Spring in the Sierras

The Sierra's weather patterns are rarely predictable.  At times you'll see late afternoon thunderstorms in the summer and warm sunny days in late October.  Spring is no different.  You can be covered in snow one day and soaked in sun the next.  My last trip to the mountains was no different.  Being preoccupied with the end of the school year and wrapping up the last bits of graduation, teacher evaluations, and budget development, I didn't pay much attention to the weather report.  Packing the night before our trip, I threw my new Redington Butter Stick and Hydrogen in to my fishing pack and made sure I had a warm jacket.  I've been known to forget little details like sleeping bags, so I made sure to get that stuffed in my bag too.  

After school was out, Ashley and I rushed out of town and towards the foothills as fast as we could.  We didn't have a big itinerary for the weekend.  I was hoping to do a little fishing, snap a few photos, and generally decompress at high elevation.  Although our plan were loose, one thing I hadn't planned on was snow.  So I was quite surprised to see snow falling through the pines as we reached 6,000 feet.  The road was freshly covered and there wasn't a single car track heading East into the Sierras.   That night we set up tent in the dark with light snow coming in fits and starts.  With the camp set up, we climbed into the tent for warmth and fell asleep to the sound of snow falling on the nylon a few feet from our sleeping bags. 

Our first day was filled with more cold weather and massive snow flakes.  With the river running high and the wind pushing through the granite peaks, we spent most of the day between the campfire and reading under the cover of our rain fly.  At one point in the afternoon, we both turned to each other smiling with how ridiculous it was for us to be tent camping like this.  We were the only ones at the campsite in a tent.  Everyone else was tucked away in their campers and shiny airstream trailers.  As the evening approached, I even asked if we should pack up to head home.  The weather was getting pretty rough and the fishing wasn't going to be much good with the amount of runoff coming down the system.  Against all logic, we decided to stick it out and grab a few more bundles of wood.  Smores, hotdogs, a little fire water, and the campfire kept us going through the night. 

The next morning we woke up to more cold temperatures but a bluebird sky and the prospect of warm weather was on the horizon.  Ashley whipped up a skillet full of eggs and bacon and we sipped coffee standing around the fire.  We would have sat in our camp chairs but the snow had melted and then frozen over night making for little ice rinks in our seats.  We took a walk down to the river and I decided to try and pick apart some of the softer water with heavy split shot and nymphs.  No luck.  After an hour or so, the sun was coming out in earnest and our camping gear was drying out just in time to pack up and head home.  It wasn't exactly the camping trip either of us had envisioned but it actually turned out really and we both left feeling rested and ready to attack another work week.  When trips don't go as planned, sometimes it's nice to just sit and enjoy the ride.  Even if the ride includes wind, snow, and a day full of reading The Drake in the tent!