Forum Index > Trip Reports > Heroes & Villains - Lk Keechelus 01/13/08 (J Wayne Trail)
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Elvis
Shuffl'n



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Elvis
Shuffl'n
PostMon Jan 14, 2008 1:33 am 
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What a glorious day to be snowshoeing in the mountains!
West
West

Left home about 7:15am to meet D2K at his house and then head up I-90 along with apparently half of the state.  We were running a little late, but missed the worst of the traffic and the ice.
a.m. Drama
a.m. Drama

Sped over the pass and ended up at the Stampede Pass /  Crystal Springs Sno-Park at about 10:00am.

Soft Landing
Soft Landing

There were a few other Cross Country skiers, snowshoers and dog sledders on the trail as well, but honestly I expected a lot more people.
Bridge2
Bridge2
Bridge1
Bridge1

Everyone... if you're still reading you may as well take a moment and grab some popcorn before reading on.

Things were going along just fine... until we were verbally assaulted by a very angry cross country skier.  This lady went ON and ON about how snowshoers are NOT allowed on the trail.  She continued to rant  carry on.  Finally she tried to thwart us from going any further by claiming we need to have a permit to be there.  A sno-park permit?  We've got that.   rolleyes.gif

Was she courteous or attempting to educate us?  Not at all.  On and on.  From the moment she caught up to us she treated us as if we were villains.

We were on the groomed path.  We were single file.  We were not disturbing either of the skating lanes on the sides of the track.  The packed and groomed snow in the middle looked no different after we passed by than it did before we passed by.  Our steps were not leaving any 'snowshoe' impressions or depressions.

The trail was not busy.  We weren't impeding any trail traffic or causing any congestion or getting in anyone's way.

In some places there was space where it was possible to walk off the groomed area but there were also numerous places where the space was minimal due to a drop-off or trees.  There were times we were off the groomed track and in the untracked thin-crusted snow, but obviously we weren't when this lady came by.

Finally she puts her ipod headphones back on and skates off in the direction of the lake.

10 minutes later we look up and see her returning.  We are still single file and on the right half of the groomed track, not making footprints or marking the skating lanes and there aren't any other skiers in sight.

She is on the opposite side of the track, but not in the little parallel-cut skating lane track and as she gets closer I see her obviously and purposefully scoot over to the exact middle of the groomed track.

It's obvious that if neither of us change our position there is going to be a collision.  She's still a ways off, there's plenty of time.  Basically, she's playing chicken with us.  We just keep snowshoeing and at the last moment, she inches over and just narrowly avoids hitting us.  We were already right next to the parallel skating tracks on the right side.

Clearly, we're villains.  I don't get it but maybe it will come up in conversation and the Bham Social on the 22nd...   wink.gif   While we didn't let the encounter spoil our day, it did linger in the air.

The story isn't over.  You have to keep reading.

A short while later we exited the groomed trail to head south through the trees and up to a mini-summit at about 2900'.  Our own little mountaintop and private paradise.  Spent lots of time up there savoring the views and the weather.
Clouds
Clouds
Tracks
Tracks
Peaks Peek
Peaks Peek
View5
View5
Macro view
Macro view
Cloud Drama
Cloud Drama
Shadow2
Shadow2

We continued down our mini-summit (which I hereby name Heroes & Villains) and came across Meadow Creek... and a lot of snowmobilers.
Meadow Creek
Meadow Creek

Retreated a bit and ventured out toward Lake Keechelus for a little extra exploration.  Luckily there wasn't a groomed trail out there.  We went quite a ways, always keeping a watchful eye on those cross-country skiers - never knowing who's going to start lecturing us for breaking some kind of snow etiquette rule.
Walkway
Walkway
Shadow buddies
Shadow buddies
View4
View4
View3
View3
View2
View2
View
View
in line
in line
Top
Top

Finally, hot, tired and bothered, we decided that it was time to face our fears and head back.  Instead of the groomed CC trail, we started to follow the snowmobile track instead.   paranoid.gif  eek.gif  Yeah, won't make that mistake again.

