California dreaming…of snow?

What nicer way to escape the Canadian cold than to attend the International Film Festival in Palm Springs – right? Sun, desert,warm weather, great films…or more like great films and a 4 year drought that seems to be breaking thanks to el Niño!

I’m happy enough for this parched part of the world, to hope that the rain pouring down is going to make a difference to a true ecological disaster – just wish we’d packed a raincoat. Even the 4.5 earthquake that shook us awake this morning has been eclipsed in the news by the rain in California.

Poolside chairs

The sun broke through for a while this morning and turned the raindrops into little diamonds on the poolside chairs and glistened on the hanging grapefruit. Great opportunity to finally go up the Palm Springs Tramway into the San Jancito Mountain State Park for a short hike.

As we bought our tickets we looked nervously at the sign in the lobby…


We were truly mesmerized as we sped up the cables and the desert towns lay spread out on the valley floor below us …and snow appeared on the granite walls around us.

Tramway view down

Have I mentioned that we’re Canadian which for the most part means we’re pretty stoic about weather…

Snowy trees

Most of the time…


We hung in for an hour but I think it was the gale force, howling winds that finally decided us to hop on the next tram down to the desert…

Mountain melt

Rain – you’ve got to love it and all the life it will bring back to California!

Mnt San Jacinto sign

This entry was posted in Environment, Hiking, Humour, Photography, Thoughts, Travel, Winter and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

65 Responses to California dreaming…of snow?

  1. That is quite a different experience that what we otherwise hear and think about California. Of course this was written some time ago, but I believe California still need more precipitation—and even a storm…

  2. Lynn says:

    Wow, sounds like you experienced a whole array of weather! Good thing you are a hearty Canadian!

  3. Sartenada says:

    Your snow photos are gorgeous. Here in Finland weather has been changing fast in few days from -33ºC / -27.4ºF to 0ºC / 32.0ºF. 🙂

  4. restlessjo says:

    What a shame, but what a joy too! 🙂 A quake though- that’s a bit scary! Travel safe 🙂 Love your photos.

    • Thank you. Quakes are not my favourite especially since the San Andreas fault runs right through the middle of the valley that is home to Palm Springs! Locals did say it was a big one though…

  5. The whole world is experiencing abnormal weather.
    You are not letting it spoil travels or good attitude.
    You still are experiencing the beauty.
    Even earth quaked can not shake you 😉
    It is there in your photos they are beautiful._/\_

    • Thank you Jack – we are making a mess of things aren’t we?

      • No one individual can be blamed everyone is contributing.
        Education and a team effort is needed to correct things.
        When Mother Nature gets angry enough we will respond with greater effort.
        Every little helps we can contribute something by thinking do I really need this.
        There is no need to go to extremes just do our best. _/\_

  6. Inger says:

    So you didn’t get enough of the snow here in Canada? Had to find some down south as well;) Snow covered trees is not the first thing I think about when I hear California, but I guess if you get high enough there would be. Well – when I think about it I have actually heard you can ski in California. Anyways – hope you are enjoying some great movies!

  7. Lavinia Ross says:

    Beautiful pictures! I will have to look up the Icelandic movie Rams. Sounds like a wonderful trip!

    One of the things I love about living in the Cascade foothills is to be standing on green grass and looking up and see the higher elevations frosted in snow.

  8. margaret21 says:

    You’ve not twigged by the way – not surprising at all, actually.. My recent Blogging 101 post was directed at ….. you!

  9. Fabulous photos .. That weather looks so extreme! No way you would get me up that mountain .. I’m scared of heights! How were the movies!

    • The movies are excellent – 3 left to go😊. They are international and almost always have the excited filmmakers on hand to enthusiastically take questions. One of our favourites so far has been an Icelandic film called Rams – I’m sure New Zealanders could relate. Thanks for your encouragement on my photos.

  10. I remember going up Mount Jacinta in mid summer and marveling at how cold it was compared to down below. Beautiful photos. Enjoy!

  11. Sheryl says:

    Why does it always seem like the weather (even in the desert) creates challenges during a vacation? The International Film Festival sounds like lots of fun. This post actually led me to google it.

    • We highly recommend this film festival – the venues are fairly close together, free shuttles between cinemas and fascinating international films on show. They also have great conversations in the lines while waiting and great restaurants! I know I sound like I work for the tourism board but it’s true😉

  12. pommepal says:

    Another example of how strange and twisted the weather is around the world. Desert??? You wouldn’t think so from your beautiful photos.

  13. mommermom says:

    Thanks for bringing us some rain! We really needed it. Too bad you ended up in Palm Springs with poor weather because it is such a beautiful place. I hope it’s not your first time there. My daughter got married there two years ago in December and we had picture perfect weather with the kids swimming in the pool. The desert can get surprisingly cold in the winter but we usually have plenty of sun to go around.

  14. Did you wave your magic Canadian wand and send the rain all the way across the Pacific as well because it’s flooding in Sydney. If you did, could you wave it a bit more to the south. We need the rain. Thanks.

    PS Sorry you didn’t get the sun and beaches holiday you were hoping for.

