Posts Tagged With: Snow

Hike to Guye Peak

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This is the 3rd consecutive Thanksgiving long weekend where I have been staying in home state. I usually go out for long weekends but for various reasons, I end up spending Thanksgiving in Washington. Taking advantage of meetups and snow, I signed up for a hike even though the forecast was hardly good. It was raining in Seattle in the morning but things started to look promising during the drive to trailhead. The clouds were shining bright with the rays and we could see blue sky. I was excited to start with the hike asap since I wanted the views from the top. It was a short but steep trail and since I was ahead, Michael asked me to take care of navigation. I screwed it up in the beginning but was careful from thereon. Snow was with us right from the parking lot. Trail was slippery due to numerous boulders. We hiked in clouds for a while and the views when we were above the cloud level were spectacular. The views kept getting better and the summit offered nothing less.

We were between 2 bands of clouds and the near panoramic views were awesome. I hadn’t carried any lunch, so spent time capturing the beauty and started the descent. The hike down was much safer than I expected and we were back on the trailhead by 2 PM. I am thankful for being in this amazingly beautiful state.

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

Hike to Gothic basin and Foggy lake

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Taking advantage of the beautiful weather on a November weekend, I signed up for Gothic Basin hike. I was excited since my snow cravings hadn’t been fulfilled yet. It was an early start, we started to hike by 8 AM. Ascent till the snow section was quite boring and tiring (maybe because of yesterday’s Squash games). The trail was rocky almost all the way and there were multiple stream crossings. We wore spikes for snow and by then tree cover was mostly gone which provided us with scenic views. At places there were tiny waterfalls and some were frozen too. The actual fun started as soon as we entered the basin. In bright daylight, we could see snow, huge rocks, frozen pools and just beauty all around. I was no more tired from there on and we reached semi frozen Foggy lake for lunch. From there on we climbed to reach a saddle and explored a bit on the side. It was a fantastic vantage point which provided views of the basin, Foggy lake, Mt Pugh and surrounding mountains. Apart from occasional slight winds, weather was just perfect. I fell once on a rock as soon as I got rid of spikes. That made it back to back falls on hikes. The whole trail was like an obstacle course – slippery wooden planks, stream crossings, light scramble, finding snow to step on snow while on spikes, testing the frozen pools and steep traverse near saddle. A fantastic day out.

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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.

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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.

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Snow skills training – Basics

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Micheal posted the skills training event on the meetup and I was in waiting list throughout. I wasn’t keen on attending initially, bad weather being one of the reason. Even though I was on waiting list, Micheal messaged me few days before the event and invited me to attend. I felt that glad that he took efforts to make sure I was part of the team. To keep this relationship intact, I chose to attend the event. It turned out to be a fantastic day with sunny weather and good hands on learning.

There were 30+ people and we all drove to the snow lake trailhead from where we started snowshoeing. We got on the mountain and started doing activities. We learned to collectively break the trail as as team, traverse on steep sections, glissade and ice axe arrest. I broke the trail for some distance which was very tiring. We switched breaking trails so that most would get a chance which also avoided only one person doing it. I enjoyed the ice axe arrest during the glissades. We basically glissaded multiple times on what was called chute and learnt arresting the slide using an ice axe. The Sun was out and we could see the blue sky often and it certainly changed the mood for the day.

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