Lining the ridge like ancient statues, the Three Chimneys (9,685 ft.) receive the season’s first dusting of snow.
Story and photos by Thomas Atkins
Last weekend’s storm painted the higher peaks of the Sierra with a dazzling white dusting of snow while the foothills received a refreshing and much needed douse of rain throughout Friday evening and most of Saturday. While lower elevations received up to an inch of rain, the forecast called for the storm to bring snow as low as 7,000 feet. This of course excited me, and while others were spending their Saturday indoors, I spent the day in the heart of the season’s first storm. With rain pounding the pavement I drove up Highway 108 and turned off at Clark’s Fork until I reached the trailhead at the end of the road. Cloaked in raingear I proceeded to hike along the Clark Fork trail hoping to eventually reach the snowline. Following the trail into the Carson Iceberg Wilderness was an eerie, but beautiful experience, and as the ground soaked in the rain, I soaked in the sights, sounds and smells of the dampened forest. While the river rushed past my feet, fingers of fog floated through the air above, haunting the trees like ghosts. After a few hours of hiking up to Boulder Lake (8,200 ft.), my mission of reaching the snow was abandoned and I returned to the truck cold and damp, but in no way defeated. I did after all see a bear…which is always a bonus. That evening, enjoying the warmth of a fire at a nearby campground, I watched the stars begin to make their appearance through the clouds and was looking forward to another hike in clearer weather. Awaking to a sky of blue, I headed up the pass to catch a glimpse of the storm’s powdery offering in the morning light. From a viewpoint above Kennedy Meadows, it was clear to see that only the peaks and ridges above 9,000 feet had been draped in a frosty gown. Yet although these towering peaks received an early taste of winter, the rest of the high country will be joining them soon…and the slopes will be open for the winter! I can’t wait! Hopefully, these pictures will hold you over until ski and snowboard season starts…
Red Peak (10,099 ft.) in the Carson Iceberg Wilderness shows off its fresh coat of snow.
Wearing its new winter cloak, Kennedy Peak (10,718 ft.) towers above Kennedy Meadows.
Snow covered Forsyth Peak (11,180 ft.) in the foreground and Tower Peak (11,755 ft.) in the background seen from the top of Bell Mountain
A snow covered Haystack Peak in Yosemite National Park.