My girlfriend Marie, @xelanil and I ventured into the San Lucia Mountains via Tassajara Road. It's a legendary 4x4 road that provides ample access to the backcountry of Las Padres National Forest, Ventana Wilderness, and Julia Pfeiffer State Park. It parallels the Big Sur Area of Highway 1 via a single lane dirt road that traces iconic ridgelines.
Our plan was to hike the Pine Ridge Trail from China Camp Campground to the Ventana South Cone. Atop the peak, we would see dozens of ridges, the ocean, and Julia Pfieffer State Park of Big Sur.
We started to see coated trees lower than 2,000'.
The forest was absolutely covered by the time we got to the Las Padres boundary:
There's no snowplow service in these mountains because the roads rarely see snow.
We parked my Subaru at this puddle, with many miles of dirt road between us and the trailhead. Driving a Subaru on a 4x4 dirt road in the snow and mud with no emergency services is asking for a disaster.
We set out on foot with a new goal to get to Chews Ridge, which is the first major vantage point on Tassajara Road.
We weren't thrilled that our planned hike turned into walking a dirt road. The tire tracks in the road quickly turned from dirt to slippery ice, and this confirmed that my decision to ditch the Subaru was the right one.
But quickly it turned into a winter wonderland. I was ecstatic that we were in the right place at the right time to capture the historic weather.
4x4 trucks and SUVs raced past us as we traversed their tracks. My 4x4 SUV sat on snowless ground.
The snow kept getting deeper and deeper. Soon there was 6 inches of snow.
Then 9 inches.