Sunday, June 01, 2008

Christmas in May (aka Sounds of Silence)

Memorial Day weekend was rather unique this year in the Sierra Nevada. The weekend is traditionally, for practical purposes, the beginning of summer to a lot of people. Usually, the area is not hot, but rather warm with the sun out. The area is not totally predictable though since thunder showers can happen on any day in the afternoon. I would have never thought that it would rain and snow the whole time I was there last weekend.

If you have seen some of my blog entries in the past I have shown this area before. I will list them at the bottom. I went to bed on a Saturday night listening to a random pitter patter on the roof. I figured it would be gone in the morning. I woke up and heard the same random pitter patter. The visibility outside was very poor, but then I saw that I had awoke to a winter wonderland. Some guy greeted me with, "Nice spring weather." I replied with, "Yeah, Merry Christmas!" Here is how the visibility was looking across Upper Twin Lake:

This next picture is close to Mono Village. Normally, with this location, you would be able to see Matterhorn Peak (aka The Great Silence, my emblem, my icon, etc.) in the background. This was not the case at all this weekend. I never saw it while I was there along with practically all the other mountain peaks in the Eastern Sierra.
In the above picture there are switchbacks that begin the hike to Matterhorn Peak (and a few other areas; like a different way into Yosemite). I usually go up those switchbacks ever few days over the summer. Of course, during the summer the weather is totally different. Here are how these switchbacks looked during the snow:

This is looking down on Upper Twin. Lower Twin is barely visible in the distance.
As I went higher the snow started to get deeper. I could have forced the issue and continued, but I really did not have the desire because there was some other areas I wanted to take pictures of down below.
Looking in the western direction was interesting to me because there is a hike I do ever few years that way. It takes you to Barney Lake (and then Peeler or Snow Lake if one wants a much further hike). I have a lot of pictures looking this way, but with different colors. Having the snow and clouds like this was something I have not seen very much of here at all. I was here on Oct. 31 some years back. When I started that hike it was cold, but after I had cleared the switchbacks the first major snow storm of the season happened. It was really depressing at the time since I had to turn around. This was much more enjoyable. I am just glad it does not usually happen in the middle of August.

If you want to compare with how this area usually looks during sunny conditions then check out these old blogs:

Out of the Past at Upper Twin Lake
Out of the Past Part 3