Monday, February 21, 2011

Sugar Pine Snowshoe

Monday was forecast as the clear day between storms.  Yay!  They got that one right.  I snow shoed the Sugar Pine Railroad between Middle Camp Road and Lyons Lake with adventure buddy P.  It was a perfect day!

The utilities district had run a snow cat with a plow though on Saturday.  It’s probably a bit more than a foot deep on the railroad bed.

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The pines on the north slope were shrouded in heavy snow.

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And the oaks were still holding on to enough snow to be spectacular against the blue sky.

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Before long we were down several layers.

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I have hiked (and taken horses) on this railroad many times;  it’s a popular local trail, less than ten minutes off Highway 108.  But not yesterday,  no tracks,  no people for the two plus hours were were out there.

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(To my Texas and Florida friends…..this area is 30 minutes from my place in Jamestown where we got only a light dusting of snow :)

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Between Storms

Rain, wind, hail, and sunshine all had turns today.  Just before dark we got a break between the crazy storm cells.

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I didn’t see many birds today, but this little gal was trying to get warm and dry as the temperature began to drop again.

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Not often is the sunset brighter in the eastern sky.

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Clouds shortly covered the moon again.

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Thursday, February 10, 2011

Home Snaps

Waiting in Austin for the weather to break in Dallas there were seven AA planes in my line of vision on Wednesday morning.  After a de icing process we got into the air at 930 and had a smooth ride above the storm into Dallas.

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It was still really cold in Dallas,  in the middle teens, and high winds were blowing snow around the airport.

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Sister and Auntie were waiting for me at Sacramento.  We didn’t get home until after dark which was cool because this morning I found a really big surprise waiting for me!

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The China Lilies are blooming big time thanks to so much rain last fall.

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After a grocery run I headed out to walk the perimeter fence.  Here’s a hazy shot of the snow in the mountains from the lava cap.

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I was looking for the first wildflower, and found two!  The first was a light sprinkling of Gold Fields.  It won’t be long before these tiny flowers cover in the hills in a yellow carpet.

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The second, on the southern exposure, were tiny white Johnny Jump-ups (or Shooting Stars) starting to bloom.

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The steers were moved in the week I left for Texas, so they don’t know me and were very curious about what I was doing in their territory.

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No blooms yet on the Buckeye but the white bark was sparkling in the sunshine.

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It’s hard to imagine after so much rain this winter that there is actually dust on the lava cap.  We really need the rain that is forecast for next week,  but I’m happy I got to go for a welcome home walk today.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Ice and Snow

Sometimes the local paper forecasts an ‘arctic blast’.  That usually means very cold air is dropping down on us from Canada and it might last a day or so.  This time it arrived Monday night (after an 80* high that afternoon) and lasted until Friday afternoon.  Nights were in the teens and days didn’t reach 30 degrees.  But the SNOW that we woke up to on Friday morning made all the whole cold week worthwhile.

A tiny creek in my complex was frozen early in the week.

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I peeked outside about 1 am on Friday morning to find a light dusting of snow and was happy to see close to an inch by morning.  All schools and government offices were closed.  The guy upstairs didn’t listen to radio and left early for school.

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My van was frozen solid for until Saturday morning,  no sun on this side of the building.

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The water in the pool was a gorgeous color against the snow.

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The snow was so cold it looked like coarse salt piled in the leaves of the agave plant.

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The last time it snowed in Austin was 2006, the year these two were born.  Hope they remember how much more fun they had this time!

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Mittens were lost and fingers were cold too soon.  After a warm up we did our best to clear the walk and stairs with my camp shovel. 

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