Lake Arrowhead in the winter? No thanks I’ll take Minnesota

Written by Bob on November 29th, 2009

LAKE ARROWHEAD, CA – Do I know cold? Oh, I know cold all right. After all, I grew up in Minnesota and outside of maybe North Dakota and Alaska there’s no nastier cold weather anywhere in the U.S. than in the Land of Ten Thousand (frozen) Lakes.

Except maybe Lake Arrowhead, located high in the San Bernardino Mountains 5,191 feet above the rest of us sunny flatlanders in Southern California.

Friday night I reported and photographed the post-season high school football game between the Fontana Kaiser Cats and the Lake Arrowhead Rim of The World Fighting Scots. And after checking the weather report, I dressed like an Eskimo.

Insulated underwear– tops and bottoms? Check.

A long-sleeve shirt? Check. Pull over sweater? Check.

Hooded sweater? Check. Winter coat? Check.

(Fake) fur lined winter gloves? Check. Two layers of socks? Check.

I dressed for anything Mother Nature could possibly freeze my butt off with.

When I arrived at the top of the mountain, the temperature hovered at 25 degrees. But hey, 25 degrees, that’s not so bad. It could be worse.

I remember one Minnesota winter day round about January 1973 when the temperature dropped to a –80 degrees below zero with the wind chill factor. Cars wouldn’t start. Water pipes froze and burst. And school’s closed for the day.

Outside of rushing your pregnant wife to the hospital after her water had broken, no one stepped outside their door.

So Lake Arrowhead’s 25 degrees shouldn’t be all that cold. Should it? Well, it wouldn’t have been except for the fog. A soupy, thick, grayish blanket of fog – just like you’d see in a London Jack-The-Ripper movie, slowly settled over the field in the second quarter.

It was as if Jack Frost had blown his icy breath over the entire mountaintop. And suddenly, we went from dry cold to wet cold.

In fact, it was so cold at half time that men and women rushed off to their respective restrooms seeking two kinds of “relief.” Public potties aren’t your typical gathering spot – at least for most men. You go in. You do what needs to be done. And you leave.

Now, I can’t speak for the women, but some of us men lingered in the warmth of our restroom far longer than necessary. It became a comfy warming spot of sorts with a line forming at the hand drier. When my turn came, I rubbed my hands together until they were toasty and warm.

Oh, how I hated to give the drier up.

There’s a big difference between a dry cold and wet cold. Minnesota’s winters are typically dry. Fog obviously is wet. And when that icy fog dampens your hair and licks your already cold face, and any exposed skin, it’s downright miserable.

I’ll take a dry cold anytime over a wet cold.

Many fans like myself had checked the weather report. And they came bundled up and prepared for Mother Nature’s wrath. But some must have thought the game was being played in balmy Palm Springs. Because I saw a few people dressed in nothing but shorts and a shirt.

In fact, the reporter from the SUN newspaper wore a light jacket and floppy, leather sandals. Without socks! Now that’s one tough reporter.

Seeing me swaddled in layer upon layer of clothing, he must have thought: “You wimp, if you can’t take the cold, move back to Minnesota.”

Lake Arrowhead, you’re wonderfully cool and refreshing in summer’s scorching heat. But if I want winter weather I can handle, I think I’ll move back to Minnesota.

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