Monday, January 21, 2008

Let It Snow - Part II - the Terms and Conditions

Snow should live in the mountains, from approximately Thanksgiving through March, starting around 3000 feet, more or less. It can visit sea level +400 a few times a year, but it should be when I have no need to leave the house, like a Saturday afternoon. It should not stick to the roads, but if it must, it should be gone within 24 hours and work/school had better be cancelled during that time. If I must drive in the snow, someone who knows what he/she is doing with a 4-wheel drive and/or chains, should be behind the wheel.

Snow broke the rules Monday night. I was already home, but Jeff had just his bike ride home when it started snowing heavily here. By the time he got home at ~ 8 pm, we'd gotten several inches of powder on the roads. Seattle has little to no infrastructure to manage snow, so the next morning, the slush that had been pushed around a little in the evening had frozen solid, leaving icy ruts and a totally inconsistent surface. I decided to put on boots and walk to a bus stop where I was lucky to catch one of the few busses with chains that was shuttling passengers from the top to the bottom of the hill. Jeff (foolishly? bravely?) biked in, although he walked the first mile or so off the highest part of the hill.

Snow was perfectly behaved today. A friend and I took advantage of the holiday and a rare sunny day and went snowshoeing. We drove about an hour to the closest ski area and the roads were dry until we were on back roads, and even then they were hard packed snow. We easily found a parking spot on a trailhead where we found lots of tracks but few treckers that meandered between evergreens and a frozen lake. The sun was bright, the snow was powdery, and it was the perfect way to spend a winter day.


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