With the promise of dry weather, and a bit of sun on Sunday, Maurie and I had made plans to head out for a day of snowshoeing. It had been almost two years since our last foray on snowshoes, and we were itching to get at least one trip on them in 2012! So, we loaded up the trusty Subaru, and hit the road. Our destination: the Talapus Lake trail (or rather, the road to the trail head).
We left the fog and overcast of Alki and headed towards the hills, and soon we had left the clouds and broken in to the sunlight and blue skies of the mountain highway. The directions in Snowshoeing Washington tell you to drive to the end of the plowed road and park, and start from there. Well, this year, this seems to be almost as soon as we were off the highway.
We put on our snowshoes and headed up the forest service road to the parking lot for the summertime trail head. Despite the road not being plowed, it has been well traveled by vehicles. We were passed by an SUV and pickup as we hiked. The lower road was hard bordering on icy from the traffic it’s seen. The upper road after we turned off at the junction towards Talapus Lake was in better shape, especially as we went higher up the hillside. Finally, with about a mile left to our destination, we left the last of the recent tire tracks and had good soft base of snow – even in the old tire tracks!
Along the way, we marveled at the deep blue sky, snow on the tree branches, alder seeds fallen from cones across the blanket of white; streams which the road cris-crossed an a sapsucker visiting his trees for sap and insects. We stopped several times along the way to admire the views. We tried to take photos of alder tips with small mounds of snow balanced above them (regrettably, auto-focus on the camera thwarted any attempt at a clear shot).
As we approached our destination, we began to be passed by other snowshoers who were returning to their vehicles. Many of them had their dogs with them. I think that parties with dogs outnumbered those without. We wondered aloud if we could convince one of our cats to come out with us. Probably not, snow being cold and our cats being heat and sun worshipers.
Finally arriving at the summertime trail head to Talapus Lake, we finally settled down for lunch of hot soup. We sat gawking at the views from the parking lot where we had chosen as our turn-around point.
As we sat, we heard some hikers coming down the trail from the lake, and got to meet two exuberant labs who were right at face level. Fortunately, Maurie heard them coming and thought to close up containers of food so as not to have it scattered all around us in the snow.
After the labs, with their accompanying people and very mellow husky companion left, we continued to gawk some more, take a few photos, and Maurie made a snow angel before making our way back down the trail. It took us about an hour and a half to retrace the route that seemed to be an incredibly long two hours on the ascent. On the way down, we encountered a cross country skier being trailed by an aging golden retriever, and a few families out for some fun in the snow.
We made it back to the car with a little daylight remaining for a cup of warm tea before heading home.
We had a great day in the sun and snow.