Outdoors

Winter hike to Blanca Lake

I almost didn’t get up since alarm was on vibrate mode. I woke up at 6, got ready in 20 mins and left my home. A meetup hike with Jim again and I have started to like his hikes and the group. It was a snow drive again and I felt the snow in between was scraping my car’s belly. We were split across 5 cars and mine had the lowest clearance. I realized even Crosstrek’s clearance was not very good enough for the winters here. We started the hike at 9 AM and the first 2 miles was a walk on the washed out road. Then the switchbacks started and it was steep for the next 2 miles. The long distance, snow-shoes weight, previous day’s snow hike and less sleep was all taking a toll on me and my back hurt a lot. The views on the ridge were soothing and the winter wonderland was at its prime with various shapes of snow. We then dropped around 500 feet to the lake. I wasn’t expecting such green lake and it looked vibrant with all the black and white around. We had fun and lunch facing the lake and started our return hike at 1 PM. It started raining slightly by 3 PM and by 4 it had picked up. It was 11.9 mile hike and I was just glad to have completed it. I neither wore snowshoes nor microspikes, my new Quechua boots was excellent in blocking the cold and water but it has a hard sole. So I might get a soft layer below my feet. We all were done with the hike by 5 and started our drive back to Seattle. I was glad with the rain since it washed my car quiet neatly.

Activity Overview

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Winter Hike on Beckler Peak

Sai and I decided to hike Beckler Peak on a Saturday. Since, I knew road conditions were tricky, we drove in my car instead of his sedan. Till about 1.7 miles from the trailhead, there was snow on the road and it was still an ok drive. Then we saw a car(BMW SUV) parked on the side after which there were no tire marks on the road. Also at this moment, I had a short slide on the road towards the mountain on the left. I wanted to try reaching the trailhead in the car itself, so continued driving. I was slow and the drive was not that bad. It was sunny and the temperatures warm enough to be comfortable in just my sweat shirt. We left our snowshoes in the car and started hiking around 10 AM. The weather was near perfect conditions for winter hike – clear sky, Sun’s rays melting the snow into shiny droplets and piercing through the trees and almost non existent wind. Enjoying the ambience, we slowly hiked up, sometimes with knee length snow. There were 3 ahead of us and fortunately for us, they had broken the trail for us. There was a view point with a decent 180 deg views and since the summit had near 360 deg views, I was excited to reach the top. We reached a forest where the trail passed between huge trees with snow on them. Due to the warmth, snow melted and kept falling on the ground. They made such a sound that I had initially thought they were gun shots. Trail was bit wider so there was less chance of falling directly on our head, but still I experienced some sprays and Sai took a shot on his shoulder. My microspikes kept getting stuck on the snow, so I just hiked without them and couple of times Sai found them lying on the trail. All three who were ahead of us turned back without making it to the summit and we decided to do the same due to the interest of time and difficulty of unbroken trail. We went back to a view point and spent ample time enjoying the snow, clouds and surrounding mountains while having our lunch. I had qualms about return journey on the car in the last 1.7 miles, but there were many people on the trail by afternoon with their cars. We had a quick descent and reached Skykomish for a quick snack where we had Hot cocoa and a sandwich. Weather was a pleasant surprise and we had a good day out.

Activity Overview

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Hike on PCT at Steven’s pass

It was raining in the morning which turned to snow en-route the meetup location. We drove to Steven’s pass and snow was accumulated on the road just before the pass. This was the first time I drove my car on snow and I was excited. As soon as we reached the parking lot, the organizer started testing his car on snow and I followed the same. It was fun to run my Crosstrek through the snow. Given the snowfall and weather, we changed the hike to climb the mountain instead of Lake Valhalla. There was fresh powder all around and it was beautiful to walk through it. We reached one of the top of ski lifts, had lunch and got back. It was short and quick hike but a sweet one. I knew many people on the hike and it was like a nice get together. The fall colors were on display while driving back and the mist and snow added more beauty to it.

