Lake Wenatchee and White River - December 29, 2002
This snowshoe expedition is rated 3 high-tech $60.00 polycarbonate avalanche shovels out of 5 on the Snowshoe Expedition Shovel-o-meter.
We headed east on Highway 2 to Stevens Pass hoping for a sunny hike up to Lake Valhalla, but had to go all the way to the Lake Wenatchee area before the sun was well and truly out of the fog and clouds. Then north on 207, past Lake Wenatchee State Park, looking for the Wenatchee Ridge Trailhead which, according to the book, was supposed to be at the end of Little Wenatchee River Road aka FR-65 - a left turn off of 207. So much for that - little did we know that the left turn was really a curve in the road after 207 had already ended and become the Lake Wenatchee Highway, and the road was marked neither Little Wenatchee River Road nor FR-65.
The view from what turned out to be Little Wenatchee River Road on the way to what turned out to be the Wenatchee Ridge Trailhead.
In any case we got to the gate where the road was closed and the snowshoeing looked promising, but not sure whether it was the correct gate on the correct road. The parking lot was deserted, and as we noticed with dismay the sign that talked about how snowmobiles were allowed on the trail, 3 big 4x4 pickups pulled in with a total of 8 people and 6 snowmobiles. One of the pickups was promptly driven into the ditch by the side of the road and got stuck, trailer and all, so one of the other pickups (the one with no muffler) spent a considerable amount of time at 5,000 RPM spinning its wheels trying to pull the stuck pickup out of the ditch. As we were getting ready to start snowshoeing we got to watch the snowmobiles all get unloaded from the trailers, get started up (there are few things as irritating as half dozen 2-cycle snowmobile engines out in the middle of a nice, quiet, snow-covered forest), and blast off on the trail, spewing the usual blue smoky haze. We decided, given the circumstances, to head back to civilization and ended up at Ranger Bob's where a good map made it clear that we had indeed been at the correct trailhead, but we decided to go back to Lake Wenatchee State Park and try some groomed non-motorized trails, making sure we didn't disturb the cross country ski ruts, of which the cross country skiers seem so possessive.
We trooped around the State Park for a while, and kept seeing this guy in a Santa Hat.
The sun and clouds were wonderful, but the snow was none too deep on the trails.
We decided to try the Wenatchee Ridge Trailhead again. When we arrived for the second try, there were now perhaps 6 or 8 pickups with empty snowmobile trailers, so we took off north on the White River Road and spotted FR-6434 crossing the river and heading up into the hills.
The White River from the bridge.
We walked up past the first big switchback and turned around, given that the sun was gone, it was starting to snow, and it was 1.5 miles back to the main road.
Looking across the valley to the Dirtyface Ridge.
Just before we turned around in the fading light.