The week of December 18th began with a warmer than usual morning with rain and highs reaching the high 40’s in some areas. By midafternoon the temperatures had begun to drop into the high 20’s but the rain had stopped. Sustained winds with gusts over 20 mph brought the wind-chill into the single digits. On Monday the highs will reach only into the low 20’s but it will be sunny. By Tuesday the temperatures will begin to rise with highs making it to 30 degrees with more sun. The trend continues into Wednesday when the highs will reach the mid-30’s with partly sunny skies. On Thursday watch for rain in the morning possibly freezing on cold surfaces. This may be followed by snow showers with highs again in the mid 30’s. Friday will be warmer with highs in the high 30’s with sun and clouds. The temperature will continue to rise on Saturday with highs in the low 40’s and some sun. Be sure you are dressed appropriately in clothing which will wick away moisture to keep you from developing a chill in colder temperatures. Clothes that have pit zips are great and layering with non-cotton materials are a must for the varying temperatures. Keeping hydrated in cooler weather can sometimes be tricky as you do not feel as thirsty but hydrating properly will allow you to hike longer and in greater comfort. It is also time to start bringing along the spikes or crampons since the melting and refreezing can cause spectacular areas of ice on the trails. Snowshoes will be useful especially at higher elevations where snow fell instead of rain. Be sure to carry water with you as local water sources can be unreliable and may be contaminated. Once you are thirsty, you are already dehydrated! Remember, the weather forecast is only a prediction and always contains percentages. Be prepared and have a plan for the most likely and least likely forecast! Are you prepared to stay out overnight on a trail? Conditions in the morning can change drastically by afternoon. Conditions at the trailhead do not always reflect the conditions on the peaks! Variable trail and weather conditions are a hallmark of these mountains. BE CAREFUL AND BE PREPARED!