Thursday, March 16, 2023

So Snowy! Part 2


As snow continued to fall, we invited others to learn how to cross-country ski. Here is Desert Girl encouraging a friend.

The snow didn't keep Desert Girl from riding her bike to go to chores. Finn likes the snow a lot.

On one particularly heavy snow, I asked Desert Boy to go with me skiing from the house. It's rare we have enough snow to cover the rocks.

Picnic tables provided a good example of just how much snow fell.

In fact, we got so much snow it made part of a tree topple over the settling pond. Desert Boy and a friend couldn't resist climbing on it.

The Frisco Charcoal Ovens were even adorned with snow.

With snow coming every few days, it was time to get more people out cross-country skiing. We decided to take on the Scenic Drive. 

Conditions were ideal.

As in previous storms, everything was coated white.

Getting a group photo is harder than you think when you only have 10 seconds to get into place!

Even the Great Basin Visitor Center sign in Baker got a load of snow!

Occasionally I do air quality measurements, which includes measuring the snow that fell int he last week. In this case, the bucket was not only full, it was overflowing!

Snow on picnic tables is getting higher!

More snow means more time to go out skiing. The garbage cans in Grey Cliffs are nearly covered with snow.

Skiing through the trees is extra fun.

Then came the idea: why not try a full moon cross-country ski? A few hardy souls decided to give it a try.

With long exposure, it was remarkably bright outside. We didn't even need to use headlamps.

It was great fun.

As snow persisted, I tried skiing other places. Here's the Snake Creek park entrance. Untracked and over a foot deep.

Then I decided to try the Timber Creek-Pole Canyon loop, something that had always seemed too difficult. But with all the time I had spent on skis this winter, it seemed the time was right. I put skins on my skis and went up to the Baker Creek trailhead, where the elevation 8000 feet was nearly buried.

Baker Creek was not totally iced over.

There were some tracks on the trail.

But once I got further up Timber Creek, I made first tracks.

View from the saddle between Timber and Pole Canyon. I'm looking at Doso Doyabi and Wheeler Peak. Going down the other side was an adventure in route finding, as the trail is not marked for winter use. I eventually weaved my way down to the valley.

Then I went back into the aspen-white fir forest.

It was a lovely day for a ski.

At the Pole Canyon Bridge, the creek was completely frozen over--and nearly at the level of the bridge.

I decided it would be good to get the whole family cross-country skiing. We left one vehicle at Grey Cliffs and went up to the Baker Creek trailhead. Then we headed down the campground trail. It was deep and slick in spots.

The kids grumbled (they seem to do that a lot as teenagers), but conditions were great.

Cross-country skiing can be so peaceful.

Well, we still have more snow in the forecast. It's been warming up and feeling like spring in the valley, but up on the mountain it still feels like winter. I think we'll have this snow around for a while!

Sunday, March 12, 2023

So Snowy! Part 1


It's been an amazingly snowy winter in the Great Basin. I thought I'd take a look at my snow photos for the winter and showcase some of this frigid wonder. Here's a photo of the west side of Wheeler Peak taken in November 2022. It already sports a nice cape of white.

At times the kids think they are too old for sledding. But once they're doing it, they love it!

In December, the Upper Lehman Campground in Great Basin National Park had enough snow that someone built a snowman!

On January 1st, we got a big snowstorm, coating the trees and electrical wires. 

Everything was white, including this old cart.

Desert Boy, Finn and I went for a walk. The sky and ground matched.

We had no idea that this was just the beginning of much, much more snow. 

I couldn't resist a couple artistic photos.

The abundant snow made the netting over the chicken pen collapse. The chickens still came out where they could keep their feet dry.

We went up to the Lehman Caves Visitor Center and found even more snow, although the handicapped walk has heaters in it so it was free of snow.

If you looked through the telescopes, you could see more snow!

I couldn't resist skiing up the Scenic Drive, where I saw white carpeting everything.

The pinyon pines looked very different than in summer!

Untracked snow!

We could even go sledding at a lower elevation site. 

This two-track road has been transformed.

I took Desert Boy skiing another day up the Scenic Drive. It might not be his favorite activity, but he's good at it. And the views are always amazing.

The Winter Raptor Route up Spring Valley involved very snowy roads.

From far in the north we could look at the distance Wheeler Peak under a cloudy sky.

In January of every year is the Ely Birkebiener cross-country ski race. The trail was nicely groomed.

I did the long (4.2 mile) race and Desert Girl did the short (1.5 mile) race. I was happy to finish faster than last year. 

Desert Girl finished first overall for her race!

She won a cool award.

We had wonderful snow for the race--but much more was to come!
To be continued

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