A stormy crossing
San Diego Travel Blog› entry 1 of 7 › view all entries
March 9th, 2008 – by: cneoridium
As I climbed out of the city, the sky became that impossible deep blue it gets only at high elevation. The atmosphere had decided to shift, and as the pressure dropped on the coast the wind was howling over the mountains to fill the void. The wind was dead steady, so instead of rocking the truck, it moved silently by, thin strands of storm clouds forming as they ripped by eerily low overhead, like in a time-lapse movie.
At the summit, near the little community of Julian, the jet steam dropped and the temperatures plunged, though the sky remained blue. I barely recognized the area - firestorms in the fall had blackened most the trees, turning the mountain into a pincushion of burned trunks.
Dropping down the back of the ridge, a view of the golden, open desert begins open up below, in contrast to the oak and pine forest along the winding road. Banner Grade zigzags down the back of the slope in just 8 miles, with a vertical drop of nearly a mile. Near the top, geese (brants) were sitting on the road. Some had been hit by cars, some were wandering in the lanes dazed. The migrating birds had become exhausted fighting the wind and had landed on the black "river" which turned out to be the highway. They were so tired that I was able to gather them up and carry some off of the road into the forest as the sun dropped below the horizon. What a shortcut I'd picked today!
Minutes later on the desert floor the air was again still and crickets were beginning to call. I could see the clouds still roaring over the pass, now near ground level.
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