An absolutely stunning day including snowshoeing, fresh snow on the trails/pine trees, beautiful landscape, not too cold/windy weather, fun people, cave fire and good food. Gaurav, my hiking buddy told me about the meetup hike 2 days back and I readily agreed to go. Apparently, the group organizer has been organizing this hike since 7 years on New years day. I was all excited about the snow and meeting new people but little did I know that I would receive more than I could ever imagine.
I carpooled and started our drive around 8.25 AM. We could see accumulated snow in a few miles from Eastgate P&R. Never had I seen snow so close to Seattle before. We reached trailhead at 9:10 AM and started hiking by 9:45 AM. Snow was all around the place and we started snowshoeing right from the beginning. Fresh snow made all the difference and it had created varied landscapes. It felt so good to feel and play with the smooth soft spread. Though the pine trees bowed to the weight of snow, it stood up in creating magical views. I was open mouthedly gaping at the beauty throughout the way and it got better every single step. I was prepared for the cold which turned my back pack heavy and it caused discomfort for shoulders. Since this was a popular event, most of my meetup buddies had come and I had a great time with them on the trail. Ying was cracking jokes about me not sharing the pics after the hike. Surabhi was there too and last time I had eaten the most of the Pringles she had bought and did the same this time too. Gaurav, as usual was giving some gyan and was pulling others legs. The clouds at the summit stole the thunder. It was like a river joining the sea. It got quite cold soon on the summit and we started getting down. I was carrying an hydration pack and it froze. So I couldn’t drink much water until later. While going up was spent admiring the beauty, I had a blast coming down. It partly felt like skiing and we got down at amazing speed. We stopped at the cave for fire. People had got food and were having a gala time talking to each other with fire to warm everyone. I stayed for some time and started walking with few others to trailhead. It was completely dark by then and we walked with torch and headlights.
What an amazing day it was. I have seen snow before but today it was a different experience altogether. Washington still awes me and that too raising the bar every-time. The best part is that all of this is just a couple of hours drive away (This was 45 mins)