Making Plans for Summer

posted Mar 11, 2013, 11:50 AM by Paul Wagner
We've been getting a lot of requests for information about backpacking this summer.  Many of those questions have to do with equipment, routes, permits, and trailheads.  Those are the easy ones.  The harder ones have to do with the weather. 
Yes, we know that 2013 has been a light snow year.  And if that continues, the high country will be opening up earlier this year.  (The mosquitoes will be out earlier, too.)  But don't count on anything yet.  There is still a lot of time between now at late May, and you know how fickle Mother Nature can be, don't you?
We live in the Napa Valley, so we are always concerned about the weather.  We have an old saying here:  Mother Nature always laughs last.  So when you plan your trips for 2013, go ahead and start getting your permits.  Plan to start a little earlier, or aim a little higher than usual.  But keep your options open.  The photo below is from a trip at about 5,000 feet in June during a "light snow year."
A beautiful scene...a warm tent, a down bag, and snow outside.©
And don't forget that just because there isn't a lot of snow doesn't mean the trails are easy.  High water from snowmelt can make any trail a real adventure...we chose not to try and cross this creek, for obvious reasons.
There wasn't any easy way to do we opted for plan "B"©
Most importantly, pay attention to the weather reports.  Because Mother Nature has a wicked sense of humor.