*This post is a couple weeks overdue. I took my boy scout troop to summer camp and that really set things back. As late as this post is, I think it is still worth documenting these events.
Here in Mount Shasta, the spring of 2022 was surprisingly wet, which was a stroke of good fortune considering how dry the months of January, February and March turned out to be. The wet trend continued into June and, surprisingly, into July. Of the last five weekends, all but one of them have had rain! That amount of precipitation this time of year is certainly unusual.
Things took an unexpected turn over the weekend of the 4th of July. Once again, for the fourth weekend out of five, there was rain. Once again, the temperature dropped low enough on Mount Shasta’s higher elevations that there was another layer of snow. It was a surprising turn of events but one that was welcomed by the community for a variety of reasons. At this point, any precipitation is welcome. It also kept temperatures cool during the 4th of July Run/Walk. It also lessened the possibility that out of town campers might start a fire. Lastly, and best of all to me, it brought lenticulars!
The first lenticular appeared a couple of days before Independence Day. It wasn’t the most perfectly formed specimen but it was a magnificent sight nonetheless, especially high above the lush meadows and green trees that are often missing with other lenticulars that are generally found in fall, winter and early spring.
The cloud changing its shape, metamorphizing into a variety of shapes. The stack over the mountain grew and shrank but always maintained some degree of circular shape. Eventually the clouds overtook the mountain and we had a small amount of rain.
The next day the upper reaches of the mountain had a light dusting of snow on it. It wasn’t much but it was unusual to see any new snow on Mount Shasta in July.
On the 4th the clouds continued to produce interesting formations. However, this time the storm moved in with a fair amount of rain, especially after dark. The temperatures were cool down in the valleys so I had a strong suspicion more than a dusting of snow was falling higher up.
My guess proved to be correct, as a strong layer of snow had fallen above 12,000 feet. The mountain had a small but impressive-for-the-season blanket of fresh snow.
It was a moral imperative that I capture the sunset on this new, Independence Day snow. It was a great sight, the pale sheet that covered the summit. I headed up to the old nordic center for a sunset show. The mountain glowed orange as the sun set, the waves of ridges, the folded layers and the fresh snow all highlighted by the low light.
Finally the last light reached the new snow and then quickly faded out. I figured this would be the last sunset on the new snow but it exceeded my expectations and lasted for nearly a week. When I left with my boy scout troop for camp, there was still a vestige of the new snow clinging to the summit.
Though all the new snow is gone now and the temperatures are much higher, the snow from last December is still clinging to the higher elevations. It will likely be mostly bare by the end of August but September often brings the first new snow to Mount Shasta. I certainly hope that is the case this year!