The year of our Lord 2022 has come and gone. The year was another good one at the foot of Mount Shasta, though not without its trials and challenges. Drought, fire, mud flows and a host of other things all seasoned life by the mountain. Between working out on Truchas Ridge and the opening of our animal hospital in Yreka, I did not get out nearly as much as I normally do, but life has its seasons and hopefully next year will have more time spent high in the mountain, both around Mount Shasta and further afield. Thus, through hardships and blessings, the year ends with hope for the year to come. On to the retrospective!
The first month of 2022 started with a lot of snow, a storm that carried over from December. After nearly a week of precipitation, the storms came to an end, the sun came out and all of a sudden, it felt like spring! Still, Mount Shasta was its usual, spectacular self, producing lenticular clouds and other awesome spectacles to marvel at. Surely, after a few weeks of dry, warm weather, the rain and snow would return…
The shortest month did not provide the answer to the question as to whether the weather would return. The month was warm and dry and only a light dusting of snow at the end of the month saved it from being a total loss in terms of winter weather. The snow that fell in December began to melt off in earnest. The Shasta Valley continued to be the place to go to get outside and explore. The high desert terrain holds rocky mysteries and spectacular vistas bit and small. All in all, it felt like time to start getting back outside. The Hike Mt Shasta kids certainly thought so and decided a campfire dinner was in order!
March continued the dry conditions until the latter half of the month. A large storm move through the area and finally left some snow. While the storm raged around around Mount Shasta, the Valley offered great views of the mountain, unencumbered by much of the storm. Lenticulars heralded the coming weather. We made multiple trips out to the ridge, and took in some awesome sunsets. It was a good month, but the lack of precipitation
April brought more snow than had fallen since the first days of January. The snow even came down at lower elevations, blanketing the Trinity Divide, the Castle Crags and even in town. It may have been spring but it felt more like winter than nearly any point in months. However, by the end of the month, higher elevation places like Orr Lake were palatable and it was time to head out and start camping again.
Once again, the month was a wet one, with more precipitation falling in a spring month than had fallen in the winter. Nonetheless, it felt like spring. The air was warm, the grass green and the sunshine in between storms felt bright and optimistic. It was a great month around the mountain.
The rainy conditions continued into June. If I recall, 4 out of 5 weekends all had rain. In spite of this, the high country had little snowpack from the winter and so it was wide open to get out and hit the trails. This is a great time of year to hike or backpacking along the Pacific Crest Trail. The section from Gumboot to Parks Creek is particularly awesome, with lakes, rugged terrain and fantastic views of Mount Shasta.
Surprisingly, the wet conditions continued into July, with a sizable storm hitting over Independence Day weekend. Lenticulars and lightning were aboundant and made the first days of the month pretty exciting. However, by the time the storm passed and the new snow on the mountain had faded away, Mount Shasta was left bare, a reminder of how little snow fell during the winter.
Another powerful storm left a small bit of snow around the top of Mount Shasta, continuing the streak of new snow falling on the mountain. Other than that, the month was hot and dry. That didn’t stop the sunsets from being colorful, beautiful and worth getting out and enjoying.
September was a monster. It wasn’t too deep into the month when the Mill and Mountain Fires erupted, leaving destruction in their wakes. The efforts to contain the fires was swift and furious and effective but not before life and property were lost. The Mountain Fire also flared back to life after a week of dormancy, adding to the conflagration’s drama. Thankfully, a merciful rain and snow fell not too long afterward, squelching the flames. The storm was large and Mount Shasta looked like its normal, midwinter self, even though the calendar still said it was summer. Most of the snow was gone in a week but the upper flanks of Mount Shasta had vestigial patches that lingered until more snow arrived.
Though normally autumnal paradise, October was warm. Not hot, but warmer than normal and it made a good month to continue heading up into the high country and exploring lost lakes and rarely seen peaks. Meanwhile, the glaciers on Mount Shasta continued to spew debris and alter the landscape. Mud Creek in particular had been active all summer and this continued into the year’s tenth month.
Snow fell almost immediately as November began. After the first tranche, it was gloriously fall for about two weeks in Mount Shasta. The trees finally began turning color, the days were warm and bright but the sun’s lower angle made for magnificent light. However, the snow soon returned and gave the land a much need drink. Winter came early in 2022 and hasn’t let up yet.
The winter conditions continued all through December. Snow, rime ice, rain have all been abundant this month. It was a good end to an odd year.
May the Lord bless as we charge into 2023!