Happy Vernal Equinox! Monday, 3/20/17

Jimmy at eastbound Donner Pass Rest Area -- 7,227 ft.

Although we hadn't planned on hitting the high country on the First Day of Spring, we saw a window of opportunity (think:  clear roads, no snow, slush, sleet or rain) on this day.  With a rainy/snowy/stormy week predicted beginning this afternoon, we said, "go now!"  Hey, lunch at Squeeze In in Truckee was good incentive, too!  

We didn't get our rears in gear till mid-morning, and the drive to Truckee is about an hour, maybe more.  Highway 20 weaves through Tahoe Nat'l Forest and we were caught twice by the flagger person holding up the stop sign, as trees were being culled near the two-laned road.  Not sure if it was forest service, or CalTrans people, but they had an impressive traffic back-up.  No problem, we got to Truckee before our stomachs caved in.  Snow patches under the tall trees began showing about 5,000 ft.  By the time Hwy 20 joined I-80, snow piles were high.

NorCal has been slammed with wet wintry weather since November, with few breaks in between storms, till recently.  Snow in the Sierras has reached levels not seen in many, many years, approaching records that trapped the Donner "breakfast" party in 1846.  On our drive today, we had to remember that no snow had fallen in two wks, meaning what we were seeing was "old snow" and lots of it had already melted.  OK ... but what we saw was not like anything we'd ever seen.  From I-80, (above) are the old snow sheds that Jimmy and I have hiked up to and in, and they're buried!  Don't think we could get there today!

From the I-80 scenic vista stop, here's a shot of old Hwy 40's Rainbow Bridge (center).

The east end of Donner Lake is covered in ice and/or snow.

After lunch (mmm, big burgers!), we drove Hwy 89 to Squaw Valley, where we could join the skiers, though we don't ski, but we could walk around the complex. (We know better than to try skiing at our age!)  By this time, the sun had disappeared, and it looked like a pan of dirty dishwater had been thrown skyward.  We we're all enjoying "no precipitation" while we could, 'cause the bottom was fixin' to drop on top of our heads!

Though we've taken a photo or two at this spot before,
this is the first one with, ahem, snow in the picture!

Squaw Valley has a large parking lot -- and all that snow has to be cleared for vehicles to park.  After all, providing for snow lovers is their business.  This is just one monstrous snow pile cleaned off the parking lot. 

One of the neatest campers we've seen Out and About.  Beautiful wood.

A paved 2.5 mile footpath runs from the Olympic complex to Hwy 89 and it had been scraped clean, how cool is that!  We wanted to walk and keep an eye peeled for anything unusual or unexpected. As you can see, though the old snow was unsightly, we were enclosed in a veritable snow fort -- those were ten-foot poles.  The temp here was about 50 degrees, and snow was melting and creating puddles, streams, cascades, and waterfalls everywhere.

We didn't see any horses, but the snow was up to the roof line.

 A wall of two-week-old snow, many-layered, grimy and grungy,
but look at the height of this pile next to the footpath!

A passel of Robins didn't seem to mind the snow, and in the boggy meadow (below), they were plucking up worms or grubs as fast as they could.  Making nests, too! 😏

It was a mistake to lean against this pile ... my jeans (butt) got wet!  


Oops, as we turned around to make our way back to our Prius, yonder sky to the west over the mountains had a growling, menacing look, so we stepped up our pace on the path.  We figured we had till 3pm before we had to leave the area and beat the weather home.  We almost made it, too, but were stopped at the same tree-felling area on Hwy 20 going home.  Lost some minutes there, but we did make it home before major rains began.

Woohoo, white caps on the Truckee River!  It is grand seeing so much rushing water in this river, knowing how low it had been in summers past.  Low enough to walk across and not get a soaker.  Not anymore!

All righty, then, we enjoyed our outing between doctor visits and the new baby.  Jimmy and I really like hiking up in the high country ... this year I think it's gonna take that snow a long, long time to melt, and summer will be high before we'll hoof it on any favorite trails.

πŸ’• 🌸🌷🌱 Happy Spring! ☔ πŸ€πŸŒ»πŸŒΊ


  1. Wow, that is a lot of snow!

  2. Awesome snow banks! Been quite a winter up yonder. Wonder how they cleared that skinny walking trail? Next time we are out there, I bet there will still be snow up there.....

    1. I'm sure you'll see snow when you're here!


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