By Bob Spiwak

It’s a sunny Monday and despite weather forecasts to the contrary, one gets the feeling we are over the hump. If you refer to the Off the Wall column on this page, there is a bit of chilling history that may well put that feeling to the lie. For now we can report that the snow measurer thing at Harts Pass is again sending data after weeks on and off. The snow depth as of this morning is an even 100 inches, the snow/water content gives us a reading of 28.5 or 133 percent of average.

Earlier in the week when the last larger snowfall came there appeared a caution that its arrival (or departure) could produce rising river flows, and the possibility of dangerous high water and even flooding or washouts on small streams and creeks. We have had no word of any of this happening and are thankful for that, in particular along the areas ravaged by the past two years’ fires.

The birds are appearing in greater numbers, nothing to write home about although this is home and I’m doing just that. So we have more chickadees, mountain and black cap, ever bolder, hanging around the porch, occasionally banging into the door window and, as is their nature, buzzing our heads as we go outside, sometimes with birdseed, sometimes without.

Steller’s jays have trebled in number. There was a loner hanging about all winter, then another appeared a few weeks ago and currently they have become a trio, operating individually to snatch sunflower seeds not only from their feeding place, but also what is there for the chickadees.

I’ve been astonished by the numbers of customers at the Mazama store, especially at lunch time. Going there on Sunday at about 1 p.m., the parking lot was over-full as were the tables inside. The usual checkout line was refilling itself. On a non-holiday weekend with Washington Pass shut down, this would indicate that people, not all of them skiers, were driving up here to eat or shop — all coming from somewhere to the east to which they would have to return.

The snow. It seems to be playing a game of tag with the sun as to which will embrace us more. So far the white stuff is in the lead and lately it’s been two or three snow days, then sunshine for a day, then more snow and the cycle again begins, with the sun diminishing the pile against the snow gauge only to be reinstated with the next snowfall.

How much? An anonymous but much-appreciated person gave snow-depth information covering the past 30-plus years. This appeared on the Bulletin Board and is based on statistics from the Spokane national weather site. Many of us remember the 1996-’97 winter as the snowiest in memory, a whopping 136.5 inches fell. There were reports from Lost River of over 12 feet of undrifted snow. We got off easy here in tropical West Boesel with a maximum of about 7 feet. The two previous years were no slouches — 1995-’96 had 82.8 inches and 1994–’95 measured 81.6 inches.

We’ll have to wait a month or two to determine our score for this season.  One thing is certain, there is more to come.

PREVIOUSLY, IN MAZAMA