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puzzlr
Mid Fork Rocks



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Mid Fork Rocks
PostTue Feb 09, 2021 8:00 pm 
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Normally this tame route wouldn't merit a report, but it's winter and what else is there to do?

One day after a storm came through the avalanche hazard was bright red all over the central cascades. But the weather looked good and we'd both been home for almost a week so we planned a familiar route focusing on forests and lakes. Initially we were heading for Lake Kulla Kulla (via Mason Lake) but from a previous trip we knew the slopes getting down to it were pretty steep and didn't want to slog our way back up. So after passing Mason Lake we traversed over mostly level terrain to Island Lake. The 6" of powdery snow over the older crust made for unusually quiet snowshoeing and the snow plastered trees were beautiful.

There was snow on the "trail" from I-90 Exit 42 starting right at the trailhead
There was snow on the "trail" from I-90 Exit 42 starting right at the trailhead
There was about 3" of fresh snow on the Ira Spring trail where we joined it
There was about 3" of fresh snow on the Ira Spring trail where we joined it
Mason Creek bridge with fresh snow. With the cold temperatures the water volume wasn't unusual, but when things warm up ...
Mason Creek bridge with fresh snow. With the cold temperatures the water volume wasn't unusual, but when things warm up ...
Mason Creek trail a little below the talus field
Mason Creek trail a little below the talus field
Starting up the headwall along the edges of the talus field
Starting up the headwall along the edges of the talus field
Usual view of P3 looking down valley
Usual view of P3 looking down valley
We enjoyed being the first to make tracks after the 6" of new snow. The snow was powdery so even our snowhoes didn't make much noise.
We enjoyed being the first to make tracks after the 6" of new snow. The snow was powdery so even our snowhoes didn't make much noise.
View down to Lake Kulla Kulla. We had planned to drop down to it but the snow conditions were not safe enough. We diverted to Island Lake.
View down to Lake Kulla Kulla. We had planned to drop down to it but the snow conditions were not safe enough. We diverted to Island Lake.
Tiers of icy ledges have built up on rocky areas above
Tiers of icy ledges have built up on rocky areas above
Traversing to Island Lake through a snow-plastered old growth forest. Thank goodness the loggers never made it in this far.
Traversing to Island Lake through a snow-plastered old growth forest. Thank goodness the loggers never made it in this far.

We walked across Island Lake to our "summit" on top of the eponymous island. It was windy there near the outlet gap so we had lunch on another small bump in the lake. When we left Bryan took two steps off the top of the bump and his leg, snowshoe and all, went down into some kind of wind form "crevasse". It was funny after it was clear he was fine.

Bryan snowshoes to a small hump in Island Lake
Bryan snowshoes to a small hump in Island Lake
Me on the island of Island Lake
Me on the island of Island Lake
Beautiful light and shadows on the snow when the sun broke time to time
Beautiful light and shadows on the snow when the sun broke time to time
We at lunch on a small hump of snow in the middle Island Lake. When we left Bryan took a couple steps off the top and broke through a wind-formed cavity. I took this only after confirming he was ok.
We at lunch on a small hump of snow in the middle Island Lake. When we left Bryan took a couple steps off the top and broke through a wind-formed cavity. I took this only after confirming he was ok.
Out of focus, but this is the hidden void in the snow hump
Out of focus, but this is the hidden void in the snow hump

It was even prettier heading out with more sun breaks. On Mason Lake Bryan suggested something he'd done before -- walk 200 steps with your eyes closed and see if you can walk straight. I was sure I had done that but when I opened my eyes I had walked in almost a complete circle! That's pretty instructive, and explains why finding your way in a whiteout without navigation aids is so hard.

Tall trees while dropping down to Mason Lake
Tall trees while dropping down to Mason Lake
A straight line only on a non-euclidean lake.
A straight line only on a non-euclidean lake.
Bryan suggested we each try to walk across Mason Lake for a while with our eyes closed. I was sure I was roughly heading toward our destination but when I opened my eyes I was walking in a circle! Bryan also veered right, but not as far as me
Bryan suggested we each try to walk across Mason Lake for a while with our eyes closed. I was sure I was roughly heading toward our destination but when I opened my eyes I was walking in a circle! Bryan also veered right, but not as far as me

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Mid Fork Rocksflickr
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GaliWalker
Have camera will use



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Have camera will use
PostTue Feb 09, 2021 9:02 pm 
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puzzlr wrote:
Normally this tame route wouldn't merit a report, but it's winter and what else is there to do?

Given your beautiful snowy pictures I, for one, am glad you put up a report.  up.gif

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'Gali'Walker => 'Mountain-pass' walker
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fourteen410
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PostTue Feb 09, 2021 10:34 pm 
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GaliWalker wrote:
puzzlr wrote:
Normally this tame route wouldn't merit a report, but it's winter and what else is there to do?

Given your beautiful snowy pictures I, for one, am glad you put up a report.  up.gif

Me too!
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Nancyann
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PostTue Feb 09, 2021 10:45 pm 
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Very nice! Glad Bryan wasn’t injured. A good reminder of the hidden dangers when traveling in deep snow!
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RichP
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here and there
PostWed Feb 10, 2021 7:59 am 
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Very nice day out.  up.gif
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Penquin
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PostWed Feb 10, 2021 1:52 pm 
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Yes, I'm glad it all turned out okay after finding that big hole.  I'm usual look for mounds that might be a small tree or other potential hole beneath the snow but I wouldn't of thought there would be a big moat on the backside of one of the islands in the middle of the lake.  Other than that, it was a great day to be out in the deep powder that we so rarely see at this elevation.

It was also fun to do the "200 steps with you're eyes closed" exercise again.  I like to do this whenever I'm crossing a larger lake and there isn't much of a chance to get into trouble.  It usually turns out to be a big circle no matter how hard you try not to do it.  It's a good lesson to know you can't trust your senses as much as you'd like.

Puzzler at Mason Lake

Mason Lake

Island Lake from one of the Islands.
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Brushbuffalo
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PostWed Feb 10, 2021 4:16 pm 
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Penquin wrote:
usually turns out to be a big circle no matter how hard you try not to do it.  It's a good lesson to know you can't trust your senses as much as you'd like. 

Very interesting! Once when up on the tarns at Yellow Aster Meadows in dense fog (pre GPS) and foolishly lacking a compass, I wandered around and finally came upon tracks in the snow of a someone going these way.....wait.....my tracks!

I had no awareness that I had walked in a circle. I relied on the steady south wind as a compass to get out of there.

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Passing rocks and trees like they were standing still
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some names
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PostThu Feb 11, 2021 12:29 pm 
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Snow changes everything! If your trip doesn't merit a report, then none of ours do! Thanks for posting this one. Really like the pictures. Your crop circle is very cool . . .where are you guys from again?

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somesignaturehere and somesignaturethere
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babylero
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PostThu Feb 11, 2021 5:17 pm 
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Nice, I've had Ira spring to Mason Lake and Bandera on my winter snowshoe to do list.
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Hiker Mama
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PostMon Feb 15, 2021 12:01 pm 
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Beautiful!

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My hiking w/ kids site: www.thehikermama.com
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Roly Poly
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PostMon Feb 15, 2021 7:06 pm 
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I would be too scared to walk on any lake!  Beautiful photos, though.
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