It feels like we have spent a lot of time the past few months “waiting” for winter to arrive here in the Sierra. Momma says she feels that way because last winter they had tons and tons of snow and this year, well, it has been well below even AVERAGE as far as snow goes in the Sierra. So when the weather reports started coming in for a storm with the potential to dump 16-24″ of snow up in the mountains we were anxiously awaiting our trip to go check it out!
Friday morning was a lot like last week – the storm we got powder in last week passed through around the same time as this one. So we got up, walked, worked out and then suddenly momma said “chain controls are over” and we loaded up for the mountains.
There were definitely a lot of people like us waiting for both the snow and the roads to be all clear, but we had no trouble getting up to our trailhead. There were a lot more cars there than usual (for a weekday) and a ton of little kids which momma wants us to not be around since we think they are weird and unpredictable. So we climbed (yes, CLIMBED) over the snowbanks to get out of the lot where momma could put her snowshoes on. But dropping down off the banks left us up to our eyeballs in snow! It was SO MUCH SNOW!
Momma had to try to stamp down a spot to even put her snowshoes on and was laughing with some other people out there going to snowshoe. They were ahead of us for a minute until momma passed them because Lolo and I wanted to walk right behind them and step on their snowshoes to make it easier. This is something we do to momma too and it drives her crazy!!
After we passed the couple it was nothing but trail breaking for us and uffda it was a LOT OF WORK!
Lolo and I ran ahead of momma just a little bit before we would end up getting stuck and even turning around was work. We both decided it would be easiest to stay behind momma who was working her A$$ off just trying to move forward. I don’t think she has ever snowshoed in such deep snow before. Sometimes she’d sink all the way in up to her waist where the snow had drifted!!
We made slow but steady progress down to Azalea lake and then on to Flora lake where we had a good view over Donner. Poor momma was getting so tired by this point she said we should just turn around so we could at least have some packed trail on the way back to the car. I’ve never seen her tired like that in the snow!! I know she wanted to go snowshoe across the lakes to make it back easier, but the edges seemed mushy so she was too scared we would sink on in.
On the way back we did come across one other snowshoer, and man let me tell you I smelled him from a ways away. We were going up a hill and he was just on the other side. I kept stopping to tell momma that there was someone up there (since I was in front of her as we doubled back on our trail we took in) and she kept saying “come on Olaf, let’s go!” and then there he was at the top of the hill and I was all “I told you so!!” and even though I didn’t like him momma had a short conversation with him. The only nice thing he did was pack the snow down just a little bit more so it was even easier for us to get back.
Once we got back to where the PCT splits off, momma said she wanted to go see if the tunnel under the highway was gushing with water. Why she wanted to do that NOW, I don’t know. But she took us to try to find the tunnel where we were again breaking fresh trail. To get to the tunnel you do go through an area where there are often lots of squirrels, so Lolo and I tried to run around a bit here but again it was just so deep that we fell back in line behind momma. We eventually got to where the tunnel should be but we couldn’t even find it and then momma again remembered that she was tired and just wanted to go home.
We backtracked and then got back onto the PCT to get to the parking lot. This little section had been walked on by a few people by now so it was like HEAVEN to Lolo and I.
Because we had been plowing through so much snow both of us were totally covered in snowballs. Mine were all over my chest and Lolo’s were on his butt! He wouldn’t sit back in his seat until momma spent about 15 minutes trying to break them apart and even still, he had butt dreadlocks from them that we had to cut out the next day! My chest balls weren’t as bad (since chest hair is shorter than butt hair) so momma just kept breaking mine up so I could lay down comfortably.
We were all super tired when we got home and momma just sat in her chair for like an hour before she even got the energy to feed any of us! But she ended up making herself a pizza (which she shared with Lolo and I) so all in all it was a mighty fine day!
Unfortunately the forecast for the next two weeks in the Sierra has NO SNOW and also very unseasonably warm weather, so this may have been our last chance for powder this winter. I guess we will have to see what the second half of February brings!!