Activity Overview

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Categories: Outdoors, Seattle | 1 Comment

Hike to Lake Ingalls

A hike to a ridge on Mt Shuksan was scheduled on this day around 6 months earlier and I was eagerly waiting for it. Due to unavailability of the meetup organizer the hike got cancelled. The forecast for the day was not bad and I definitely didn’t want to sit at home without a hike on this day. So just the day before, I signed up for Lake Ingalls hike and only 3 of us made it to the hike and needless to say, it was fantastic.

It was an early start, we left the Park and Ride by 6AM and started our hike by 8 AM. It was still very cold, so I had my gloves on from the trailhead. The first part of the hike was usual winter microspikes hike with snow dusted mountains around. The actual party started after the ridge where we could see Mt Stuart up close, golden larches and many other peaks around.

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Mt Stuart came in between clouds path and was reshaping the clouds. A venticular like saucer formation was being created. Golden larches, wherever and however they were looked royal and its bright colors on white snow and dark surrounding background was a sight to behold. The larches adorned the trail too and it felt like mother nature had decorated for us to walk beneath them.

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The vista kept getting better and I was thoroughly enjoying the treat. After crossing another small ridge, we reached the lake which didn’t fail to surprise us as well. With the surrounding white snow and granite mountains all around, it looked serene.

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We had lunch from a high ground. It got windy and cold, so I started retreating soon. I met my ex-teammate on the trail which was a nice coincidence. The weather got better when we reached the small ridge which allowed us to enjoy the larches in the warm sunny weather from there on. The larches shone bright and it was fantastic to walk again alongside the larches. There was a tea cup on the saucer by now.

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My fellow hiker was wanting to catch some mountain goats and they too were there, I could see 7 of them in a single frame. Standing on the edge braving the wind with blue sky behind, they looked impressive. The white fir and pointed horns were all in display.

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We were so happy that everything came together so well today: weather, larches, mountains, snow, goats and views. I gladly accepted this as a birthday present from mother nature.

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Activity Overview

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Scramble to French Cabin West Peak

An action filled misty day where we experienced rains, snow, hailstorms, wind, Sun and rainbow combined with a scramble. I got up at 5:30 AM and had all the time to get ready but guess what did I forget to carry for the hike, my hiking shoes. I realized this in the park and ride while I met the group and since it was a short 6 mile hike and Michael┬ádidn’t mention any scrambling or craziness, I thought I could pull it off without my hiking shoes. I was wearing my daily wear shoes which doesn’t have much grip. It was cloudy and the rains started soon as we started driving to the trailhead. We started the hike in rains and first 1.5 miles was on a normal trail. Few sections was very beautiful with the fog and fall colors. The trail was bit wider than usual and I wondered if people mountain biked here. I was thinking that I would have needed my hiking shoes on any other Michael’s hike, but this was ok. I was soon proved wrong when Derek and Michael decided to start exploring alternative route to summit. For the next mile, it was on steep sections with loose mud/gravel with fog, rains and snow. Some sections were on a narrow ridge and it was like Angel’s landing without chains. The fog made it all the more dramatic. I was very careful with my steps and anticipated slips on tricky sections. Sometimes Sun broke out to give us green views all around which reminded me of Western Ghats. Soon cold wind started picking up and by the time we were at the summit it was snowing and it kept getting colder. My gloves were wet and my fingers were nearing to freeze. I had experienced worse, so I knew I could handle and just waited to start descending after lunch and regroup. It was fun group with lots of jokes and almost everyone made it to the summit. Fortunately, descending was not that bad and my shoes held on while descended using branches whenever I could. I was glad to reach the flat part of the trail safely. That was quite an adventure, thankfully there weren’t big rocks to traverse on. We saw mountain bikers on the way back. We finished the hike relatively faster this time and I was back at Seattle by 6:30 PM.

Activity Overview

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Categories: Outdoors, Seattle | Tags: , | 1 Comment

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