It’s not often we get turned back by snow. In the redwoods, rain and wind come in heavy doses, often scaring the bejesus out of me. But snow? Rare at these low elevations. Today we were headed to High Dome Trail with its trailhead at 1,300 feet. The temps were unseasonably cold, in the mid-30s, and we’d had an inch of rain the day before. We headed east on 199 and by the time we got to Gasquet, a small hamlet some 10 miles up the road, we knew this wasn’t going to be a regular walk on the trail.
We headed up Patrick Creek Road and immediately things got interesting. Little by little the gravel and dirt disappeared under our tires, replaced by deeper and deeper snow. The fir and pine were heavy with clumps of the stuff and under the bright sun, clumps of snow rained down on us as we climbed. We followed in the tracks of a car that had come before us but in about two miles, at the Shelly Creek campground, the tracks veered off the road and it was just us, the all-wheel drive Subaru, and the call phone’s diminishing signal.
Then it got interesting.
About 7 miles into the 9-mile drive up Patrick’s Creek Road to the trailhead we had to ditch the car. The road became too narrow, too rocky and too deep with snow. Then we walked.
The road was deserted, with snow drifts between 6 and 10 inches. But the sky was clear and the views of tree-covered hills an awesome sight. Enormous fun for a while but as we weren’t prepared for the thick, wet stuff, we only made it another mile or so before our wet feet sent us headed back to the car.
We never made it to High Dome, deciding about a mile shy of the trailhead it was smarter to turn back. This walk would have to wait for another day – or we’d have to break out the snow shoes and gators to make it all the way in the snow. But we’ll be back.