After seeing the Olympic Mountains across the sound all week, I knew I had to make a trip over there with the nice weather we have been having. I was hoping that I could drive all the way to the Big Quilcene trailhead since it's on the Eastern side of the Olys , which is considered a part of the rain shadow area.
I took the first ferry out of Edmonds and drove in the dark to the lightly snowed parking lot at the trailhead. It was 7:45 when I started down the cold icy trail. There wasn't much snow accumuilation through the forest but there was a lot of icy spots and a few icy waterfalls.
I didn't put my snowshoes on until I reached about 5000'. This is when I entered the avy slopes from Buckhorn and Iron Mountains. The snow was solid and my snowshoes have some good traction, so they worked pretty good. I brought my crampons also, but never needed to use them. I thought about heading straight up the slope to the mountain but thought that it would be a better idea to go the long way.
The sky was blue and the air was crisp and clear! This was going to be a good day.
I made my way to Marmot Pass and this is where the wind started to make an already cold day bitterly cold. I mean really cold!
I noticed that my water bottle was freezing and I had ice floating in it. I kept moving toward the ridge and then I had to take my snowshoes off because the wind had blown the ridge almost completely snow free. As I gained more elevation, the wind became stronger. But I knew I was almost there. The cascade volcanoes started popping up to the east. Glacier Peak, then Rainier, Baker and then Saint Helens.
The wind was so strong that it almost knocked me over. Did I mention that it was cold. I finally made the summit at 11:00 and saw many peaks in the Olympic Range- Constance, Deception, Fricaba, Mystery and many others.
I quickly headed down to get out of the wind. I couldn't help but stare at the other peaks and come up with ideas for future trips. I really want to do more hiking in the Olympics this coming year. As I went back down toward camp Mystery, I saw two other snowshoers who were looking to set up a tent and camp in this cold weather. They are pretty brave and I hope they stay warm tonight.
On the way back, I noticed the Big Quilcene river a bit more and took a few pics of the little waterfalls.
I reached the truck at 1:00 to see a few bicylist enjoying the nice day. They out numbered the hikers today. It was a good trip by myself to enjoy the freedom of adventure and the solitude of the empty wilderness.
puzzlr wrote-What kind of head gear did you use to keep out the cold?
Unfortunately, only my hat and the hood from my coat. I had to pull it to the side to shield as much of the wind away from my face as I could. I was willing to deal with the conditions because I knew I wouldn't be up there for too long. I realized at the ridge that I should get something for future trips in those extremely cold and windy situations.
silence wrote-btw did you get a new camera??
Not yet but I've been thinking about it. It usually takes me awhile to decide exactly what I want.
Also, I'll say one more thing about how cold it was. The moisture evaporating from my body was caught by my outer shell. It turned to little flakes of ice that fell down my sleeves as I moved. It didn't fall out because it was trapped in between the layer of my breathable shell. I had a bit of ice inside my coat by the cuffs by the time I got back to the forest. I did have extra clothes but decided to stay warm by moving fast.
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