it turned out to be about 5 feet. The last 6 days have been a mix of great beauty and serenity coupled with a significant amount of work clearing the snow. While it was exhausting at times, the beauty of the landscape after a healthy dose of snow and the fun my kids had made it a wonderful and memorable week. This has easily been the biggest storm to hit the Mount Shasta area since March of 2011, so in many ways it was a reintroduction to real winter weather after the drought that has plagued California the last few years. Needless to say the drought is over. There may be more dry spells ahead but for the time being, Northern California is inundated.
Knowing that this was going to be a big storm, I tried to document the storm’s progress. One of the best places to do this was in my backyard, where there are a few good landmarks by which to gauge the depth of the snow.
Click to enlarge:
I also took a few shots of my driveway:
Here are a couple of shots of my trailer by the back barn, showing the snow’s progress:
Midway through storm, 2017
End of storm, 2017
Much of the snow fell at night so waking up each morning, we were able to ascertain how much work lie ahead plowing out all the white stuff. I found during the big storms of 2010 and 2011 that if I did not maintain the paths and roads on my property each day there is significant snowfall, I could lose access to areas for the duration of the winter. Since this was the first big storm for many years, there were plenty of branches waiting to be broken under the load of the heavy snow. One morning I went out to my garage to fire up my snow blower and found my path impeded by a large chunk of maple tree. I fired up the chainsaw and cut it up, moved the pieces out of the way and then proceeded to clear out the back driveway.
I love the peace and quiet that comes with a snow storm. The snow muffles sounds and what is already quiet is made quieter. The hush that falls on the forest edifies. Of course, the kids then head out and the sounds of laughter and fun fill the air as they slide, sled, dig, throw and otherwise frolic. Kids, of course, mean kid toys and that means more work. Specifically, the trampoline must be cleared of snow. While out there shoveling off the large surface, I was joined by our intrepid cat Duncan, who, though he enjoys lying by the warm fire, is the only one of our felines who is excited to head out into the forest to hunt and follow his people around.
So now the storm passes and sunshine returns to the land. One more once with the snowblower to clear out the remnants of snow in the pathways and the driveway and I think I will have everything tidy and functional. Then I am left with the beauty until it gets warm or it rains (or both). We’ll enjoy it while it lasts. Here are a few shots from around my house and the guest cabin:
In town, there is a flurry activity as snow removal remains a constant endeavor. Tractors great and small, snow blowers, ATV’s with plows and shovels all work to get life back to normal. Of course, watching my neighbor drive his snowmobile up and down the street is not normal, but then having 18 inches of snow on the street is not typical either. Nonetheless, normal is where things are headed. It is obvious there are lots of visitors in town, both to enjoy playing in the snow and also for the skiing, which should be fantastic this next week.
I have stated that HikeMtShasta is not going to become a weather blog, but this storm was too big not to post some pictures of what it has wrought. But to keep this on the point of hiking and the mountains which is, afterall, what this is supposed to be about, it is worth noting that there is now a significant snowpack in the mountains. Even if this were the end of the precipitation for the winter (doubtful) it would still be the best snowpack since 2011. This means that trails in the high country will not open up as early as they have been the last few years. It may also mean that the road up to the Old Ski Bowl and the trailheads that are located there may not open until later in July, well beyond the customary opening date of July 1st. I will update on that when it is relevant.
Thanks for checking in on how things have gone up here in Mount Shasta. I do have a couple of hiking posts in the works. I should be able to start putting them up later this week. Until then, enjoy the winter and stay blessed!