Friday–time for snow
Posted by joeabbott on December 31, 2016
Well, my vacation is coming to an end … I will get Monday off (New Year’s Day Observed) but I’m into the final weekend and need to start making good on some of my vacation commitments. Yes, I’m a procrastinator, but my home office will get cleaned, I will put order into my shop, and I
will did get out snowshoeing.
Heath and I made several attempts at connecting over the holidays and we finally got out Friday; a simple, little (7.5 miles by the map) snowshoe hike to Annette Lake, a spot of little importance off I-90 just out of Seattle … exit 47 if you really care.
When I left home it was raining, when I picked Heath up it was misting, and when we got to the trailhead at about 8:30AM, it was a slushy drizzle … but, by the time we got to Annette Lake about 3 hours later, the skies were gloriously blue!
When we left my car, I parked off in what I hoped was a spot that wouldn’t get me ticketed … it was off the bridge leading to the trailhead but still reasonably close to the on-ramp signs. I was nervous but there were no other cars around and I was willing to risk it. Far better, in my mind, to get a ticket than be hit by a snow plow. But, the heavy snow left little in the way of options.
Heading out with Heath is always welcome: we used to work together but, even with years of being in different places at the company, conversation is easy, he keeps up a steady stream of chit-chat, and didn’t seem to mind that all my answers were breathy one-word responses. Less out of a lack of interest in the topic and more because that’s all the breath I could spare most of the time.
As I told Heath, I’m glad we weren’t a wolf pack because I was starting to show that I was the weakest member. Time at a desk job, time on the planet, and not enough time in the gym were all conspiring to make this jaunt a bit more than I was ready for. At one point he suggested we detour and head up nearby Silver Peak but I demurred. When he offered that we might head up far enough to get above tree line, I had to let him know that getting to the lake and back would just about tap me … and I wanted to have energy when I got home to do more than nap until dinner and then go to bed early. He took it well.
I chose my oldest pair of boots for this outing … the kind of footwear that looks like it would suit Frankenstein’s monster. I got them for serious glacier work and paid over $300 for them back in the early 1990’s. They were dear to me for a long time, being my preferred boots, until I realized that not all hikes were suited for boots that heavy. But, for keeping my feet warm, securing my ankles, and locking into the snowshoes … perfect. Slipping them on was like reuniting with an old friend.
Other than that, I pulled on rain pants, had my Gore-Tex outer, and chose a holiday-theme bandana to top things off. Later, after we stopped and my head was getting chilly, I pulled on a black cap … with the green bandana sticking out, a woman on the trail noted that I looked the part of a “festive pirate”. Best compliment all vacation.
At one point I had a wardrobe malfunction and a sock slipped down in my boot, requiring adjustment. Meaning, I had to find a place to work on it, remove my gaiter, zip up my rain pants, zip away my nylon hiking pants, undo my boot, fish the sock up, and then redo the whole shebang. For a guy at home in a t-shirt and jeans, this was way too much clothing! While I was fiddling, a group of four young men passed us by and we met them about a half hour later at the lake.
On the return from the lake, however, we ran into well over a dozen people heading in. Some on snowshoes, some in simple boots, and one guy on skies. For the most part all were friendly and enjoying the wonderful day. Without the rain and seeing the brilliant blue skies, the trail took on an allure that seemed hard to ignore.
What I wasn’t ready for was the parking lot. While the road to the lot was blocked about a quarter mile back, there were dozens of people frolicking about. Young couples on dates, small groups pulling sleds, and one group of about 20 people who were making snowmen, snow forts, and generally setting up a small fiefdom. This explosion of people prepared us for that quarter mile trek back to my truck as we bumped into many other small groups. It was fun to see lots of brown faces … people who didn’t appear native to the Pacific Northwest who were very much enjoying a romp in the snow.
My car was now tenth in line from the trailhead with lots of other cars all around. As Heath and I were pulling off wet gear … mostly from sweat … he announced that his GPS noted we’d hiked 9.5 miles that day, “but it must be off”. I kept my thoughts to myself but his GPS sure aligned with how my legs were feeling! I pulled a Snickers for each of us and some Gatorade out of a knapsack and we were ready to go. People had generously left me enough space to get out, but the now-slickened roads made it a tricky proposition to get my wheels turned and enough traction to pull off the shoulder. But, soon enough we were out and on our way west to Seattle.
I got home about 3PM and spent time chatting with Suzy after setting my stuff to dry. The electric throw I gave her for Christmas was welcome on my sore and aching legs and we chatted about our day. The evening was spent with dinner, Xbox, and more chatting but sleep felt fantastic. For those who have trouble sleeping, find some snow and romp around a bit … it may not work for everyone but it sure helped give me a great night’s rest!
Thanks for looking in and if you haven’t been on vacation, I hope the upcoming weekend is to your liking. Thanks for dropping by!