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[pct-l] Sierra snow

    Knock-on-wood, Ken, but it *did* look that way when I took a recent
short backpack to Sawmill Pass. (the one between Kearsarge and Bishop
passes; it ends at the headwaters, I believe, of Woods Creek - north of
the Rae Lakes.)  Admittedly, that eastside entry-point does get alot of
sun, but "serious" snow-level was near 7000+' (up from the 5500' I saw 6
weeks (?) ago near Kearsarge. - from that extrapolate lower elevations in
less exposed areas - there's still a long-g way to go. Places where
there's a bit of foot-traffic should be easy hiking even higher, since
the snow would be pounded down. Sawmill isn't too popular, so it's mostly
postholing there - and the deep snow  was annoyingly soft/wet midday on.
At 9000' or so, snow was compacted to deep, hard snow (ice in the earlier
hours), but  got pretty mushy in the hottest sun. That trail is one of
those "bring lots of water, it's a long dry haul"-types, but now there
are streams running from the creek everywhere, and the creek itself was
pretty impressive; I got my feet wet on the usual step-across crossing!
There hasn't been much rain (warm or otherwise) this year on the eastside
at lower elevations; all the precipitation has been falling as snow. (The
storms have been coming down from Alaska) It snowed again last weekend,
for instance...
   Temps lovely: probably 60's but felt like 70. No bugs - yet. Excellent
snow-hiking, but there was alot of drifting/slippery patches in the shady
areas and the wet snow after 11am or so made slow going. Near freezing at
night still, but it was *much* colder not long ago. The PCT area looked
socked-in with snow still as far as I could see, but it's fairly high
elevation around there, and a long way from Campo. I imagine the creeks
(and places that aren't even official creeks) will be torrential when the
snow's been melting for awhile... Oh, and below snow-level, even the
usually-barren lava fields were blanketed with flowers where snow had
melted; the class '98 should have the *prettiest* hike ever!   bj

On Mon, 27 Apr 1998 08:10:00 -0500 Ken Marlow <kmarlow@ngs.org> writes:
>Could the trends apparent in Mark Dixon's snow sensor graphs  ( 
>http://www.bigsky.net/mdixon/snow/snow.htm ) imply the start of a 
>snow melt in the Southern Sierra? It's starting to look a little 
>Looks like Bishop Pass really got hit!

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