New snow: 3 inches
Total settled snow depth: 0 feet as of March 25 (at 8,600 feet)
High temperature: 56°F, March 20
Low temperature: 22°F, March 21
Skiing/Snowshoeing Conditions and Weather: Okay, ski season is over for all but you diehards. If you are willing to strap your skis on your back, you can find skiable snow above 9500 feet. But, it is by no means hiking season yet unless you want to post-hole in 1 ½ feet of snow on north-facing slopes above 9,000 feet. Patchy snow exists elsewhere, especially in the shade of the trees. Snowshoes are still a necessity in most places above this elevation. From Saddlebag Lake Road to a mile east of Tenaya Lake, the road is approximately half snow, half pavement. If you are snowshoeing/hiking please realize trails are not obvious in places and navigational skills are a must. Come prepared for any type of weather. We did get three inches of new snow this week. Every flake helps!
Avalanche and Snowpack Conditions: For the avalanche advisory for this area of the Sierra Nevada go to www.esavalanche.org for the Eastern Sierra Avalanche Center. The avalanche danger in the Tuolumne Meadows area and along on the Tioga Road including Lee Vining Canyon is low.
Wildlife: Northern flickers became quite vocal this week, making sure all of its neighbors are awake first thing in the morning. Mountain bluebirds are finding their nesting snags. The song sparrow is singing in the willows along the riverside and the Cassin's finch, from the tree-tops. It is quite the chorus of many other species as well: pine siskin, red crossbills, brown creeper, red-breasted nuthatch, mountain chickadee, Clark's nutcracker, common raven, and American robin. Now that the snow is patchy or firm, it is hard to see the tracks of all the mammal species, but the coyote has been spotted almost daily in Tuolumne Meadows.
Questions: The Tuolumne Meadows Ski Hut is open! There is an ample supply of firewood and 10 bunks that are available on a first come, first served basis. There is power but no public phone service in Tuolumne this winter. We can be contacted via email, but we may be delayed in responding if we are on patrol. Contact the wilderness office at 209/372-0740 with any questions or concerns. Come prepared; don't count on electricity or phone service at the ski hut.