Thursday, March 30, 2006

Sequoias in a Blizzard, March 2006

We went snowshoeing in Sequoia National Park during a major blizzard in March of 2006 -- four feet of snow in two days, temperatures below 20 the whole time. I had always wanted to see the giant trees in heavy snow, and I got my wish!

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We started out in Grant Grove, which is normally crowded with tourists. We were virtually alone.

It was snowing so hard that we could hardly see the top of this family of Sequoias.

The highway was closed, so we had to hike down a fire road into Redwood Canyon.  It would have been impossible without snowshoes, and it was still quite difficult, with several feet of soft wet snow.  I now know why there are no "hits" when you put "snowshoeing Redwood Canyon" into Google Images!

During the summer, we are not allowed to get so close to the trees, for fear of compressing the soil around their roots. But the rangers said that with this much snow, we can get as close as we want. The snowshoes gave us amazing mobility.

The snow was falling at the rate of several inches per hour, piling up on the branches.

The Hart Tree trailhead marker is almost buried in the snow.

We tried cross-country skiis -- very nice, very fast, but harder to control than snowshoes.

A couple of times, the sun broke through.

During a sun break, we climbed up Baldy Ridge, but just as we got to the top, the clouds swirled in and the snow started to fall again.

The creeks were buried under the snow, but we could still hear the water underneath.

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