This hike was rescheduled multiple times considering the forecast and finally we went today even though the forecast wasn’t great. Winds of 10 mph in the AM and 25 mph in the PM was predicted. Fortunately weather was kind to us and we had some spectacular scenery on the hike.
We took a ferry to reach Olympic peninsula and we had great views of Mt Rainier and Olympic mountains in the early morning ferry. There was snow right from the trailhead and I wore microspikes all the way to the summit. First half of the route was usual snow hike but then came something called Avalanche chute.
It’s a steep avalanche prone section of 1200 feet. The snow was pretty thick and slippery. Actually avalanche debris helped us climb this section for some part and few people had already broken the trail which helped a lot. We could see more and more of lake Cushman as ascended and the steep trail along with beautiful surroundings encouraged the climb. We reached a flat spot where we spent some time for funny photos. It was also very exciting to see Mt Rainier, Adams and St Helens in the horizon. We left for summit after spending some quality fun time there. I could see other mountains from the Olympic national park and they looked stunning. One side there was beautiful snow covered mountains and other side was lake Cushman, Hood canal and greenery. The clouds were above us which didn’t obstruct any views. The winds started when we started to descend and it started snowing too. We started glissading on various sections. Ice was hard, bumpy and I went very fast in one of them and had a jerk on my right hip when my leg got stuck in the snow after which I was hesitant to glissade for the day. Coming down the avalanche chute was better than I expected. The snow had turned little soft in the afternoon and some sections had pretty nice steps. There were few seconds were the wind blow like crazy and snow was hitting us but it didn’t get worse. At few places, I descended with leg forward and facing mountain (I usually prefer other way around). While waiting for others we had created a pretty smooth short glissade where we tried all sorts of postures. I loved the head first and face up a lot and Rob the organizer tried coming down standing on the shovel which was fun to watch. We then took the trail to lower trailhead during which I felt glad hiking on the mud after a long time. We took our cars first to a winery shop where few people tasted wine and bought and then we had dinner at Robinhood restaurant. It was quite late and the next ferry was at 11, so we chose to drive to Seattle and it was over 10.30 PM by the time I reached home.