Cut through the trees and a small valley to find the groomed CC track and came across a couple of lone snowmobile paths that were mostly parallel to the groomed CC trail and opted to follow those, as best we could.  It was tiresome.  It was hot.  We had to dodge two snowmobiles.

Just after the snowmobile went by, here comes a cross country skier on the groomed track... smiling.  This person stopped and thanked us for staying off the groomed track and went on and on about how none of the other snowshoers were doing that.  She was thrilled and we were now heroes.   dizzy.gif   We just smiled and wished her a good day.

Back to the car at 3:00pm and home without further incident.

Round Trip:  about 6 miles.

--------------
"Ill habits gather unseen degrees, as brooks make rivers, rivers run to seas."  ~John Dryden
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Kat
Turtle Hiker



Joined: 05 Oct 2003
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Kat
Turtle Hiker
PostMon Jan 14, 2008 6:29 am 
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Sorry you had such a bad time, in the midst of a good time!  I XC'd up at Crystal Springs a couple of weekends ago.  I was in a hurry and couldn't find a good map before I left, and I found the signage confusing.

apparently there are some designated snowshoe only trails that intersect the XC trails, I did see that signage as I skiied by.  Also it appears some of the XC trails are one-way only, after I finally figured this out I was sure I had offended someone  embarassedlaugh.gif

But at least I didn't get harangued!
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slabbyd
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slabbyd
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PostMon Jan 14, 2008 8:57 am 
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There is nothing more annoying that snowshoers messing up a groomed XC path or a skin track.  Sorry thats the truth.
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Malachai Constant
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Malachai Constant
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PostMon Jan 14, 2008 10:18 am 
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The tracks on either side are not "skating lanes" they are conventional XC groomed tracks. The center "track" is in fact the skating lane. Snowshoers if they must be on a groomed track should be to the side of the XC tracks. Skaters use very light skis and must be in constnt motion or stopped it does not take much of a posthole to trip them. People pay twice as much to ski at a "groomed" area and understandably get pissed if someone is trashing the track.

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"You do not laugh when you look at the mountains, or when you look at the sea." Lafcadio Hearn
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don b
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don b
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PostMon Jan 14, 2008 1:20 pm 
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Be very careful when you are out on the "Walkway".  That's actually the dam holding back the "Lake" and you could be busted for being out there!  Homeland Security restricts dam crossings and I keep hearing from State Parks and Forest Service that they are going to post it some day.  This is actually the reason you can no longer ski out of the East bound Price Creek rest area.
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dicey
custom title



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dicey
custom title
PostMon Jan 14, 2008 1:42 pm 
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That's news to me.
I guess if they don't want people skiing across the dam, they should post a warning or something... huh.gif

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I'm not always sure I like being older but being less stupid has advantages.
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touron
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touron
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PostMon Jan 14, 2008 2:02 pm 
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Next time you see that lady you can start singing this song.

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Touron is a nougat of Arabic origin made with almonds and honey or sugar, without which it would just not be Christmas in Spain.
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Gabigabs
Trail Breaker



Joined: 07 Nov 2007
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Gabigabs
Trail Breaker
PostMon Jan 14, 2008 3:03 pm 
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Sorry to hear about your encounter with the skier. I understand that it's very annoying when snowshoers disturb the ski tracks but if you weren't doing so, then the anger was completely out of place.

Otherwise it seems like a nice day out. Gorgeous pics.

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Life is simple... Eat, Sleep, Hike!
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Joe
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PostMon Jan 14, 2008 8:03 pm 
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I'm both a x-c skier and snowshoer.  My understanding is groomed trails are off limits to dogs, walkers and snowshoers.

I'm sorry you had a bad encounter,  I think frustrations are building among x-c skiers as the number of snowshoers increases every year.  Some longtime, popular x-c ski routes, like Kendall Lakes, are now mostly unused by x-c skiers due to snowshoer usage.

