Dan's Outside

I go, I see, I do, I walk, I think, I like…

Snow Day in the Bay Area

Central California has experienced very unusual weather conditions over the past few days, especially considering that it is a week and a half before the start of spring. The weather has gotten colder and colder, and last night there was widespread snow above 500-1000 feet, with snow much lower than that in some areas.

I didn’t want to miss the opportunity to do some photography in these ususual San Francisco Bay Area conditions so I got up at 5:30 this morning and left the house early. First I headed down toward Almaden Quicksilver Park, hoping to visit that area in conditions I might not see again. It was 36 degrees and trying to snow in the town of New Almaden, but the weather did not look conducive to hiking and photography, so I headed back north to Mission Peak.

It seemed like half the people of Fremont were hiking the trail today. Although I arrived fairly early, I had to park way down the hill on a side street. As I started up the trail there were families with children carrying sleds, people with their dogs, you name it. There looked to be quite a bit of snow about half way up the peak when I started, but as I climbed the trail I could see that it was melting quickly. There wasn’t more than an inch or two of snow anywhere on the mountain. This didn’t stop some kids from trying to sled – in one case I saw two joyous children “sledding” on a slope that was about 1/3 snow (an inch deep), 1/3 grass, and 1/3 rocks and dirt. They didn’t seem to care.

I continued on up to the Hidden Valley area where the view of the snow dusted west face of Mission Peak looked more like a scene from the Sierra Nevada than the town of Fremont. I took the main trail across the saddle below the peak, but then left the main route and followed the lower trail that traverses around the back of the peak. There were fewer people here and more snow, but also quite a bit of mud. The snow increased as I reached the saddle south of Mission Peak, but ended as soon as I started up toward the summit.

There were more people on the summit than I have ever seen there before, but I guess that shouldn’t surprise me. By this time there was almost no snow at all there, but there were good views of snow-covered hills to the south and east.
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March 11, 2006 - Posted by | Commentary

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