Snowpocalypse West

23 Mar

“And from the eastern boundary of this vast golden flower-bed rose the mighty Sierra, miles in height, and so gloriously colored and so radiant, it seemed not clothed with light but wholly composed of it, like the wall of some celestial city…. Then it seemed to me that the Sierra should be called, not the Nevada or Snowy Range, but the Range of Light.” -John Muir

Dear John,


I beg to differ.

The snow predicted for this week seems to have taken us by surprise. Snow in Yosemite Valley is nothing out of the ordinary but this snowstorm hit the lower elevations which rarely see more than a dusting of snow. Added to that the precipitation was wet, more like sleet than snow, and it fell on a lot of deciduous trees that were just starting to blossom and leaf out. This is the type of weather that bends tree branches until they snap, and they often bring down power lines with them.


Monday morning was a game of power line limbo. My roommates and I were lucky that this giant oak did not land on our cars or house. Others folks in the town weren’t. For my part, I wandered around town feeling both completely awed and completely useless. I will say that one advantage to living in a town sandwiched between a National Forest and a National Park is that there are a lot of people who know how to use a chainsaw. I was surprised by how much progress they made in a day.

Further complicating the situation, there have been several rockslides as the snow melt saturates the ground and all this freezing and thawing business pries apart rocks. Remarkably, the roads were cleared fairly quickly and I was able to leave town to get to a doctor’s appointment, but the only way to travel in and out is in an escorted convoy. Optimistic estimates are predicting that we will be without power for at least three days, but it may be as long as a week.

Meanwhile in Yosemite Valley, one thousand feet above, meadows that were bare of snow last week are now chest deep. I have no idea when I’ll be able to get back into the park to explore again. While this has occupied all of my attention lately, it is far cry from the disaster that is going on in Japan right now, and I feel slightly guilty for feeling like this is an adventure. I’m glad that (as far as I know) no one has been hurt, and I’m grateful for all the people who are working to cleanup.

And Mr. Muir?


Maybe we ought to leave ‘good enough’ alone.

~Robin (Going Dark)


One Response to “Snowpocalypse West”


  1. Happy Spring! « - April 8, 2012

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