There are issues that need to be addressed that make it easier for snowshoers to access areas near groomed trail sno parks without having to walk on the groomed trails.  Amabilis Mountain is good example of a groomed x-c ski trail causing problems for snowshoers.  I'm not sure why they groom the first two miles of the route and some winters, most of the route may be groomed.

It appears to me, that many new snowshoers don't have any idea of the groomed trail rules or understand snowshoeing impacts to x-c ski trails or x-c ski tracks.

I tried to find some information on groomed trail usage, but it seems information is missing, incomplete or vague.  Signs about allowed usage at groomed x-c ski trails are missing and hard to find.

Washington State Winter Sports website lists a few rules. From the web site

Quote:
Dogs on Trails
Dogs punch holes in the trails with their paws, making paths difficult and dangerous to follow. Dogs, except those operating in a seeing-eye capacity, are prohibited on all groomed trails. Dogsledding and skijoring are allowed only on backcountry (non-groomed) and snowmobile trails.

Trail Tips

* Leave dogs at home.

* Don't walk on a groomed trail.

I would interpret "Don't walk on a groomed trail" to mean snow shoeing is not allowed.  The statement is a little vague and doesn't specifically say snow shoeing is prohibited.

Sunday I was x-c skiing at Lake Easton.  There were 4 people in two groups snow shoeing on the groomed trail in the skating lane.  One group had a dog off leash.   I was polite and didn't say anything to the snowshoers.  I thought snow shoeing was prohibited, so I started looking for signs that spelled out allowed usage.  I found none at the start of the trail, just a sign pointing snow mobiles to the right and skiers to the left.  The trail maps posted along the route, did have a statement in the lower left corner, in a small font, that stated dogs and snowshoeing are prohibited on the groomed trails.

The Crystal Springs map might also be a little confusing.  A dog sled trail leaves the sno park and connects with the Iron horse trail in mile.   Most x-c skiers use this trail to access the Iron horse trail.  At the junction, the trail right, toward Hyak, is a groomed x-c trail and the trail left, toward Easton, is a dog sled trail.  I guess snowshoeing is allowed on dog sled trails.  I'm not sure if any signs exist at Crystal Springs spelling out allowed trail usage.

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Joe
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Sabahsboy
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Sabahsboy
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PostMon Jan 14, 2008 8:29 pm 
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Elvis, but really, you should never take on a "wild cat"!  You'll always be the loser!  No matter, shot #19 is wonderful.  I love that area....and, I did not know that the dam route was "open".  I x-c skiied that many times and really could do it, again...as long as I stay off the GD groomed trails that the State takes so darned seriously...for those tempermental Mental Cases.  Oh, well...when I did my x-c skiing, the contention was with snowmobilers.  You either skiied on THEIR private trails and stayed out of their way, or made new trails...or, followed the trails others cut as they preceded you.  Often went far up side roads....exploring.  Rarely had "great views" though weather conditions often contributed to nice photo taking.  You did not give away your address and name to the zealous school-marmish lady?  She would like to sic the law on you....if she ever found anyone to listen to her rant.  Sorry you had to deal with the whitless creep.
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Elvis
Shuffl'n



Joined: 09 Jun 2004
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Location: del Boca Vista
Elvis
Shuffl'n
PostMon Jan 14, 2008 8:33 pm 
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I've learned a lot about this topic in the last 36 hours.

MC - thanks for the clarification on CC terminology... I had that all wrong.

Don b - thanks for the heads up.  Allowed or not, it's still pretty cool, IMO.   up.gif

Everyone else... thanks for your comments, insights and opinions also.

I did some research and learned that there is a big map at Crystal Springs that shows some specific snowshoe trails (all head away from the lake, though  mad.gif  down.gif ) and it does have verbiage, as Joe described, stating that walkers, dogs and snowshoers are not allowed on the groomed CC track.
<<Edit:  Here is the pdf of the Crystal Springs map.  "20km of groomed cross country trails... and a 3km snowshoe route."   down.gif  >>

So... my apologies to the CC skiers who may have been negatively impacted by our abuses.

