Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Snowday 2 - Highway 50

I came home from work early on Sunday. The day was absolutely gorgeous; one of those days with blue skies and crisp breezes that you just can't waste indoors. So, I got home, and told my youngest daughter, Camie, that we gotta go someplace.

So, we headed up highway 50 from Sacramento toward Lake Tahoe. I wasn't sure if we'd make it all the way, what with lots of snow in the mountains, but I figured it would be a nice drive either way. We hit snow at about 3000 feet, right around Apple Hill, about 6 miles east of Placerville.

We stopped at Bridalveil Falls, a small natural waterfall that runs year round about 15 miles east of Placerville. Camie slipped on her snow boots, and out she went. Snow!!!!

I decided to get out and take a look too. Bridalveil Falls is one of those things that I just have to stop and look at each time I drive up highway 50. Right now, it's just a trickle, seeing as that a lot of the water is tied up in the snow, but just wait until spring when things thaw! It becomes a raging torrent!

Except for a few clouds around Placerville, the weather in the mountains stayed clear for us, all the way up to Lake Tahoe. It was fun, following snow plows, skidding around (just a little) on the icy roads, and generally just being amazed at how different the snowy mountains are from my warm valley home. My window washers froze up on me, so I had to suffer with a dirty windshield, which drives me nuts!! This photo is Ceasars Tahoe, as seen from the 5th floor of the Harvey's Casino parking garage. Camie and I stopped in at Harvey's for dinner before we turned around for the drive back home.

Most of the parking garage was covered, but there's always some parts that are exposed. This part, on the 5th floor, was covered with a pristine white blanket of soft powder that Camie just had to get out and play in. We fiddled around in the powder for a while before leaving. She was understandably, a bit chilly right here. The temperature outside at the casinos was about 15F.

After we left the casinos we started home, and Camie asked if we could find one more place to get out and play in the snow. Mind you, it's 9:30pm now, and Sacramento is 92 miles away, but I'm a sucker for my daughter's when they ask nice, so we found one of the beach access streets for Tahoe's shore, and got out to play. The staircase is a beach access for a dock. Where the snow stops behind Camie is actually the shore of Lake Tahoe. All that black area is the lake. It so cold you can see my breath in the photo, hanging like a fog. The moon was full, the air was crystal clear, and in the darkness (this was a few miles away from the casinos) you could see the entire lake in the moonlight, with the snow-covered mountains towering above the water, granite silent. I've been in the Sierra's a lot, and this was one of the most impressive sights I've seen. Too bad the light was too low for any photos to turn out.

This was the last photo before we piled back into the car and turned on the heater. We'd brought our snowboots, jackets, and gloves, but Camie hadn't really planned on getting... you know... IN the snow. She tripped and realized that her jeans really don't offer much protection from the truly freezing cold. If it was a balmy 15F degrees at the casinos (what with all the lights and machinery running on the strip), my car said it was 10F degrees here at the lake. As we drove back home, passing through Meyers just prior to the Echo Summit, my car's thermometer said 6F degrees! That's the coldest weather this valley dweller has ever been in!

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