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Snow provides old-fashioned family fun
GIANT SEQUOIA NATIONAL MONUMENT — Screams of laughter came from Santiago Pelcastre, 10, and his cousin Jose Antonio Lopez, 8, as they barreled down the snow-blanketed hill and over a hump on their yellow colored sled.
The two boys were on a family outing and were playing in the snow-drenched meadow about a half mile from Quaking Aspen.
“It’s cool, because you can slide down,” said Pelcastre.
Nearby Marilyn Pelcastre, 11, stood waiting for her turn.
According to Marilyn, they came up to the snow to have fun and to play.
The children, all of Porterville, were accompanied by Jose Antonio’s parents, Maria Lopez and Balbino Lopez, and their siblings.
The family was just one of many who came out to enjoy the snow-covered peaks. Nearing the 7,000 foot elevation the area had plenty of snow to go around.
At the Ponderosa Lodge owner Mary Brewer reported that the Ponderosa had about four feet of snow with the same amount at Quaking Aspen.
However, she said that more snow was expected on Sunday.
“The snow is perfect for skiing and sledding,” said Brewer.
In the same meadow as the Lopez family were brothers James and Guadalupe Tapia who were taking a few minutes rest under the white-dusted trees. The men had also come to the area with members of their family.
“We’re enjoying the snow. We’ve been wanting to come up here for awhile. From Visalia you can see the snow-capped peaks,” said James who lives in Visalia.
The brothers had already had their snowball fights.
“We started up on the hill with snowball fights, then wrestling and rolled down the hill. By the time we were at the bottom we looked like snowmen,” said Guadalupe.
According to James, the snow and the location provided some relief.
“You’re up here in the snow with the family, building snowmen and doing snow angels, it’s timeless,” said James.
Back at the Ponderosa, Brewer said that she has seen an increase in visitors.
“Last year we didn’t have that much snow at all. Lots of people are coming in for skiing and snow mobiles are out,” said Brewer.
The winter season at the Ponderosa is expected to last into April. As of Friday, according to California Highway Patrol Officer Ed Flynn, there had been no major incidents. However, he provided some tips for travelers which included; carrying snow chains, having a spare tire, and making sure the lights on the vehicle aren’t dim.
“If they’re going up there they have to carry [chains] with them. Dress appropriately and have lots of water available,” said Flynn.
For those who don’t carry chains Flynn said that they will be cited and the amount will be up to the courts.
Overall, he emphasized good driving habits.
“Don’t be texting and pay attention to their driving especially on the mountainous roadways,” said Flynn.
Contact Emily Shapiro at 784-5000, ext. 1050, or on Twitter @EmilyShapirogar.