By Bob Spiwak
Fall is definitely here. The trees are coloring rapidly, and in about two weeks they will peak into splendiferous yellows and golds and maybe a trace of red here and there. Nighttime temperatures have gone into the 30s and the wood stove has, on a few rainy occasions, been cooking throughout the day.
This Monday morning offered a salad of autumn visions: Snow on Last Chance Mountain, I would guess down to about 4,000 feet. Goat Peak of course had a mantle. There were fluffy white clouds above, then the snow, like Roquefort dressing covering the next clear layer. Then fog, and below that the greens of treetops.
The rains came and went throughout the week, with some almost torrential downpours, especially at night. There were two slides on Goat Creek Road just beyond the East Fawn Creek cutoff, and this morning three county rigs were busy cleaning up the mess on the road and in the ditches.
Meanwhile, Walt Foster’s alfalfa fields produced their fourth cutting. It appears the north side got baled during a short spell of dry weather, but across the road lie wet windrows awaiting, hopefully, more dry weather. Good luck. The forecast is for more wet right through Friday at least.
The ducks have made intermittent visits to the soup kitchen meals of cracked corn we provide and they come in varying numbers. But the visits grow less and less, and soon they will cease as the quackers head south over a hail of birdshot.
Bill and Patty Karro came down from their summer-long stint at Harts Pass last weekend. They have been up at the top since the end of June as hosts at Meadows and Harts Pass campgrounds along with “dispersed sites,” camping areas that are just that – away from the formal areas and their accommodations.
Bill noted that on Monday night, Sept. 23, four inches of wet snow fell. That quickly compressed to half that depth because it was so wet. He added that the number of hikers this year was double the past, and he attributes this to the publication of the book Wild this year.
The Karros still have concerns for hikers on the Pacific Crest Trail who have not yet made it to Harts Pass on their northward journeys. They were impressed by the number of trekkers who were unprepared for the late season weather in the high country.
No wonder, with weight carried being of paramount importance, and beginning the hike in the hot sun of southern California, down jackets and rain gear could become a hindrance. Until an early snowfall or rainstorm.