Tuesday, February 17, 2015

the winter that wasn't

still some snow up high
There are a lot of things to say about the winter that wasn't. Like, the $900 I spent on snow tires. The fact that I will have to harvest much less wood from the forest next year because 62 degrees is a fine indoor temperature, achieved by opening the door to the sunroom, the natural warmth of the logs, and wearing a wool dress. Or that my bread production has gone way down, because what's better on a snowy day than making bread? Or that because I am still hiking, my house isn't nearly as clean as it is usually. (Small digression here. Can you really trust a person with a spotless house to be a good adventure buddy? While not unsanitary, I believe on a day off there are much better things to do outdoors than cleaning inside.)

Nope, the worst thing about the winter that wasn't is that we are all out of our routines. The Fergi ski area crowd is completely undone. The ice skaters, the snowmobilers--all roaming around with too much time on their hands. A lot of peoples' social lives are completely disrupted. Each day dawns cold and clear. And snowless.

As for me, I counted on winter as my break from hiking and running. Don't get me wrong, I love those activities. But cross country skiing is perhaps the best cardio exercise there is, without the repetition of pounding down a trail. By the time the snow melted, I was eager to get back to the trails.

Yesterday I drove to a trailhead that normally you can't even access until June, except by skis. It felt weird and wrong to be hiking up to about 7,000 feet on a bare trail. The day before that, I was able to do a trail run that was previously summer only.

Some people are loving this weather. I don't blame them really. Wearing a T-shirt on the moraine is kind of delightful. But there's also a feeling that we are going to pay for this later, with wildfires in the mountains, more evacuations, our valley wreathed with smoke.

I hiked up the mountain to the old miner's cabin, finally sinking my boots into some snow. It's up there, still plenty of it, just higher than we have had to ever go before. What does this mean? I don't know. March is usually the snowiest month. We've had big snowfalls in May. It could still happen. We could still turn this thing around. Maybe.




21 comments:

  1. Sigh.....I'm hating this warm, sunny weather. The skier in me wants powder - lots of it! I've yet to experience a powder day this year, and at the rate we're going, probably won't. Mt. Hood is just as bad as your part of Oregon. I'm dodging boulders on the slopes. I'm beginning to think we're done with winter for this year....

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  2. I think we may have thrown in the towel. I know people back east are sick of it, but they must not be skiers.

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  3. I think my housekeeping habits would meet your adventure buddy criteria. :) Matt and I went winter camping last weekend and didn't find snow until 6,000 ft. (about 5 ft. base of snow at 7,500 ft.) Normally that trip in the winter is crampons and ice axe only, but this year just some kahtoolas were fine.

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    1. Hahaha. Hope we can do an adventure sometime. Sounds like CA is worse off than we are. I wonder what that means for my section hike this summer. And mosquito possibilities? Hope Zoey is doing well.

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    2. If you're doing the section through the Trinity Alps and/or Lassen, let me know when and I might be up for joining you.

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  4. I think I complain when it's too hot during the summer, and either to cold or the snow is too deep in the winter. I have appreciated this milder winter, but also fear what that will equal this summer.
    PS...Time not working is suppose to be spent adventuring not cleaning.

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    1. I miss skiing. Otherwise the 20 degree nights could go away. I agree about the cleaning.

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  5. Hi Mary! Our winter has been effed up as well. Weather shenanigans and craziness abound! In the Caribou Mountains of BC (where the heli ski lodge is) it rained sideways for 4 days. It's messing with the animals too - on my run down the snowmobile trail last week I discovered a cold confused caterpillar wiggling on the snow and bear tracks. Fortunately, there's snow up high for those well heeled Heli-skiiers who come to visit us and ski our lovely (but heavier than usual) powder. Hope all is well! I now have Grand Canyon envy. I'm heading back to the PCT after ski season for the month of May. I'll be needing me some desert by then I reckon!

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    1. Hey Leslie! I was wondering what the snow situation was up there. PCT May? Where?

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  6. I'm heading to the Trinity Alps today where I should not have access for several months. I too am dismayed and scared by the lack of snow. The warm wet storm that came through made things worse by melting snow pack and creating erosion and bogs. At least skeeter season should be early. I dread fire season.

    One day on a hike I created an analysis of personality types . . . where you a child with parents requiring chores before fun or fun balanced with chores? I had a hard time scheduling fun as an adult because there was always too much work and that work before play philosophy was hard wired deep within my soul. Menopause seemed to have reversed that wiring and I'm now a proud member of the play before work club, with a house and yard feeling neglected and shouting for attention. It's your fault :)

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    1. You are my hero, I hope I am brave enough to leave my job someday!

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    2. Jan, my comment above is from the Trinity Alps! We went up Long Canyon, which is supposed to be the snowiest of the trails off of Hwy 3 in the Trinities.

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    3. Karen, I just saw photos from someone else who went up Long Canyon this past weekend. Looked pretty snowy, more so than my jaunt up to Big Bear Lake. Crazy year, not good! Sounds like you are nearby, maybe we can adventure together sometime.

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    4. I think you guys would have fun hiking!

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  7. Keep in mind that here in New England up until mid-January we were complaining about how little snow there was this season.

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    1. hope you are right! However, it's looking grim since it is nearly March.

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  8. It's always strange to me how vastly different winter is here from year to year. Some are so cold, and some I never even bust out my running tights. Some have ALL the snow and some are just brown and ugly (give me the snow any day).

    I hope you get slammed with snow - you still have lots of time!

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    1. Thanks! Running in it isn't as fun, but I actually enjoy skiing more than running these days! Never bust out the tights?! Yesterday I ran in shorts and a T shirt, which was deeply odd.

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    2. Hoping things turn around for your part of the world- that snow pack so needed for all creatures and the earth........I'm one New Englander who is not sick of our never-ending snow here, but savoring every xcountry moment through so much powder like we haven't seen in ages. It makes me deeply appreciate what you have had out there. May winter revisit you all in its full white wonder....

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    3. Nice! Glad someone back there likes it! All I've heard is gloom and doom!

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