Snow Day!

Dawn: Snow on mountains
Chasing, uphill, the brief beauty
Noon: vanished into air.

Mike said to run for 1¾ hours. He didn’t say where. When I poked my nose out the door I saw the snow and I knew I was running up to La Cumbra and it would take a lot longer than 1¾ hours.

I poked my nose out the door relatively late in the morning. It was so cold (for SB) and I was waiting for it to warm up. It didn’t seem to be warming. There was frost outside the door at 8, and Los Positas was very cold, so I was hopeful that the snow would last till I could get to it.

There was snow behind the Mission…

It takes about 45~50 minutes to bike up to Tunnel trailhead. There seemed plenty of cars there, perhaps others had the same idea? As I started up the trail, I glanced over at the Islands. The mountains on Santa Cruz were not snow covered, but then they only go up to 2300ft so that’s not too surprising.

The snow is hidden from me as I go up, but eventually I climb up a ridge and there it is again.

The trail itself is in full sun, and is warm enough that I take off one layer of clothing. I worry a little that the snow may be gone before I get to it…

A little further I seem some frost on the leaf of an imbricate phacelia. Oddly enough the dandelion leaves beside it are unfrosted. And then there are ice crystals on the ground itself. And then… yes… tiny patches of snow.

This is very exciting. It’s been a long time since I was in snow.

Quite a number of wildflowers are blooming up here, and many of them are now encased in ice. The purple nightshade is most common, but the pacific pea is also afflicted.

As I turn a corner I can see there is less snow on the peak than there was a half hour before.

I’m probably about halfway up, there’s a long way to go yet (and this is supposed to be an easy day, I’m not allowed to go fast).

The snow seems to like the leaves of the imbricate phacelia

Hmm. It’s starting to look a bit snowy…

The fire burned through this area two years ago, and the snow clings to the burnt branches

They seem to handle it better than this living bay laurel which is quite bowed under from the snow. It’s blooming too.

It gets snowier…


Footprints! People have been here before me.

The snow is probably a half inch deep here.

I crest the last ridge and near the top of the trail. I can hear children’s voices off by the road, SB has come up here to play today.

In Santa Barbara etiquette demands that one wear shorts to a snowball fight.

I guess I’m in shorts too. It’s not cold out here in the sun.

From the top of the trail, there’s only another mile and a half to go by road.

There are some dogs romping in the snow. I wonder if they’ve ever seen it before?

The road twists and I get a good view of Santa Cruz and Anacapa. It seems odd to have all this snow here and see them shining in the sun…

Then the road pops over to the other side of the ridge, this is a northern exposure and there is more snow here. I can see the valley of the Santa Ynez river, completely snow free, but above it and beyond is another range of snow capped mountains.

Santa Ynez valley with snowy mountains behind and the Gibraltar reservoir down below. With some clouds of mist.

The road becomes icy, and drivers start to have trouble. One guy goes into a ditch as I go by.

View from the peak, looking inland

Five hours after I started I reach home again. There is no snow visible anymore.

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One Response to “Snow Day!”

  1. Gary M Says:

    Outstanding photo journal George.

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