Monday, November 16, 2009

Kendall Peak Lakes - 11/14/09

Finally made my first venture up toward Kendall Peak Lakes, located at Snoqualmie Pass along I-90, about 54 miles east of Seattle. It's right across the highway from the ski area.

Weather was much better than expected, with plenty of blue sky, and temps certainly felt warmer that the 'high of 30 degrees' that the weatherman promised.

Upon my arrival at about 10:30am there were only about five or six cars parked at the trail head. Even though it's early in the season, I expected a lot more (and more did show up, later).

Just after my arrival at the TH, a SUV pulled up and a group piled out of the car. They sounded like a group of people just getting to know one another. I inquired if they were a Mountaineers group, but learned they were actually a local Meet-Up group.

A short while later I met another solo person with snowshoes who was just getting started. I'll just refer to him as DMS for this Trip Report.

The first half mile or so was packed enough for easy walking without snowshoes but it did eventually become softer snow and a lot deeper so the snowshoes were a necessity (if you didn't bring skis).

DMS and I leapfrogged each other a couple times through the first two miles or so but ended up just pacing each other and chatting about previous outdoor recreation trips and agreeing that 'more' is never enough.

The route was well established and easy to follow.

Ultimately we reached the end of the broken trail just a short ways after the end of the logging road (on my map anyway).

DMS wasn't ready to give up yet so he started breaking trail, following the faint trough that remained after all the recent snow. I followed right behind him, but decided to call it quits at about 4,300 elevation. I hadn't done a very good job of eating and felt the beginning pangs of leg cramps coming on.

While having a snack break, I noticed a pattern of lines on a nearby hillside. Not sure what it's from but I'm guessing it's a result of how the hillside was logged.

DMS opted to continue onward, knowing we were getting pretty close. We wished each other good luck and parted ways.

All in all it was a fantastic day on the trail and I look forward to finishing that last half mile or so in the next couple of months.

Parking for this snowshoe route is at the Gold Creek Sno-Park which requires a daily or annual permit for your vehicle. Enforcement begins about November 15th and continues until mid April or May, depending on snow levels.

GPS Tracklog from this trip:

7.6 miles.

Next outing is scheduled for Dec 12th... or the 19th. Stay tuned!

Happy Trails!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Lame Itinerary for 11/14/09

The pros and cons of winter weather.

Early snow = early snowshoeing.
Lots of snow + Wind = Moderate to Considerable Avalanche risk.

Only hiking once a month = Never let your hall pass go to waste.

Going Solo = My friends were smart and scheduled indoor activities.

So, despite the conditions I'm braving the elements on Saturday to visit Snoqualmie Pass.

As of this moment, I'm planning on making a first visit to the Kendall Peak Lakes snowshoe route, located at the Gold Creek Sno-Park (exit 52 or 54, I-90).

Depending on the weather, route conditions, snowpack analysis and my comfort level I may decide to swing by the Lower Gold Creek trail (same area) or retreat to the west and check out the Zig Zag trail located just south of the Olallie State Park.

Then again, there's always Rattlesnake Ledge or Mt. Si (big sigh or little sigh) as standard backups to get the blood pumping.

Regardless, I'm just hoping for a good time with some nice pics to share and memories to cherish.

My plan is to be back in the car before sunset since I need to be back in town to attend a 4H awards ceremony by 7:00pm.

Happy Trails!


Saturday, November 7, 2009

One Week To Go...

Why do these outings seem so far apart these days?

My next outing is scheduled for next Saturday, November 14th.

You can expect typical November conditions which commonly involve wind, rain, snow and of course, fewer daylight hours.

Being out of town for a few days means I haven't kept up on what is going on in the Cascades... not sure how much snow there is, anywhere, but it's probably more than what we had at this time last year. Last year at this time was my first trip to Granite Mountain, where I didn't encounter snow until the last stretch (where I turned around due to leg cramps, doh!).

I haven't kept up with my fitness program since the MSH trip so while I'd like to tackle Mailbox Mtn or Mt. Dickerman, chances are it will be something a little easier... or totally new.

So, if you're interested, please drop me an email or give me a call.


PS: My NW Forest Pass is now expired. If you are coming and have a pass I can postpone that purchase for another 30 days. ;~)