When they reached their home, their neighbor, Mr. Radleigh, had helped clear space for their cars.
“We basically had to crawl like lizards up the hill with our groceries,” Mr. Salas, 51, said. Then they had to dig their way through to their front door.
Since then, the family has been trying to keep their spirits up, gazing at the nine-foot icicles and trying to keep their dog, a Shar-Pei pit bull named Sonny, from sinking into the snow like quicksand. They have been stretching what Ms. Salas, 50, estimated is about four more days’ worth of meat, pastas, rice, beans and tortillas.
“It’s beautiful but dangerous right now,” she said. “We can’t even go out to enjoy it.”
In a Friday news conference, San Bernardino County officials sought to reassure residents that help was on the way.
“Folks, we’re here for you,” Sheriff Shannon Dicus said. “We’re going to dig you out, and we are coming.”
Still, Sheriff Dicus emphasized that the networks of state highways, side roads and even driveways were like the arteries, veins and capillaries of a big body and said it would take time to clear them. Crews have made progress forging a narrow path for vehicles along many roads, but they have been unable to create much room for cars to stop or pass. In many cases, they still need to dig through walls of snow to create passageways on each property for people and vehicles to depart.
Officials said it could be at least another week before they would allow access to the mountain communities for anyone beyond residents and emergency crews.