Winter in the mountains can always throw surprises your way. This last weekend we watched time and the season itself warp from winter to spring. This created some good opportunities and some unpleasant reminders. But first, what exactly happened?
Nice normal winter
Last week it was mid winter around here which usually means temperatures between 15-25 F, and two to three, or four feet of snow with the drifts. And thats exactly what we had. Of course for this time of year there were those occasional annoying problems that come with the territory. One of the 3 snowmobiles had a broken frame bolt and needed a visit to the shop. Unfortunately the pickup was accidentally stuck up top near the house for the winter when we missed bringing it down by 1 day and 18″ of new snow.
Other minor things were my own fault; the well hose was frozen irretrievably into the snow, and I’d need it soon to fill the water cistern. Same situation for a 100 foot extension cord out to the barn area left from stacking the hay. (good thing, there’s enough hay and its put away!)
So all in all, it was a typical winter around here, that is, until …
Can you say Big Pineapple Express?
Here in the Northwest US we often get a stream of moisture off the Pacific ocean that originates in Hawaii. The arctic Canadian air slides down the Cascade mountains and tends to stay there(here). This means western Washington gets the brunt of the moisture and sometimes it pushes this way and brings wet snow instead of dry. Not the case last Friday. This one was a wopper of a pineapple, and pushed over the Cascade mountains with above average temperatures and lots of rain!
The snow level went up to seven or eight thousand feet, and lots of rain and wind. We watched in horror the past three mornings as virtually everything melted and the white snowy local view turned spotted. That is brown with white spots. When we’re in the winter mode, this can be depressing to watch. Its way to early to end winter, and freezing temperatures will return tonight.
Is the glass half empty or half full? Trying to view this as a “half full” situation, two minor good things are clear. One, I now have an extra unused hose since the old one is now available. In fact we ran the well 5 hours and filled the cistern today so that chore is done for the next 5-6 weeks. Two, likewise, I have a new unused 100 foot extension cord, since I was able to retrieve the old one from the barn area. We can always use extra extension cords around here, it never hurts to have a spare.
Of course there were some good sunny spells in between downpours and we got a little extra solar power, probably 720WH instead of 240WH on an overcast day.
Problems down the road
I sure hope the weather service is right about winter returning tonight with freezing temperatures. We are right on the edge of an ugly transportation situation. MUD season. The snowmobile trail normally is a 12-15″ slab of ice in the spring. It gives us more time to ride on top of the mud without getting into it. This Pineapple Express had so much rain that it soaked thru the trail near our home. Yesterday, hauling the cargo sled and gear we broke through a foot of compressed slush and hit mud! Actually got my first ‘STUCK’ of the year!!
If the situation got any worse, I don’t want to think of it. In fact I’ve not written about it, but over the years there have been times we had to hike the last stretch to the house and carry gear up that hill. They never lasted more that a week, and were real motivators for alternative travel solutions.
So, here we are in the mid March timezone waiting for winter again!
How is your winter progressing? What kinds of extremes have you experienced this year? Tell us about it in the comments below!