Monday, February 16, 2009

A Snowshoe Trip

icicles When we started out on our snowshoeing escapade last week, we had fresh snow on the windshield, the sun was shining brightly, and long icicles were hanging from the roof of our little house.
wind As Wheeler Peak came into view, we could see snow blowing from the top of the mountain.
clouds Or maybe those are just some clouds.
wheeler Or maybe it's both: wind blowing snow off the ridgeline and clouds hanging to the east of the crest.
parkOur destination was on the east side of the peak, in the canyon below the clouds: the Upper Lehman Creek campground, the upper of two campsites that are regularly kept open in the winter - that is, at least the parking area is kept open.
canyon That's our destination! That canyon, where sun and shade meet, and where clouds hover farther up the trail, maybe waiting for us.

Oh, but guess what. The road and campground parking lot were closed for snow removal! We turned around, drove around for a while, and looked for another place to start our 'shoeing. Not finding one we liked, we then left the mountain.
snow On the way back, we stopped in a large plowed pullout (Google Maps street view) at the top of Sacramento Pass, which is at an elevation of 7154 feet according to the road sign, but which may be a tad higher according to the topo map (MSR Maps).
trees From there, we plowed uphill in deep fluffy powder, our snowshoes sinking in to our knees in places - well, it seemed like we sunk in that deep, but most often it was more like mid-calf on me - until we had a view of Wheeler Peak, this time partly hidden by a snow-covered ridge.
trail And then we turned around. The distinctive peak in the photo above can be seen in the Google Maps street view linked-to earlier; just rotate the little man figure around until it looks more to the north (how come I can't choose a little woman figure?)


Callan Bentley said...

I camped at the upper campground this summer. It's a cool park!

Silver Fox said...

It's a way cool park - you probably camped at the upper upper camp at 10,000 called Wheeler Camp? I think we missed each other there by a few days or a week or so - next time you're in the area, give an email holler!

Geology Happens said...

My one visit to Death Valley was a just a few years ago when they were having a banner flower spring...and water everywhere. We stayed low, camped in the gravel parking lots called campgrounds did the tourist thing and then headed to Zion. naked geology all around!

Silver Fox said...

Zion isn't too far away from Wheeler Peak - just down the road apiece. Sounds like a great trip!

GeologyJoe said...

oh cool. that looked like a great shoein' trip.
HA! the word verification just put up the name of the formation i studied for my MS thesis. HA!

Silver Fox said...

It was a good trip, perhaps shorter than we actually planned - but because of the fluffiness of the powdery snow, that turned out to be good. Bright, clear day. Verrryy cold.

Cath@VWXYNot? said...

Mmmm, looks lovely.

Amanda@Lady Scientist said...

That looks very nice. And you weren't kidding about that deep snow!

Silver Fox said...

Amanda, Cath - lovely deep cold snow...