Today was a relaxing day following the blue diamond route up to Hyak Lake and just a bit further to the Warming Hut.
It was my pleasure to be the tour guide for a first-time snowshoer (and friend of mine), CHawk.
As it turns out, it was almost exactly one year ago that I first visited this trail.
Considering the television news was warning of substantial rains with the incoming Pineapple Express and Breaking News Avalanche Warnings, I felt our destination options were rather limited... so I was a Trail-Repeater with secret hopes that the forecasts were overly dramatic and maybe we'd be able to reach Nordic Pass.
Our drive to Snoqualmie Pass was uneventful, although we were being teased by cloudy-but-bright skies along the way only to be engulfed in fog upon reaching the Hyak exit.
The initial creek crossing (which was over a snow bridge last year) was now a real creek crossing. After a slow and careful descent down a 9-foot bank and a couple of stepping stones we both managed to get across with dry feet.
A faint path followed the blue diamond route, making for much faster progress than last year's excursion. The trail was completely deserted on our ascent to the Lake. As we approached the lake, the fog thickened and the skies began to leak the promised precipitation: Rain.
We proceeded around the lake (counter clockwise) and found a grove of trees to take cover under while we snacked on some lunch goodies and don our stylish ponchos. Ironically, after spending a couple of minutes on the trail describing the danger of treewells to CHawk, I was almost swallowed whole by a treewell at our lunch spot. Ok, I only sunk waist deep - but you get the picture.
After lunch, we continued up the ridge and arrived at the warming hut. Spent a few minutes looking at the Hyak Ski map (wow, lots of ski trails up here that I had no idea existed!) before deciding that the weather would likely continue it's forecasted deterioration and took the opportunity to head back toward the trail head.
Along the way found someone's snow circle... from a snow camp I assume (hard to see, but it's in this photo):
Made the final creek crossing with much better time than on the way in, and still stayed dry.
With lots of daylight left, we opted to locate the east-end of the Snoqualmie Tunnel... just because we could. Parked at the Hyak Sno-Park and snowshoed the approx. 4/10 mi. from the parking lot to the tunnel entrance. The tunnel is closed each winter from Nov until May.
First we came across the informational reader board:
and noticed this across the creek:
Maybe it's someone's cabin?
Met this happy husky a short distance later (with no owner in sight)
and shortly thereafter reached our destination:
Returned to the car, drove out to the Gold Creek Sno-Park (looked busy even though it was now raining) and opted to call it quits. Stopped at the In-Laws in N. Bend, visited the local St-ar-Bux and was home by dinner time.
Thanks CHawk for the entertaining company today. Hopefully the weather will be better in April.
Next outing: April 2 - somewhere in Maui.
-------------- "Ill habits gather unseen degrees, as brooks make rivers, rivers run to seas." ~John Dryden
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