Escape from the mountain.

The thunderhead from the Banner Pass.

The thunderhead from the Banner Pass.

This last weekend I had paintings showing in the Julian Art Guild Spring show.  I had to take them up to Julian to hang on the Thursday and was able to combine the trip with a visit to Tomas – a friend I have not seen in a few years – in his new home in Guatay.  Well, he’s been there three years, but it was the first time I’d visited that house.  Aware that I would be travelling into a different climate (Guatay is at 4000 ft, I’m at 190 below), I packed jeans and a jacket to supplement my shorts, tshirt and flipflops – normal Salton City wear.  After setting up artwork and enjoying a couple hours catching up with Tomas (he has 2.5 acres, much of which is native scrub) I headed home.  The weather was coming in over the mountains, ominous clouds approaching from the west as I drove north, back towards Julian.

Turning east, I hastened through the winding Banner pass with a thick black patch behind me.  I could not however resist stopping for a moment in a pull-out to capture a thunderhead that was in my path.  At the bottom of Banner pass, we raced across the road through the open scrubland and into the next set of chicanes – the path between the hills carved by the San Felipe Creek that flows all the way to the Salton Sea.  I could not stop there to take another photo – the road is too narrow and curvy.  By now the thick cloud was catching up with me, and the entrance to valley has a sign that declares ‘Flash Flood Zone, next 3 miles’.  Not somewhere I wanted to be if it started raining at the top of the steep slopes above.

Thunderheads from Yaqui Pass

Thunderheads from Yaqui Pass

Beyond there is another straightish stretch and then the turn north through Yaqui Pass.  At this point the thunderhead, now more developed, was to my south, but over me was the Ominous one with virga at the edges.  I made it to the top of the pass and then the rain started – just a little.  Just enough to make a pattern in the dust on the hood.  As I came through Borrego Springs I thought I would come out of the shadow, but was glad not to as it kept the hotter part of the journey more acceptably cool.  I arrived home without further wetting, and the house did not get rain, but I did see a shower between my house and the highway – somewhere in northwest Salton City did get watered.

It was quite an adventure in escaping the rain in the desert – something I usually thoroughly enjoy.


2 thoughts on “Escape from the mountain.

  1. I do read your blog with interest. A couple of weeks back we (4 Couples) spent 3 days in that region. Julian is small and beautiful place and I can also see the passion and calmness in your painting. Krish Sharma


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