Hoping for another great snowshoeing trip during our Christmas weekend, we eagerly headed to Prosser Creek Reservoir, a short drive from our chalet rental and usually a good easy snowshoeing spot.
But as we were driving on the dirt road over the reservoir, this year’s lack of snow was getting more obvious by the minute. For the third year in the row, snow was scarce in the Sierra Nevada, and 2014 was particularly bad, with only 5% of the regular snowpack on the mountains. With the unseasonably warm temperatures, the little rain that did came down was just that, rain drops. Not cold enough even at high altitude to turn into the precious little white flakes the mountain needed.
Where is the snow?
We did not even take the snowshoes out – it was pointless. Plus, we now had our new North Face Chilkat II Winter Boots, brand new from REI, and ready to take on some “powder”, so we decided to just hike, a good opportunity to test the supposed warmth and waterproof features of our new shoes.
Again, we were by ourselves. No car in the side parking, no people around. This always surprised me – we were maybe 15-20 minutes from Truckee, the main town hub in the area, with hundreds of tourists, but none in sight a short drive away.
It turned be to a great hike – scattered snow patches here and there, but mostly ground with emerging flower buds and trees slowing waking up from their very short winter rest.
As we followed a light market trail, we were seeing glimpse of the Prosser Creek Reservoir through the pine trees, and kept pushing up, aiming for the top of Boca Hill for complete views of the area.
We had a late departure (or an early afternoon, depending on how you see it), after a rather lazy morning and leisurely brunch. We could see the sun getting down quite quickly, but “summitted” on time to see it sunset. Always a sight for sore eyes, and even more beautiful in the vast horizon of the Sierras. Breathtaking. And breath taking I was, slowly…
We did not linger long, just a few moments to snap a picture or two (or ten as it turned out), admiring the views up to Stampede Reservoir and even to Reno, with lights coming up contrasting with the darkening sky. We made our way down, trailblazing in straight line and picking up the pace towards the car, and made in a record time before the actual dark night.
Where: Boca Hill, Prosser Creek Reservoir, Truckee, California
Distance: less than 2 miles
Difficulty: moderately easy
Duration: 2 hours back
Elevation gain: 920 feet (Parking by the Dam 5,720 feet – Boca Hill 6,640 feet)