Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Gold Creek Pond Snowshoe

 Wanted a short snowshoe trip up at Snoqualmie Pass this morning (ended up snowshoeing for 4.5 miles). Parked at the west end of the Gold Creek Pond SnoPark and started up the road toward the Kendall Peak Lakes trail. Enjoyed the fresh snow!
 The tracks I followed stopped after about 1/2 mile, so I turned around to head to Gold Creek Pond.
 Instead of driving down the mile road to the winter trailhead, I show showshoed down the snow covered road.
 There was a nice creek along the way.
 In the winter, the trail starts off of Lake Mardee Road and heads up NF144. I followed fresh tracks up to Snowshoe Lane where I dropped down to Gold Creek Pond, breaking trail to the pond.
North shore of Gold Creek Pond
View of Rampart Ridge to the east, before the clouds came down.
I enjoyed breaking trail in the fresh snow that had fallen overnight.
Gold Creek Pond a little further down the trail
The bridge was completely covered in snow.
There were several beautiful creeks.

A winter wonderland

Snowshoeing back along Lake Mardee Road to my car, I also enjoyed the ice formations on the rock cliffs.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Middle Fork of the Snoqualmie River Winter Hike

One of the views we had driving up the Middle Fork Road near North Bend.
There are several hikes in the Middle Fork Valley. We choose the Middle Fork Trail up to the Dingford Creek Trail. One can hike anywhere from 1/4 mile to joining up with other trails and have fabulous views. We ended up hiking about 13.7 miles with 200 ft of elevation gain.
The trail starts by crossing a bridge over the Middle Fork of the Snoqualmie River. We were the first ones over the bridge this morning and would not see any other hikers all day.
View upstream from this bridge

View downstream from the bridge.

After crossing the bridge, we took the West Fork trail to the left, going upstream.
We soon had fabulous views of Garfield Mountain.
We would see Garfield Mountain through the trees quite a ways along the trail.
The trail goes through a lovely second growth forest.
About 3/4 mile along the trail, we passed under Stegosaurus Butte.
There are a variety of types of trees growing here.
We would have lots of peek a boo views of snowy peaks along the river.

 About 4 miles or so down the trail, we saw this fork (we later learned it was a section of the trail that had been washed out). We decided to head down to explore a bit.

There were some gorgeous river side views.

Pano looking east:

Some other river side views further down this old section:

Back up on the main trail, we had a large bridge crossing
with a view of this cascading creek.
About 5.8 miles from the trailhead, the trail forks. To the left, down to the Dingleford Creek Trail. To the right, continuing on the Middle Fork Trail with options to go to Snow Lake, Goldmeyer Hot Springs, or up to Dutch Miller Gap and beyond. We headed down to the Dingleford Creek Trail.

The trail crosses over the Middle Fork of the Snoqualmie River.

from the bridge, view downstream:
view upstream
Beautiful forest! As we were at our turn around time, we stopped here for a late lunch and

a brief walk down to the river edge, looking back at the bridge we just crossed.

As we returned back to the trailhead, we enjoyed how the views changed in the late afternoon sun:

Garfield Mountain in the late afternoon
Back at the bridge near the trailhead


Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Hex Mountain Snowshoe

Headed east of the mountains to go snowshoeing. About 10 miles north of Roslyn, to hike up to Hex Mountain. This is a 7 mile round trip hike with 2,600 ft of elevation gain. There was a small parking area on the side of the road (903 north) just before Newport Creek. We walked up the road a short ways turning up the first maintained/plowed  road going off to the right. (signs say "Logging trucks only). This is the second road after Newport Creek. About a mile up the plowed road there is an unplowed road to the right that leads to the summer Hex Mountain Trailhead. 

As this road gains elevation, we began to see Lake Cle Ellum below.

Further up the unplowed road, we found the Hex Mountain Trailhead. About 1.7 miles from road 903.

Before heading up the trail, a short ways down the road, there is a nice view of Lake Cle Ellum. (This may be the summer trailhead parking area)

From the summer trailhead, it is about 1.5 miles up to Hex Mountain. The first part goes up a ridge line with great views of the lake below and of the ridge line.

Pano from further up the trail:

The upper ridge line goes through a denser forest.

Finally, we could see the summit between the trees. It is a steep climb to the top, we were glad there was fresh snow.

Part way up, we began to see Mt Stuart in the distance to the  north west.

At the top, being careful to avoid any cornices.
Pano from the top looking northward:

Pano from the top looking southward:

The trip down was much quicker, and we enjoyed snowshoeing into the views!