Hey Everybody! It Snowed!

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This isn’t exactly what I was expecting when I signed on for summer work in California, but in the mountains, summer comes late.

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I’d heard earlier in the week that a storm was supposed to roll in Thursday (May 7) afternoon. Thursday was my day off, and I headed down the road to the Lodge to eat some food and use the internet. I left the campground around 11:45, and it was chilly, but the sun was out.

I watched the weather change all afternoon through the Lodge’s large windows and sent friends email weather updates. First the sky got cloudy, and there were snow flurries. Then the sun came out, and there were snow flurries. Then the flurries stopped. The sun came and went, as did the snow. Sometimes the flakes were big and fat and poured from the sky. Sometimes the flakes were tiny and came down in sheets. Sometimes wind blew the snow around. In any case, the snow didn’t seem to be sticking.

I left the Lodge around 6pm and headed to my campground. I was surprised to see a frosting of snow covering the ground, rocks, and logs. The road was clear, but everything else looked as if it had been dusted with powdered sugar.

Back at my campground, I did a drive-through in my van, just to make sure no one was camped out in a tent. The campground was empty.

I’d left my folding chair and a table outside, both of which had quite a bit of snow on them. As I knocked off the snow, I heard thunder in the distance, which scared me. No, I wasn’t scared by the surprise of a loud noise. I was worried about what it might mean to hear thunder while it was snowing. (I guess it doesn’t mean the end of the world; a local told me thunder and snow happen together frequently up here.) At that point, I climbed in the van and fired up my Mr. Buddy heater and worked on staying warm.

Over the next hour or so, until it got too dark to see out of my windows, I watched the snow change. When I got in the van, the snow had begun to fall again, in the form of little pellets of ice. They fell harder until I could hear them hit the roof of the van. The next time I looked out, the snow had changed to big, silent flakes; later, ice pellets fell again. At one point, I looked out the window and saw fog rolling in. I literally saw the fog moving. When I got into bed, I didn’t hear ice pellets hitting my roof, but there must have been more silent snow in the night, because the trees and the ground had a fluffy white coating when I woke up the next morning (Friday, May 8).

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Trees with a fluffy white coating.

After drinking the tea I made with hot water I’d put in my Stanley bottle the night before and getting dressed in the warmth from Mr. Buddy, I swept the snow from the golf cart and took it out for a spin around the campground. The ponderosa pines sure looked pretty with snow dusting their branches! Most of the water spigots were frozen, but I found two with water still flowing.

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Snow on the roof of the storage shed.

The snow looks perfect on the roof of one of the new yurts.

The snow looks perfect on the roof of one of the new yurts.

Around 8:15, I was back at my camp making breakfast when the sun peeked out of the grey sky. The sun always encourages me, so I was glad to see it.

Between 8:30 and 9:00, my boss stopped by to see how I was doing. She told me the campground closest to where I will spend most of my summer had gotten a lot of snow.

By 9:15 I could see a patch of blue sky above the trees, and by 9:20 the sun was lighting up the snowy trees and restoring my faith that I’d get through the cold snap.

At 10:15, the heat of the sun on the wet earth and logs caused steam (or maybe it was fog) to rise up. It looked like the storm had passed, and I got to work sweeping restrooms and cleaning fire pits.

These are the logs I saw steam (fog?) rising from.

These are the logs I saw steam (fog?) rising from.

While I was working, the sky turned grey and the sun disappeared. There weren’t clouds so much as uniform greyness of sky. I started to see fog engulfing the tops of trees; the fog crept lower and lower. By the time my boss checked on me on her way back through in the mid-afternoon, I felt as if I were standing in a cloud. I could see what was around me, but everything in the (not very far away) distance was wrapped in white mystery.

This photo gives a vague idea of what the fog looked/felt like.

This photo gives a vague idea of what the fog looked/felt like.

Little ice pellets were falling from the sky when the boss found me cleaning the fire ring on site 16.

You don’t have to work in this, you know, she told me.

I’m not offended by this snow, I answered.

She said she was offended by it and left after I promised her I’d be done outside as soon as I finished with the fire ring.

The rest of the day was cold, foggy, wet, and muddy. I did my paperwork in the office/garage, but it was too cold to hang out there as I had planned. (The office/garage has electricity, so I can use my laptop there without running its battery down.) I spent most of the evening in the van, huddled next to Mr. Buddy, reading Eva Luna by Isabel Allende.

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I took all of the photos shown in this post.

About Blaize Sun

I live in my van, which makes me a rubber tramp. I like to see places I've never seen before, and I like to visit the places I love again and again. I like to play with color. I make collages and hemp jewelry and cheerful winter hats. I take photographs and (sometimes, not in a long time) write poetry. All of those things make me an artist. Although I like to spread joy and to make people laugh, my wit can be sharp. I try to stay positives in all situations, to find the goodness in all people. But I often feel compelled to point out bullshit when I smell it. I like to have fun, to dance, to eat yummy food, to sit by a fire and share stories. I want to know what people hold dear and important, not just make surface small talk. This blog is a way for me to share stories. This blog is made up of my stories, rants, and observations, as well as my photographs.

5 Responses »

  1. Blaize, you crack me up! “…summer comes late.”?? Really? We’re barely even have way through spring… where in the world is summer even early? The first day of summer isn’t for another six weeks (June 21st) – better batten down your hatches and keep your down jacket nearby ‘cuz you’re probably gonna need ’em more than once between now and the “real” summer 😀

    Your campground photos look delightful – looks like the same kinds of areas I spent many a night camping out during the first 50 years of my life. However, if I might make a suggestion: if you signed on for summer work, perhaps you better wait till summer actually arrives before beginning your summer job 😀

    • Lois, you are right! It’s not even summer yet! Why am I working a summer job?

      Well, I think summer is early in Phoenix and New Orleans and Truth or Consequences, New Mexico. Is it not already warm in Las Vegas?

      I just wasn’t expecting snow! Which is my own fault because I know it’s colder up in the mountains.

      • It was warm a few weeks ago (maybe low 90s) but the last few days have barely broken 70 degrees. It even rained a bit last evening. Weather is pretty unpredictable anywhere I’ve been on the west coast for the past 60+ years 🙂

  2. That looks so beautiful! I hope you are wearing warm socks. I would need non-stop warm beverages in those temps. I’m glad you had a warm drink and Mr. Buddy to help you get out of bed.

    • It was really beautiful. I haven’t found the SmartWool socks, but I did have a couple of other pairs of warms ones that I wore. There is supposed to be another storm with snow this weekend,

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