Spring in the Delta

The first day of Spring in the small Delta town of Walnut Grove (my hometown) was heralded in with the twittering of birds, the blossoming of pear orchards, and snow. Snow in the Delta? Despite the fact that temperatures hovered around 70 degrees with partly cloudy skies, there was snow.

Sisters Brenda, 14, and Jennifer Aguilar, 12, of Courtland ride a sled down a snowy slope behind the Boon Dox convenience store in Walnut Grove (Camera: Nikon D300.Lens Nikkor 17-55mm @ 22mm. Exposure: 1/125th sec. @ f/18. ISO: 200).

The last time any significant snow fell there was in the winter of 1976. I was a junior in high school when a freak snow storm hit overnight. Several inches fell on the valley floor, and there was enough of it to throw snowballs at the teachers, make snow angels and even good-sized snowmen. That was the last and only time in my 51 years that any significant snow fell in the Delta.

11-year-old Isaac Rainwater of Walnut Grove rides a snow saucer down a snowy slope behind the Boon Dox convenience store in Walnut Grove (Camera: Nikon D300.Lens Nikkor 70-200mm @ 155mm. Exposure: 1/500th sec. @ f/8. ISO: 200).

Thanks to contractor and Walnut Grove resident Larry Hamilton, there was snow in the Delta again. On a levee slope behind the Boon Dox convenience store, Larry Hamilton created a sledding run from 30 yards of snow he had trucked in from the Kirkwood ski resort, about 146 miles away in the Sierra.

15-year-old Forest Kan of Walnut Grove rides a snowboard down a snowy slope behind the Boon Dox convenience store in Walnut Grove (Camera: Nikon D300.Lens Nikkor 70-200mm @ 90mm. Exposure: 1/500th sec. @ f/8. ISO: 200).

Hamilton is known for crafting huge Christmas displays, most notably a 42-foot-tall Statue of Liberty replica, a 50-foot-tall soldier, a 52-foot-tall statue of Jesus and a 30-ft-tall eagle out of rebar and christmas lights. He wanted to give the children of Walnut Grove and surrounding towns, many of who have had very little experience with the white stuff, a little taste of snow.

This was the second year for the event. Hamilton’s adult son Tony helped out by keeping the slope in shape by raking the snow into place. The Sacramento County Sheriff South Delta Station donated sleds for the kids to ride on, and about 100 kids lined up to get their chance at the snow.

8-year-old Aidan Pinkston of Elk Grove rides a snow sled down a snowy slope behind the Boon Dox convenience store in Walnut Grove (Camera: Nikon D300.Lens Nikkor 70-200mm @ 170mm. Exposure: 1/500th sec. @ f/8. ISO: 200).


15-year-old Forest Kan of Walnut Grove rides a snowboard down a snowy slope behind the Boon Dox convenience store in Walnut Grove (Camera: Nikon D300.Lens Nikkor 70-200mm @ 90mm. Exposure: 1/500th sec. @ f/8. ISO: 200).

Children giggled and smiled as they skidded down the snow-covered hill. Some picked up the little bits that fell off the incline to have snowball fights. For the kids of Walnut Grove, the first day of Spring also meant having a snow day.

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