Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year, and I hope everyone has had a nice set of holidays! I'm back at Longmire this New Year's Day, and it's an amazing scene. We have 44 inches of snow on the ground here, including 11 inches fresh overnight, and probably several feet more than that at Paradise, though who knows, almost no one's been up there in the past week other than snow plow operators! Today we have extreme avalanche danger, and the snow level is supposed to rise from 1,000 feet to 5,500 feet over the course of the day. The National Weather Service predicts 8 to 16 inches of snow, with as much as 3 or 4 feet on the highest slopes. The road to Paradise will not open, and even the road from the entrance to Longmire may close, if trees start falling from the combined weight of rain and snow on their branches. We've already had at least two trees down over the road this morning. It's still snowing at the Longmire elevation of 2,700 feet.

The rest of the week doesn't look much more promising. Snow level is supposed to drop again tomorrow--perhaps as low as 500 feet this weekend--but it's a continual stream of rain/snow and wind for the next week in the forecast.

Despite the rugged conditions, we've had some rugged volunteers here to help us out over the holidays! Our gratitude goes to Judy Kennedy, Allan Dreyer, Duffy and Pam Rader, and any others I haven't heard about yet who've braved the conditions to come up and patrol trails and lead snowshoe walks. We've been leading them at Longmire on the Trail of the Shadows, in lieu of Paradise.

And you have to admit, even though the roads have been a mess, the trees heavily blanketed with snow are gorgeous. There are animal tracks everywhere along the meadow. It's a blustery but beautiful new year!

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