Forum Index > Trip Reports > Thomas Mtn (USGS Kachess Lake) 12/31/18
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Matt
Tea, Earl Grey, Hot



Joined: 30 Jan 2007
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Matt
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Tea, Earl Grey, Hot
PostWed Jan 09, 2019 11:57 pm 
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Date: 12/31/18
Destination:  Thomas Mtn 5269 (USGS Kachess Lake) via Domerie Divide trail
People:  Matt , Carla, Elle
Dogs:  Isabel

For 2018, I began and ended the year on the same trail, though ended at different destinations.
On 1/1/18, I snowshoed the Domerie Divide trail to Baldy & Domerie.
On 12/31/18, I turned the opposite direction at Domerie Divide and snowshoed to Thomas Mtn.

Favorite Snowy Tree below Domerie Divide on 1/1/18
Favorite Snowy Tree below Domerie Divide on 1/1/18
Favorite Snowy Tree below Domerie Divide on 12/31/18
Favorite Snowy Tree below Domerie Divide on 12/31/18
GPS Track
GPS Track

I also enjoyed the same companions: Carla, Elle, and Isabel.  Since Carla asserts that road hiking sucks her soul out of her, I'm somewhat impressed that I persuaded her to both begin and end the year hiking on the same road (1.5 miles from the road closure to the summer trailhead).

Previous groups had beaten in the trail up to the Easton Ridge junction at 3520, and two other snowshoers kicked steps up to about about 3800 feet.  We passed them when the ridge steepened and kicked our own steps upward.  Snow was about 6-12 inches of fresh light powder on top of a firm crust, so the snowshoes got a good grip on the underlying crust, and we chose our course to stay on the crest away from any steeper side slopes.

The trees demonstrated the recent weather – melted bare down low from warm rain a few days ago, with some fresh powder and frost up higher from the cold snowstorm two days ago.

Yep, we're hiking on a road.
Yep, we're hiking on a road.
Windblown ridge of snow on the windward side of trees.
Windblown ridge of snow on the windward side of trees.
Coming into the open
Coming into the open
Carla & Elle higher up
Carla & Elle higher up
Me
Me
Kicking steps up through the snow
Kicking steps up through the snow
Another view of my favorite snowy tree along the way
Another view of my favorite snowy tree along the way
Parting company at Domerie Divide
Parting company at Domerie Divide

At the  Domerie Divide junction, we parted company.  Carla & Elle headed to Baldy for wider views.  I went to Thomas so that I could visit a new destination.  Much of the route to Thomas is tree-covered, but I actually quite enjoyed the mile-long section that was forest-covered.  The sun shone dappled light through the trees, the calm air was a perfect balance between winter coolness and sunny warmth, and trail rambled amiably through crispy snow between the frosted mossy columns of tree trunks.

Hiking through the woods toward Thomas
Hiking through the woods toward Thomas

Higher on Thomas, the trees even more volubly bespoke the past few weeks weather on the crest.  Their limbs were mostly bare from recent warmer weather, with just a thin haze of fresh frost and powder.  However, occasional huge thick blobs of snow still clung to upper branches, showing the very thick snow cover that had previously coated the trees, especially on the northeast shady side.  Meanwhile, on the opposite side of the trees, racks of icicles hung downward, products of hot sun mixed with frigid air.

Lumps of thick snow leftover from previous storms
Lumps of thick snow leftover from previous storms
Thick leftover snow on the windward side of the trees (wind direction also shown by faint sastrugi on the ground snow)
Thick leftover snow on the windward side of the trees (wind direction also shown by faint sastrugi on the ground snow)
Tree icicles all over the sunny side
Tree icicles all over the sunny side
Tree icicles against shining against the blue sky
Tree icicles against shining against the blue sky
Old snow, new snow, and icicles all on one tree.
Old snow, new snow, and icicles all on one tree.

The mix of sun, snow, and trees was also just fun to look at as I hiked along.

Sun winking at me through the tree boughs.
Sun winking at me through the tree boughs.
Snow-robed tree with its less-richly-garbed attendants
Snow-robed tree with its less-richly-garbed attendants
I didin't know it at the time, but my camera caught the water droplets falling off the icicles here
I didin't know it at the time, but my camera caught the water droplets falling off the icicles here
Snowy bear cub climbing a tree
Snowy bear cub climbing a tree
Rainbow refractions shining through the boughs
Rainbow refractions shining through the boughs

A few views from near the summit:

Stuart Range out east
Stuart Range out east
Cle Elum Lake down below
Cle Elum Lake down below
Rainier in the distance with a slight lenticular crown
Rainier in the distance with a slight lenticular crown
Summit snow creatures with a bit of Cle Elum Lake
Summit snow creatures with a bit of Cle Elum Lake

Back down below the summit, I found a congenially sun-warmed spot for a cup of tea and soup, then headed back down.

summit tea rimmed with snow
summit tea rimmed with snow
Following my tracks down, with Baldy in the distance and the trail junction on the rise at right
Following my tracks down, with Baldy in the distance and the trail junction on the rise at right

I caught up with Carla and Elle descending the rib southwest of the divide.  Walking down the steeper sections was a painful thigh-burner, because gripping on the powder-above-crust combo required angling the snowshoes steeply downhill on every step.  On the road-walking part, we followed the powerlines this time instead of the road, but it was about the same distance, and reeked of snowmobile exhaust regardless.

Stats: 11.7 miles, 3770 gain, 8:20 hours

After the hike, we continued onward to Wenatchee for New Year's Eve at Suzanne & Barry's house.

A seafood, pasta, and salad feast at Suzanne & Barry's (I was too timid to try the oysters or mussels)
A seafood, pasta, and salad feast at Suzanne & Barry's (I was too timid to try the oysters or mussels)
Happy New Year
Happy New Year

--------------
“As beacons mountains burned at evening.” J.R.R. Tolkien
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awilsondc
Scramblin' Fool



Joined: 03 Apr 2016
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awilsondc
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Scramblin' Fool
PostFri Jan 11, 2019 9:36 pm 
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What beautiful blue skies! Seems like its been a while since I've seen those. Also, thanks for the reminder that I need to do more summit tea!  up.gif  up.gif
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Nancyann
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PostFri Jan 11, 2019 10:16 pm 
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I love your snowy tree pictures, especially the ones with icicles.
I agree with Carla about those boring roadwalks, but it seems that when they are snow covered they are a little more tolerable.
Looks like a fun New Year’s Eve get together!
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Snuffy
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PostSat Jan 12, 2019 12:19 pm 
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Nice trip, Matt. I love the snowy tree shapes, too! Looks like a wonderful way to wrap up the year.

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You don't find yourself standing at the top of a mountain without having started out in the valley.
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