March 22nd, 2006

There's No Day Like a Snow Day

The Saturday before last brought our first consequential precipitation in months. Strangely, even though spring started arriving here in January, this storm was sufficiently cold to give us snow at higher elevations. When we woke up the next morning, I had an e-mail from a friend asking whether I'd had a chance to look at "our" mountain -- as we refer to the western terminus of the Catalina Range -- before the snow had melted.

Even though I'd risen pretty late, the whiteness was still there for the seeing. Since Kim had to do some things for work, I volunteered to take Skylar on a drive to look for material for her homework assignment on life in the desert. By the time we got out of the house, it was nearly 1pm. Nevertheless, I held out hope of finding some snow for her to touch. Remembering that I'd seen cars driving down from the town of Oracle with snow on them in previous winters, I decided to head up that way.

Success! As we neared the turn-off, I could see snow pretty far down the hills on the outskirts of town. Soon there was white stuff on the side of the road. I snaked my way up towards the water tower until I found the perfect place to park. Soon, Skylar was tromping around in her sneakers, feeling that uniquely muffled crunch for the first time. And then she was throwing snowballs my way with enormous glee:

After a half hour at that location, I decided to press on to Oracle State Park, which I'd never visited before. There Skylar and I hiked a short trail to a view, passing a dead skunk along the way, and made a 5-minute snowman:

Adorable, isn't it? That was one of several nice close-ups Skylar captured with her camera. Here she is in the process of taking it, with a recontextualized cactus for good measure:

On the way back down the trail, we threw some more snowballs, then stopped to contemplate the dead skunk once more, since Skylar had decided to make the corpse the "desert observation" required for her homework. The Catalinas looked even more beautiful on the drive back then they had on the way there. I eventually had to pull to the side of the road to record the remarkable sky and the snow-dappled ridge:

There are many good things about living where we do. But proximity to that view of the Catalinas has to be one of the best. I'm glad my parents got to see the way the snow that fell this past weekend transformed them and the other major ranges in the area. I wish it would snow every weekend.