This will be our 4th winter living at 5,000+ feet elevation and with a glamping operation on Mount Laguna at over 6,000ft elevation.
Last week brought us a tremendous amount of snowfall (18+ inches) right on time for the Thanksgiving weekend. Holiday weekends coupled with this amount of snowfall have had a tendency to be a recipe for disaster on the mountain.
We appreciate those of you who come prepared, leave no trace behind, act as stewards of our backcountry and are good examples of how visitors should act.
During last week's snowfall, several accidents occurred early on and we heard reports of about 40 cars stuck at the 79 / Sunrise highway gate.
We unfortunately also had more reports of trespassing onto private property and the usual littering.
It can be very serious business under such conditions at these altitudes, especially when tens of thousands of people are making their way up here along narrow slippery roads.
The biggest issue is the situation this creates for our first responders under emergency situations. Congestions like these create bottlenecks that in some cases make it difficult for our first responders to get through.
Imagine yourself in an emergency situation along that narrow HWY, unable to get out and with first responders unable to reach you.
We had two groups booked this weekend and we decided to just stay up there ourselves with the forecast as it was and to monitor conditions. All these set of circumstances and with snow still coming down heavy by Friday morning, we decided it was best to re-schedule both bookings.
One group was completely understanding of the situation. The other group insisted they wanted to come. It was a lovely family. They assured us that they were prepped with 4x4, chains, winter gear and plenty of rations.
They made it through Sunrise HWY by 3 pm just before CHP closed the gate. They had a wonderful time and share our passion for nature immersion, all times of the year. It was especially meaningful to see this adventurous family with young kids, creating life long family memories in our Cleveland National Forest. Our deepest hope is that it instills in them the love of nature and environmental stewardship.
We’re blessed to have these beautiful winter snow conditions on our San Diego mountains, less than an hour away of downtown. There’s no doubt that it’s a beautiful and magical natural phenomena that touches us all, as it eventually cascades down through our rivers, waterfalls and into our valleys. It’s a very life line of San Diego county that concentrate at these sacred peaks. The indigenous tribes knew.
It’s a blessing and bounty for all of us to enjoy, but please be prepared and conscious of some of nature’s unforgiving elements.
Shantel and Rami Abdel