20 December 2014

Mount Pinos

Los Padres National Forest

Locate the trailhead.

There has been plenty of snow dumping and the weather looks good, so it is off to Mount Pinos to crush some of it under new snowshoes. The road is clear all the way to the top with only a few wet spots to worry about actually being ice and there do not seem to be too many people about as we get there.

snow climbing the trees
A bit of snow on everything.

We head up first along the road and then along a somewhat lesser used path that is a little more direct. It is above freezing but windy so still feels very cold. The trees full of melting snow rain down, especially when the wind gusts. We rather want to get out from under them, but find ourselves coming into cloud before we do.

frozen drops on the end of pine needles
Some pine needles show a little bit of thaw and freeze.

It is nice out in the open, for a little bit, but it is a bit misty in the clouds. As we go further, the mist gets harder. Under the trees again, the melt is even more pronounced. In view of the radio facility, I take off for the benchmark. Oddly, no tracks go this way even though it is the actual peak. We sink into the powdery snow substantially when making our own trail and the rain is still coming down. Once at the top, Bernard wants to go to a south peak that he is sure is a little higher and refuses to believe we are at the peak. There is a southerly bump that looks higher, but then he just goes along with the tracks to the old wildlife viewing station, which is not the peak.

socked in open space
Poking around on a random bump on the way to the actual peak and the rain is coming down.

We poke out toward Sawmill Mountain, which we would like to go to, but the windy and rainy conditions are making snowshoeing miserable, if we are honest. The complete lack of tracks going that way show that everyone else has made the same choice. The rain does not let up as we go back, feeling warm enough but on the verge of being too soggy to stay that way. Crowds have grown substantially, but the rain has shortened most stays and the lot is not so full as one would expect for a snow covered Pinos on a Saturday.




©2015 Valerie Norton
Posted 5 January 2015

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