The onset of winter has been nothing short of a miserable pain in the rear. Snow levels have flirted with the mountaintops, down halfway to the valley, then back up again. We just get Seattle-style miserably cold rain with an incessantly penetrating dampness down at the house. It reminds me of New York and I do not like it at all. While I am bit backlogged and will be writing two more blog posts about autumn, I just couldn’t find the sensibility in sharing some blue sky, yellow aspen hunky-dory crap when I have been baptized into a meteorological crucible of misery.
There was a sizable storm with all sorts of energy that was supposed to give us some valley snow. It did not. What it did do was bring in a messy splash of clouds, rain, mountain snow, wind, and valley fog. I did what one naturally would expect of any sane, reasoning pilot: I went flying in it.
I encountered the same phenomenon I found in September: clouds banked up against the western foothills of the Salt River Range. That meant I could skim the tops in Class G airspace (read: it was actually legal), with safe exit options to the west.
I then cruised up the ridgeline, to capture the snow and the fog/clouds sitting in between the Salt River Range and the Wyoming Range. I was surprised to find winds approaching 30 knots at altitude, though turbulence and other factors were not a problem on the windward side. Then it was a rapid descent down to Alpine (with lots of carburetor ice at the boundary layer), while we waited out another full day of crap weather, accomplishing little more than growing a day older.