Day 6 (Click
on photo to look at photos)
I woke up to a totally white scene -
about 4" of snow at least. And today was the day I'd planned to do the
South Rim hike! Was it still worth trying to get to the Park - were the
roads passable?? Well, I'd just have to see.
Alpine itself was pretty empty, but the car, even in 2wd seemed to be
gripping OK, so I decided it couldn't be very icy, just new snow. And
that was how it proved, although even by 8am the gritting had been done
on some of the worst bends on the road south from Alpine. It was, of
course, very pretty. I live in the south of England, and we seldom get
snow, so this was quite a treat.
The journey took a little longer than usual, as I was driving more
carefully, even though after about 30 miles, most of the snow had gone
or never come. But as I neared Study Butte the snow lay around again,
and the entrance to the park was very white. By about 10.30am I was
finally in the Basin, and although I knew that I'd never do the South
Rim, I was determined to do something at least. So wrapping up well, I
set out on the Pinnacles trail - deciding that I'd just see how far it
was sensible to go.
I met a Ranger coming down the trail who'd been up a couple of miles,
and she said it was OK, which as it was new snow and quite crisp, it
certainly was. Following the trail was no problem either, although it
was slow work, mainly because of branches that were weighed down with
snow and curved over the path.
It was a truly beautiful and magical experience, made even better when
the sun broke through the clouds. The hike up to the Pinnacles was
great, and I managed to get just about as far as the Emory Peak trail
intersection. But by then I was conscious that the temperature seemed
to be dropping, and certainly the clouds were again closing in,
visibility being reduced to a light mist. Safety first, I thought,
there's no point walking simply for the hell of it, if I can't see
much, then there's really no point.
So back down the trail I came, arriving back about 3pm. Time to phone
home, which I did from the phone outside the store. And when I finally
got into my car, the outside temperature read 27F. That's cold enough
for me at mid afternoon, so regretfully I drove away, leaving the Basin
and its snowy beauty.