We knew there was snow. It was just a question of where it would be. The original plan of heading to Dolly Sods was slowly fading. An optimistic forecast from Whitegrass of more snow building the base of 10 inches quickly turned to rain disintegrating that base of 10 inches. Faced with the prospect of potentially hiking in snow and mud, we started to investigate a Plan B. Pennsylvania had snow - the ranger we spoke to had just been out snowshoeing the other day with pictures on Facebook to prove it... it was just a question of whether or not it would still have enough for snowshoeing. We went for it, and headed to Bear Run for the weekend. As a bonus, Ben was able to join us for the weekend, bringing our merry band up to five.
Bear Run is a lovely spot for ambling along snowy trails. There wasn’t enough snow to make snowshoes practical, but there was enough for us to be breaking trail and pulling on our microspikes. Saturday found us sticking to the trails on the western side of the park, allowing us to detour and see a bit of Fallingwater before heading back along our route. The groupsite on Snowbunny was our destination for the day. Unfortunately, Mimi did not get to use her 12 inch snowstakes, but she did play around with Joffrey's snow shovel and construct what we’re calling the world’s first snofa.
Sunday turned into more of an adventure than expected - we checked out a few more trails in Bear Run and ran around in our snowshoes to bide some time before the Falls City Pub opened at noon. To further kill time, we may have spent too much time constructing the perfect photo op.
The forecast called for light snow Sunday afternoon, and we could see the wispy bits of snow start to fall as we enjoyed our meal. The wispy bits started to multiple, and the snow started to pile up as we hopped back into Beast Mode's car. We headed up the road only to discover that a portion of it was closed due to an accident and cars were being routed onto a side road. No problem, we thought, as we consulted the GPS on our phones - this side road would get us back to the main road. It was a good plan on paper; less so when the roads descend into a valley and the only way up is an unplowed and steep hill with a layer of ice underneath an inch or two of snow. The Civic valiantly attempted multiple routes but was thwarted by gravity and the ice. Beast Mode, however, showed his wide range of snow driving skills, expertly navigating the car back down hills and not curling up in a ball to weep (as Shuttle would have...).
We eventually aimed for the road that followed a stream, and were correct in our assumption that it would be flatter than the other ones leading back to the main road. The only reasonable thing to do -- especially since the main road was still closed in the direction we wanted to go, and the forecast had gone from light snow to OMG! snow -- was to head back to Falls City. The table we had abandoned was still empty. We settled back in, ordered beers, made friends, and learned that the JMT crew got the permits it wanted. Things were looking up!
After giving it a few hours, we hopped back in the car. The roads were still unplowed, but passable, if just barely. With great skill, Beast Mode got us back to the main road, which was only slightly less covered with snow, and finally to the interstate, which saw decreasing amounts of snow as we got further south and to lower elevations. And in case you’ve ever wondered if the bridges really do freeze before roads, the answer is "Oh Shit!" - yes, yes they do.
Thanks to everyone for a great weekend! Bring on more snow!