It snowed in the mountains of southwest Utah a couple of nights ago. It wasn’t a huge weather system, though – no bone-chilling, pantry-stocking, sideways-blowing winter storm pounding its way inland from the northern Pacific. The light dusting of frozen precipitation barely covered the rocks of Pine Valley Mountain northeast of St. George, but in the deep sheltered canyons and on north-facing slopes it is here to stay. This mid-autumn snowfall will most likely not begin to melt until later spring 2011.
Crystals of quartz, feldspar, pyroxene, and biotite can be found
So as autumn slowly segues to winter and skies bring more snow, I will remember time spent hiking and inspecting the crystal-rich rocks of the Pine Valley Mountain laccolith, that slowly-cooled igneous intrusion that emplaced itself somewhere around 20 million years ago less than a mile below the surface to eventually be uplifted to a cloud-piercing 10,325 feet above sea level.
It is a beautiful mountain in any weather and season.
Pine Valley reservoir