Obviously there is a lot of room for improvement and effort in order to reduce future instances of this conflict, better educate the users and get some people into an etiquette class.
<<Another Edit:  I would think that the groomed cross country tracks should maintain a shoulder wide enough for a line of single file snowshoers... or walkers.  That would be more than fair in my opinion.>>

Just kidding on that last part.  Kind of.

Regardless, that lady didn't need to be rude.

~E

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"Ill habits gather unseen degrees, as brooks make rivers, rivers run to seas."  ~John Dryden
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Sabahsboy
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Sabahsboy
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PostMon Jan 14, 2008 8:47 pm 
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Was the dam route groomed?  If not and it was legal to cross it, you were clearly legit.  There was work on the dam for several years (at least) and closed it to skiiers...everyone.  Some might say it was "damn work".  LOL!

When going up and down Kendall Ridge, there were always folks complaining....about snowshoes on and over the ski tracks; snowshoers complaining about fast approaching skiiers out of control, dogs, babies in tow, etc., etc.  Nevertheless, it was nearly always a gratifying trip....nice views of Rampart Ridge and sunset light on Kendall.
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don b
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don b
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PostMon Jan 14, 2008 8:49 pm 
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I agree she was rude in her comments to you.  A lot of passionate skiers like myself are pretty weary of this whole snowshoe/skier debate.  I think the message is finally begining to get through to the parks/forest service people that we need to try and provide seperation between all users groups.  Whether anything will actually come of it is another thing... Oh and there is a marked snowshoe trail as part of the Trollhagen/Stordahl trail system at Crystal Springs but I don't think it leads to any great views.

This past Sunday at Snoqualmie was declared by the FS and Parks to be the busiest ever in the Pass area.  Parking was incredibly difficult to come by as many reading here can attest. The chaos certainly leads to all sort of tension.

Regarding the trail grooming on Mt Amabalis.  Several years ago it was groomed all the way to the top but the snowmobilers objected to skiers getting another few miles of grooming so the "Y" was declared the end of the grooming.  Of course snowmobilers have 600 miles of grooming as opposed to the skiers 30 (in the Cle Elum Ranger District) but that's another sore point.  I would very much like to mark out a snowshoe trail up Amabalis but wonder if anyone would use it when they could just walk on the groomed trails.
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E's Mom
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E's Mom
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PostMon Jan 14, 2008 11:06 pm 
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Okay- I'm a xc skier and I have to admit that I have been very frusterated by snowshoers who walk on the classically groomed tracks and skate lanes. Groomed trails are precious and we skiers pay extra for them. That said, I have NICELY advised snowshoers about where best to walk and, for the most part, they have been kind in return and often didn't know where they were supposed to walk (esp. up at the Snoqualmie area trails, where a lot of people are renting and just checking out snowshoeing). To their best of their ablility, snowshoers should try to walk to the outside of the groomed ski trail (outside both the skate lane and the tracks groomed for classic skiing). This can be very difficult to do on the John Wayne/Iron Horse Trail since there often isn't much of a "shoulder". Snowshoers should never, ever walk in the skate lanes. Even if you think you aren't affecting the lane, you just might be. Us skate-skiers can be very picky about our snow! wink.gif I think it comes down to education. A lot of snowshoers don't ski and vs. versa, so we don't understand what the other person needs. It's too bad that the lady you encountered didn't take this into account and handled it differently.

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"I will lift my eyes to the hills. From whence does my help come? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth."
Psalm 121:1
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Stones
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Stones
funk soul brother
PostMon Jan 14, 2008 11:10 pm 
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don b wrote:
This past Sunday at Snoqualmie was declared by the FS and Parks to be the busiest ever in the Pass area.  Parking was incredibly difficult to come by as many reading here can attest. The chaos certainly leads to all sort of tension.

I was skiing out of the Cabin Creek Sno-Park on Sunday and the Pass area was a total zoo.  It was an awesome day.  I didn't see any snowshoers walking on the tracks, though.

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Let me stand next to your fire
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Forum Index > Trip Reports > Heroes & Villains - Lk Keechelus 01/13/08 (J Wayne Trail)
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