Saturday, April 4, 2015

Second 2015 Snow Survey

 So right after we did the last snow survey, we had a big snow storm. Hurray, we thought, the mountains will be snowy again. And then it didn't snow. At all. For the rest of the month. So when we headed out on the April 1 snow survey, we knew it wouldn't be pretty. In fact, we didn't even bother to take skis. We had snow shoes, but it turned out we barely needed them.

The first site was devoid of snow. That made it take about two minutes long to do the survey, nothing to measure. Fortunately the second snow course had snow on it, although in the photo below, you can see the nearby hillside had melted out.

The lower snow course marker was in a bare patch, but fortunately we didn't have to measure there. We had been warned that we might have record low snow levels and to take lots of pictures. Well, the good news is that we didn't have record low snow levels. The bad news is that we were the second lowest in the 70+ years the snow survey has been conducted.

We weren't sure what we would find when we reached the third snow course. Turned out we saw our ski tracks from the first survey. I guess that big snow we got lower on the mountain didn't happen up higher. Seeing month-old ski tracks is not a good sight.

We measured and remeasured until the numbers agreed and found again we were at second lowest record level. Fortunately, that still amounted to about 40 percent of median. Not as bad as the Sierras, but still quite bad. Everything seems so dry.

Sometimes getting that snow measurement isn't so easy. Maybe it's a good thing we weren't on skis, it would be pretty hard to do this!

And if you wondered what the snow core hole looked like:

What, you didn't wonder? That's okay.

We finished the snow measuring before noon. We usually don't even get to the third site before noon. So we had a leisurely lunch on the dry grass in the sun. We took off our snow shoes, let our gaiters and snow pants dry out, laid back on our puffy jackets. And then we heard a noise. We listened and realized that people were approaching. But these weren't any hikers. These were super hikers. Complete with shorts and flip flops. We were impressed, hiking in the snow in flip flops is not for the faint of heart.

Giggling, we headed downhill, revisiting the sagebrush buttercups that like to bloom right after the snow melts.

We also found some desert biscuitroot,  a less conspicuous flower.

There's some rain in the forecast next week, and we sure hope it comes. The dry, warm winter we've had is a harbinger of wildfires, diseases, and pests. But right now it's a great time to get outdoors and enjoy!

1 comment:

Scotty Strachan said...

It looks like you found some snow at least! Thanks for the report on conditions, I'm really hoping that it doesn't dry out too quickly. If we get a few cold storms this month it should delay the drying some. Great blog, keep it up!

Scotty @ www.scottystrachan.com

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