Conducting the snow survey in the Trinity Alps Wilderness is usually more of an adventure.
To measure the snowpack for early March, surveyors drove a pickup to the Swift Creek Trailhead in the Trinity Alps Wilderness — no need to ride the snow machines usually employed at this time of year, said Josh Smith from the Watershed Research and Training Center, who coordinates the surveys in the wilderness.
From the trailhead, “we hiked basically to Parker Creek (around 5,000 feet elevation) before there was enough snow to even put our skis on,” Smith said.
Even then the snow was patchy, finally turning more solid at 6,000 to 6,500 feet.
“These measurements have been a little bit sad,” Smith said. “Not a lot of snow.”
Smith said the group did need a utility terrain vehicle with tracks to get to the trailhead for Shimmy Lake.
The following measurements were made at snow courses in the mountains of Trinity County:
► Deadfall Lakes at 7,200 feet had snow depth of 37.5 inches with 12.6 inches of water content.
► Red Rock Mountain in the Trinity Alps Wilderness at 6,700 feet had 38 inches of snow with 16.5 inches of water content.
► Bear Basin in the Trinity Alps Wilderness at 6,500 feet had 37 inches snow depth with 16 inches of water content.
► Shimmy Lake in the Trinity Alps Wilderness at 6,400 feet had 42.5 inches depth with 18 inches of water content.
According to the state Department of Water Resources website, the snowpack for the Trinity River Basin was at 44 percent of average for March 1. This was similar to the statewide snowpack at 43 percent of the March 1 average.
There have been a few inches snowfall in the higher elevations since these surveys were taken. However, snow sensors show the levels are still far from normal.
There is still a little time for the snowpack to improve. Historically, the snowpack is at its peak in April.