Tuesday, January 29, 2008

So Cal Winter Wonderland

One of my main qualms with life on the east coast was winter. The outdoors become an inaccessible wasteland for six months each year. This is especially in my home state of Virginia, where the snow is not consistent enough to allow for perpetual skiing and snowball fights. Every January I found myself swimming the greyness of freezing rain and ice storms, fantasizing of greenery. March did not always bring spring. Throughout March and April I would drive along Skyline Drive looking for the arrival of leaves and the odd bear freshly out of hibernation. But they were holding out until May.

Winter in Los Angeles is having your cake and eating it too. The temperatures dip into the 40s at night, rarely dropping below 60 during the day. Rains fall to clean smog from the air and provide enough moisture to ensure against a fire season that would make the PCH a wilderness road.

If temperate winter is not your thing, there are three sets of high mountain ranges ranging from 30 minutes to 2 hours away. 10,000 foot behomeths covered in snow stand guard over LA, allowing the Mediterranean loving Angelenos the comfort of viewing winter within the comfort of their own climate.

My good friend Nirbhao and I drove out to the LA/Ventura county line two Saturdays ago for a hike along the highest point in the Santa Monica mountains, at 3,111 feet. We were in the midst of a series of storms dropping heavy precipitation on the region. The desert brown of the past few drought years had given way to grass stubble. We hiked along through chaparral thickets and sandstone canyons.

Two drastically different views flanked each side of the ridge. To the east stood a set of snow bound mountains. 11,000 foot San Jacinto stood as a sentinel 100 miles east. The nearer San Gabriels were completely blanketed down to 4,000 feet. Another thousand feet would have brought snow to the mountains that wind through LA.

To the west lay the Pacific, with Catalina and the Channel Islands erupting from the sea.

With winter a short drive away, I am quite content in the land of daytime temperatures always above 55 F, even in the January. Gone are the days of hibernation.

1 comment:

Prabhu Singh said...

Cool, sounds like quite a sight! Next time you'll have to upload some pictures to the blog.
Hope everything's great Ji!
Sat Naam.