    • Thank you for your kind thoughts but don’t worry about us – we love this place whatever the weather. Isn’t there crazy weather everywhere though? Droughts or floods or melting polar ice – strange times!

  15. joannesisco says:

    My heart kind of sunk for you … earthquake, rain, wind, snow. Not the kind of stuff a Canadian tourist hopes to find in Southern California.
    … but then I read Cindy Knoke’s comments and had to laugh 😀
    It sounds like you had a very memorable vacation!

    • We’re on our way back soon but Palm Springs is a neat place, whatever the weather. We love this film festival since the quality of the international films is so excellent. We also have some of the most interesting conversations in the lines while waiting to go in – seems that fairly progressive Americans like international film festivals😊

  16. Beautiful photos! Glad you were brave enough to go up the mountain as the views are wonderful but I don’t blame you for beating a retreat after an hour in such bad weather!

  17. margaret21 says:

    Goodness. What stunning photos. And what an exciting time you had of it. Better than the movies, eh?

    • We always manage to get some good outdoor time here. The Film Festival has been excellent too. This is our 2nd year and they manage to put together some fascinating international films and with Los Angeles and Hollywood just up the valley you never know who’s going to pop in😉

  18. Zambian Lady says:

    I hope you still manage to have hot weather in California even with the rains, which are much needed. Enjoy the festival….

  19. Oh my such different weather than we’ve experienced at the same time of year in Palm Springs. Hope we get back there sometime to hike, in better weather, San Jacinto.

  20. Gallivanta says:

    Wouldn’t that be something to see the blooms which Cindy mentions. 🙂 How is/was the Film Festival?

  21. agnesashe says:

    Lovely photos. That el Niño – well let’s hope it doesn’t turn into a super el Niño that some historians think wiped out the Moche of Peru during the middle years of the 6th century. Positively we could look at the current situation as an opportunity for humans to act collectively and work with all the cumulative knowledge and skills we have acquired since the 6th century. Or, am I being to hopeful with all the New Year goodwill?

    • You do know some interesting things – have not heard about a super El Niño from the 6th century before. All the strange weather things happening should be our wake up call and I’m happy to join you in your New Year goodwill and say we might listen but…

  22. Wow – what a contrast! And I thought we are having weird weather 😉

    • Seems to be extreme weather everywhere – warmer in New York City over Christmas than California? Could this be our wake up call and is anyone listening?

      • I first remember hearing about these problems in the early eighties. I even had an elderly friend who used to write very regularly and report the strange goings on in her garden (in regard to plants blooming out of turn, etc.) She passed about ten years ago now. So, regrettably, I don’t think anyone who are decision makers will stick their necks out.

  23. Sue Slaght says:

    We have been watching the media reports and hope you are not caught in any of the flooding. A shame for your holiday but so badly needed for the drought.

    • The coast and mountain area seem to have suffered most – those of us staying on the desert valley floor alongside the San Andreas fault 😳Just got rained on a bit and given the drought it’s hard to resent that.

  24. Nancy says:

    Oh too bad for the rain but it is so needed!!!
    However taking the tram would have been a bit scary for me!
    The photos of all the snow just gives me the shivers!! Have fun!

    • I don’t begrudge California this rain at all – too bad some of the coastal areas suffered a bit more. The tram wasn’t as scary as I expected because it’s so modern and just feels safe…other than the whizzing up the side of sharp granite cliffs for 8,000 feet into a storm part😳

  25. Ingrid says:

    Hope the weather is agreeable enough for you to enjoy yourselves. Love that photo of the pool chairs.

  26. cindy knoke says:

    PS- avoid low desert gullies, flash floods you know……JUST KIDDING!! My son just read your post and now he wants to take the tram in the storm. He thinks it would be fun!! 😉 😉

    • On no – now your son is also giggling over our flood, quake, snow adventure- we’re actually loving the variety of seasons here. Hope the Holler stayed safe and hope your son had fun up there in the many feet of snow, since apparently another two feet has fallen since our quickly aborted visit!

  27. cindy knoke says:

    I had to come back and tell you I am still cracking up at your post. I am so sorry you didn’t get the sun, but your post is killer-funny and your snaps are great and its RAINING!! (I know you noticed). We have waited four years for rain. I am sorry about the earthquake. We are near quite a few faults. Hope the rest of your trip is more peaceful!

    • Glad you appreciated my attempt at humour:-) Was amazed to discover that the San Andreas fault runs right through this valley – could explain a bump or two. We’re having a wonderful time as the film festival wraps up – some wonderful international cinema you have here in the desert.

  28. cindy knoke says:

    Welcome to So. California! You are near The Holler. That quake was a nice little wake up I admit! You brought the rain from Canada thank you so much! We are getting drenched, as you may have noticed. Quite the day to take the tram. This post really makes me smile. I hope you stay long enough to see the desert burst into bloom from the rains, if it doesn’t snow which it sometimes does!!!

    • What fun that I can now imagine the part of the world where the famous ‘Holler’ is located. So glad to hear you confirm that the quake was notable – didn’t want to seem any more like a whimp! We were out in the Joshua Tree National Park today (ice on the puddles) – what a treat it would have been to see the desert bloom.

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