Winter Has Arrived

Winter has officially arrived in Yosemite . The official indicators of winter, at least for me, include 1) The Four-Mile Trail being closed because of avalanche danger, 2) Badger Pass opening, and 3) I now have to don a fleece jacket. Being from New England, I still don’t think the climate in Yosemite really qualifies as winter (not when you can ski in shorts)—it’s more like an extended autumn with snow. I recently rode the train from California to Boston, and my route on the Empire Builder took me through Washington, Montana, North Dakota—states that really look and feel cold! When we stopped in Fargo , North Dakota , it was -5F. Yesterday the temperature was over 60F at my home and I read a book on my deck in shorts.

My friend Mara (of the Tenaya Lake swim—see 8/27/2005) has proposed yet another adventure: skiing over Tioga Pass , through Tuolumne and to Yosemite Valley . I have always wanted to visit Tuolumne as it sleeps in the winter; I’ve envisioned a world of sublime quietude, where the silence almost echoes. I read the Tuolumne Rangers report religiously and with envy.

To train for this adventure, I’ve been trying to squeeze in two skiing treks a week. Glacier Point Road provides a wonderful and almost limitless place to glide through the snow (although in recent years as snowshoeing has become more popular, the groomed trails are getting trampled). Today, I skied out to the first good viewpoint of the Clark Range . I meet a nice couple from Sacramento celebrating their first wedding anniversary; they had been married at the Yosemite Chapel.