“Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves…”
~ John Muir, naturalist,
author, environmental philosopher and preservationist
Spring is here! We welcomed its first day while in Yosemite. Spring thaw came early this year to the western Sierras, although a winter-type storm was expected the day we headed home. Weather continued mild in our part of the woods. Easter Sunday will arrive, in all its glory, under clear and sunny skies.
The last days of winter and the first of spring left Yosemite’s human population at a bare minimum. No complaints here. Doug and I had Cook’s Meadow Loop in Yosemite Valley to ourselves. The rest of the world was silenced by the waterfall’s thunderous rushing water and crashing ice chunks as the sounds reverberated off the granite walls. A gentle warm, but misty, breeze filled the air. Yes, all was right with the world that fine Sunday morning.
With a deep snowpack in the Sierras and brimming reservoirs in northern California, the four-year drought would appear to be coming to an end. Unfortunately, especially for Southern California, that is only wishful thinking. While the northern part of the state is perhaps on the road to recovery, we have been left in the barely dampened dust. Since our Deodar cedar and its drought-related brush with death, I’m on heightened alert for other fallen victims. With deep soakings thankfully our tree recovered; many others can not be saved.
Stands of brown Ponderosa pines dot the landscapes throughout California and other western states. While in Yosemite, I spoke with a National Park ranger. The news is not good. Armies of tiny bark beetles are ravaging drought-weakened pine trees. Ordinarily a tree’s sap repels these pests from boring through the bark. Due to diminished water supplies, sap production is greatly reduced, thus allowing beetle invasion. To make matters worse they often carry fungus, further weakening the tree. Massive tree die-off not only impacts wildlife, but also creates the “perfect storm” for the outbreak of wild fires. Precipitation is vital … either rain or snow is okay.
The winds and the warmer temperatures are expected to “hop” from the foothills, by Monday. An unseasonably cold air mass coming out of the Bering Sea impacts our weather through next Thursday. Both rain and low elevation snow are possible.
Until then …
Chag Sameach & Happy Easter
Sue Kilpatrick is a
Crescenta Valley resident and
Official Skywarn Spotter for the
National Weather Service. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.