a Taj MuttHall Dog Diary: New Year's Eve in the Sierras

Saturday, January 01, 2011

New Year's Eve in the Sierras

SUMMARY: Hike drive drive drive and then arrive.
went for our usual Friday walkies; friend's illness dragged her down a bit this week but we still covered 3 miles and it was a beautiful morning to be out.

Looking back under the bridge at reflections in the Guadalupe River:

Even for my dinky point-and-shoot, Mr. Mockingbird was willing to hold still briefly.

Boost played much leashie.

Despite our current cold snap, the Fremontodendron (flannel bush) shrubs each had one big flower on the west side; go figure.

The buds are beautiful, too.

The four-hour drive on a holiday Friday was just about perfect; only one or two spots where I briefly had to slow below the speed limit. What a pleasant start for the weekend.

Coming into Sacramento, looking across the wetlands:

At 2000-3000 feet, sprinklings of snow; at 4000 feet, actual snow; at 5000+, wow, snow snow snow!

It's like driving into a Christmas postcard! I hardly ever see snow any more, maybe once a year if that, and its beauty lifts my spirits so high that my whole body can feel it.

Coming over the summit at Donner Pass (although every time I come through at this time of year, I think of those poor souls in the Donner Party who happened to try to pass in a year when the snow came earlier than ever and fell to a record depth--so this is nothin'!).

Although it wasn't snowing during my drive, I began to wonder whether I'd know where to turn, since many of the signs past the summit were obscured by snow stuck to their fronts.

But I arrived, got here, and had to immediately pull over and take a shot of this fairytale house nestled among the snowy trees. Thomas Kincaide got nuthin' on me!

And here's our home away from home, with MUTT MVR alongside.

And looking in towards the front--they got a little drift, and always the most interesting icicles!

And here we are, just before midnight, snuggled in front of the fire.

Happy 2011, everyone! Today it's snowing snowing snowing! Will be an interesting weekend.


  1. Good Walkies! Amazing drive ahead of the snow. And a weekend in a Winter Wonderland in the snow with the doggies and good friends!

  2. Fabulous pictures, as always.

  3. Lucky you! It looks wonderful. Have fun!

  4. How beautiful! Gonna have to go look up Donner Pass...

    Beautiful flower on that flannel plant, never heard of it, but I always feel better is I can see something bloom through the long winter...

    Love the mountains and the snow...don't know if I would want to drive in the mountains in the snow though!

    Have a wonderful weekend!!

  5. @Brenna: This is the most snow, the earliest, that this part of the sierras have had in quite a while, as I understand it. Very good for the rest of CA because we depend on a good thick snowpack for water the rest of the year.

    @Dawn: Wikipedia's article on the Donner Party is a good place to start. :-) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Donner_Party

    Also, so far haven't had to drive in the snow--the roads were all plowed and pretty much dry on my way in, and I'm expecting that'll be the case on the way out. I do have my chains with me just in case, and practiced putting them on before leaving home.

  6. Particularly note the photo of the height of the stumps of the trees they cut--that's always been one of the most poignant images in my readings of the story. They apparently stood for many many years, but none are left today.

  7. Love the photos, especially the road curving into those gorgeous snowy mountains. Takes the breath away just looking at the photo, can't imagine to actually see it in person.

  8. Aww, thanks--you need to take a winter vacation somewhere where there are actually mountains!

  9. Totally agree! We have the Gatineau Hills in the Ottawa area, but hills are so puny and pathetic and hold nothing against real honest to goodness mountains. Plus all the trees on them spoil the view!