– Going home while winter is still chasing us –
It’s an old symbolic ritual for us to wash the last Baja dust off our bodies here and get the warm cloths out again for the last part of our trip home. In the days you can walk naked in the snow, in the nights it’s still bitter cold but you couldn’t care less when sitting in the warm pool and gazing at the stars.
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It’s always a bit risky to be up there this time of the year in almost 7000 feet elevation; winter is not quite over yet and the weather can turn violent at any time and leave you stuck in misery for days. The passes can be snowed in and closed within hours.
This time it all looked perfect, but I still dug out my weather radio and sure enough, one day, dozing in the pool, I heard this: ‘An approaching already severe weather system is likely to merge with a jet stream over the Pacific and grow to dangerous levels and bring havoc to the entire west coast within 24 hours. 100 mph winds on the Sierras and heavy snow fall down to the foothills.‘
Looking down on Mono Lake from Conway Pass.
It was just a little hazy but eerily warm when we crawled up 8500 foot Monitor Pass and looked down on the winter land. The sunset in deep yellow-red haze on the western side was ominous and some early gusts came funneling up from below. We usually never go this way but the only chance to escape this weather was to get low and north fast.
We slept a few hours and kept pushing north on I-5. Frightening, increasing winds around Mt. Shasta, torrential rain on Siskiyou Pass. We knew we were running directly before the front.
Finally in the wilderness of the Rogue River valley in Oregon we know a beautiful hideaway and crashed for a rest. The wind didn’t reach us there, but it rained as if the world was about to end. Even at barely 1000 feet it started to mix with snow. Waterfalls started running all around but we were warm and safe and listened to the unfolding drama up in the mountains on the radio.
Waterfalls wherever we looked. What a miracle after all those months in the desert!
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And it wasn’t over yet. A few days later, up in Washington, less than a hundred miles from home, the winter caught us again. Heavy snow, high winds, tense white-knuckle driving on icy roads, many accidents. But just around the corner, around the Olympic mountains, our little Sequim lay under the usual blue hole. It wasn’t exactly sunny, but very pleasant; and we were home.
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Now it’s time again to read 5 months worth of mail, to pay some bills, to gradually browse through a tall stack of Newsweek – it is so funny, in hindsight, that I didn’t really miss much.
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Klaus April 4. 201