This year a lot of people in Pit River Country were hoping for a White Christmas. How lovely it is to experience the serene beauty of silent woods draped in snow. Somehow it complements the Christmas spirit in a very special way. The world seems to be peacefully asleep like baby Jesus in the manger. The inner joy and hope of the nativity are strengthened because the sun has passed its nadir and turned north again. The days gradually begin to brighten.
This year in particular we have been hoping for a good snow-pack to alleviate the drought.
The week before Christmas, we had a lot of rain in Burney. I took a drive up Hatchet Mountain and down Big Bend Road. In spite of the rain, there was still a lot of snow. I could see a line of white about five hundred feet above Burney all around.
So, back to the question: Were we blessed with a White Christmas? If you live above 4000 feet the answer is definitely yes. For those of us who live in Fall River Valley, Burney Basin and around Hat Creek, I will let each person answer for themself.
One thing is certain though. On the morning of Christmas Eve day, when Linda and I woke up and looked out the window, everything was cloaked in a blanket of white.
Linda and I decided to drive Clark’s Creek Road from Hwy 89 through Burney Falls State Park, over Lake Britton Dam, up to Clark’s Creek Lodge and on to where the road rejoins 89 between Bartle and Four Corners.
As we drove over Burney Creek, we could see that the creek bed, which only a short time ago was dry, is now full and flowing forcefully.
We proceeded on into the park.
When we came to the back entrance to the park we decided to take a little jaunt down the trail to the falls. The trees were sill laden with snow.
Pacific Crest Trail was covered with snow. We made our way down to the foot bridge over Burney Creek.
Then, awed by the winter beauty we proceeded down to a spot where we could get a picture of the falls through the trees.
Everything was lovely. As the temperature rose, walking under some of the large evergreens we were showered by the snow dripping off of the branches.
I took a picture of Linda.
We didn’t feel like hiking the whole Burney Falls loop. We wanted to continue on the road and explore more. So we got back in the Jeep, drove across the dam and headed through the winter wonderland to Clark’s Creek Lodge.
One of the things that surprised me was that there was no longer a “for sale” sign on the lodge, just a “closed” sign. Did somebody buy it? Linda peered through the window and saw that all of the tables were laid out with nice red-checked table cloths set with plates and silverware. The salt and pepper shakers were full. Is Clark’s Creek Lodge back in business?
That would be nice. The Lodge has a rich history going back to 1921. Word has it that in the 1930’s and 40’s it was a popular hideout for gangsters on the lam. My mom used to tell me that Al Capone even stayed there at one time. Who knows?
I do know that over the decades it was a favorite place for my family to go eat. One time my mom and grandmother went, expecting to be seated at their regular table. When they got there however, it was already full. Clint Eastwood and his party had already occupied the spot. When Mr. Eastwood saw that my mom and Grandma Jay were disappointed, he rose like a gentleman and offered to move. Naturally, my kin, a bit in awe, declined.
Having fished up these and other memories, Linda and I continued on our way, rising through the oaks until we came to a place where we could shoot Lake Britton.
Then we hit Hwy 89 and headed home. By sunset, the ground was still covered with snow, but the white that had graced the trees in the morning had melted away in the afternoon sun.
That evening, at a friend’s house, we discussed whether or not we could consider it a White Christmas if there were snow on the ground but not on the trees. As I said earlier, I will let you decide for yourselves.
As for Linda and me, we had our White Christmas.