A Dry Start to the New Year

I got out for my first mountain bike rides of the year last week. Typical January weather…sunny and in the 50s! Shorts and a short sleeve jersey were all you needed on some days. With the exception of a little ice in the shadiest areas, conditions on the ground feel more like late summer or early fall.

C Hill Trail
A less than snowy Sierra Nevada

Just how dry is it out there? It’s been reported that December was the driest on record for this area in 130 years, with no rain or snow recorded. We’re continuing the streak into January, with no precipitation on the horizon at least through the middle of the month. Fire danger warnings have been issued, and many wild fires continue to pop up throughout the area.

snow pack
Snowpack compared to last year

Flume Trail Bikes up at Spooner Lake reports that the high country is even still open for riding. People are actually riding the Flume Trail! According to their Facebook page:

If you ride in the high country assume that there will be water/ice around every corner. Have fun but be careful. There have been a few rescues from the Marlette Lake area in the last couple of weeks. It is a bit snowy and icy around Marlette Lake.

C Hill Trail
Looking towards Kings Canyon in the distance

Longview Trail
This north facing canyon is usually buried in snow

I also heard from a running friend that her group was able to do the Lakeview-Hobart Reservoir-Ash Canyon Loop without much trouble at all. Just a little snow and ice here and there in the shade.

Longview Trail
Tom Price on the high plateau

Here are a few more photos from the area…

Canyon Behind C Hill
Canyon behind C Hill, looking towards Prison Hill

Amber Waves of Grain
Dry golden grass in Ash Canyon

Creek Trail
No snow along the creek either

There is no snow to be seen on Slide Mountain or Mount Rose either. For a 10,776 ft mountain to be snowless in January is just crazy. Strangely enough, the water level in Washoe Lake looks decent without much beach exposed.

Deadman's Creek
Even the high peaks above Washoe Lake are snow free

For the next several days, we don’t have much choice but to enjoy this nice weather. I think everyone feels a bit nervous though. Low snowpack can mean bad wildfires later in the year, making it too smokey to healthily enjoy outdoor activities. Drought in the mountains has also driven the bears into town in years past. There seemed to be bears everywhere back in 2007! Who knows what the months ahead will bring though. We sure got a big surprise last February.

For now, get out there and ride!

2 thoughts on “A Dry Start to the New Year

  1. Hi Jeff,

    We’ll have to make a trade on the trail tours….I’ve never been down to ride Ash Canyon or anything in Carson for that matter.


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