Monday, February 21, 2011

Mt. Tamalpais - Snow Capped - 2/19/11

          Over the past couple of days the bay area has been experiencing extremely cold temperatures and snow has been falling down to the 1000' elevation level. Just before Sarah drove home from work out at Stinson Beach friday night she got a call from a friend warning her that the Panoramic Highway was covered in snow and that she would need chains or 4WD. Luckily she was able to take the lower elevation Coast Hwy and make it safely home. It is a pretty rare event when it snows on Mt. Tam and even rarer when it sticks. It seems that each time it has snowed in the past during my lifetime I have been out of town or it has been too cloudy too actually see the snow. Of course we had plans to spend the weekend in Calistoga and again I would be deprived of my snow covered homeland. I vowed to get up early Saturday morning, hoping that it was clear, to try and capture some photos before we left for Calistoga.
          Just after 7am I left San Rafael with my camera in hand. It was raining pretty hard, yet there were several sections of the sky that remained partially clear. I stopped briefly in Corte Madera as the clouds gave way for several minutes, although the rain continued to pour making for fairly poor photos.

Snow Covered Mt. Tam & Corte Madera Bike Path

Snowy Egret Snowy Mountain

          I then drove down to Mill Valley hoping to get a few more shots as long as the mountain was not blanketed with clouds. I only had several minutes of poor lighting and foul weather before the clouds blocked all views of the mountain and snow.

Snowy Mount Tamalpais & Richardson Bay

Snowy Mt. Tam & Richardson Bay

          I then drove back home and finished packing for Calistoga. Because we were not in a great hurry to get to Calistoga we decided to drive up Mt. Tam to check things out. We passed the Mountain Home Inn and realized how busy the mountain would be today as the parking lots and all surrounding pullouts were full of cars. It was fun to see a lot of small children in snow suits.

Throckmorton Ridge Blanketed with Snow

          As we suspected Ridgecrest Blvd. was closed and Bootjack and Pantoll parking lots were a zoo. We opted not to park and keep moving. Regretfully we had to get going to Calistoga and leave the snowy mountain behind. On the flip side we would be rewarded with a great snow filled hike along the Palisades in Calistoga. I'm hoping next time it snows on Tam I will get a chance to go on a hike or mountain bike ride in the snow and not just admire it from below.

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