Mr. Snow Miser, Yosemite and the Sierra Need You! A Very Dry Hike on the Dana Plateau

Dana Plateau and Mt Dana on January 8, 2012 (Photo by Beth Pratt)We need the Snow Miser in the Sierra!Remember the Snow Miser? In the cartoon, The Year Without A Santa Claus, he and his brother, the Heat Miser, battled over the weather. In a memorable ragtime song and dance routine the Snow Miser exclaimed, “whatever I touch turns to snow in my clutch!”

While I was wandering around Dana Plateau this weekend and gazing at the alarmingly dry landscape in Yosemite and the Sierra, I figured out the solution to this snowless winter. We need the Snow Miser to pay a visit to California! He’ll fix everything.

(The Rankin/Bass reference explained-I am GenXer and their cartoons defined my childhood—along with the Brady Bunch. Heck, maybe we should call in Mike Brady as well. He solved every problem.)

Here’s a video diary I made of my hike with some good views of the surrounding, almost snowless mountains.

While visiting the plateau on this hike—the latest I had ever accessed it—the lack of water and snow attested to how radical a departure from normal this “Marchuary,” (as I have heard it dubbed) is for the Sierra. The creek that flows out of the plateau was bone dry, leaving a sandy bed exposed for the first time in who knows how many years. This summer I had made multiple trips up here in August and September, and the area contained more snowcover then! When I arrived back home, I checked my photos from the latest in the fall I had made to the plateau before this hike (November 4, 2009) and viewed a winter landscape, much earlier in the year.

Dry creek bed on the Dana Plateau (photo by Beth Pratt)

The Dana Plateau remains one of my favorite places on the planet, and I have explored the area extensively. The plateau escaped the last few glaciations in Yosemite, and as such, has remained relatively untouched by some estimates for the last 25 million years. When I hike in the Dana Plateau, my feet trod upon an ancient land, and one that appears very different from the surrounding mountains. Here is a video I made about the Dana Plateau in November of 2009. Check out the snow cover difference from my first video.

As I note in my video diary of the hike, being on the snowless landscape in January had a very voyeuristic feel to it, like barging in on someone while they are undressing. The landscape appeared naked and in need of its winter coat. Hiking this late in winter has been an amazing experience, but we’ll hope Mr. Snow Miser makes a visit to Yosemite and the Sierra Nevada soon! Does anyone know his Twitter handle?

Photo by Beth Pratt


Photo by Beth Pratt