Cabin Creek -- January 11, 2004

This snowshoe expedition is rated 4 high-tech $60.00 polycarbonate avalanche shovels out of 5 on the Snowshoe Expedition Shovel-o-meter.

We had hoped to go snowshoeing last Sunday, but the big New Years' storm had left the roads all around Puget Sound covered in ice and snow.  Even though the weather forecast had accurately predicted clear and sunny skies, the roads were still just too bad, so this was not to be a snowshoeing day.

One week later though, after a very difficult time getting out of bed, we finally overcame gravity and inertia and hit the road at about 9:30, beneath dark and cloudy skies.  We stopped in North Bend for gas station coffee and breakfast, and once over Snoqualmie Pass pulled off at what we thought was the Price Creek Sno-Park, but thought better of it and headed on to the Cabin Creek Sno-Park, where we found a full parking lot, but also thankfully found that they had added an overflow parking area since the last time we were here.  Our original intent was to go up the loop to Amabilis Mountain, but given the low cloud ceiling and our lack of desire to snowshoe in approximately zero visibility, we decided to stay down in the lower areas of Cabin Creek.  

We got all hitched up and headed off clockwise around the 1.25 mile loop on the south side of I-90, staying off the groomed trail and away from the ruts of which the cross-country skiers are so possessive and protective,

and about half way around the loop veered off the groomed trail and broke our own trail up to the ridge.

Here Sue picks her way back down to the groomed trail - it was steeper than it looks.

We hoofed down to the Yakima River, and the sun actually came out for about 10 minutes, giving us hope for a sunny day after all - but it was not to be.  We noticed that the weather was moving east to west, the opposite of usual, and it looked like the clouds were backing up on the east side of the Pass.

We wandered down to the river, then back up to the trail.

About 3/4 of the way around the loop, we spotted a signed trail to Crystal Springs, so of course we veered off the loop again and headed west on the refreshingly un-groomed trail.  After paralleling I-90 for about a mile, we popped out at the access road for the Crystal Springs Sno-Park, at Exit 62.

We headed back toward Cabin Creek, and finished up the loop, then crossed to the north side of I-90, to the snotty 'real' cross-country ski area, hoping to locate the start of the Amabilis Mountain Trail for next time - hopefully before too long we will have a sunny, low-avalanche-danger day for this trail.

We found the Amabilis Mountain trail, and headed up the steep hill for a while, till one of us who shall remain nameless declared that she could go not one more step, and she said that it was time to turn around and head back to the car.

As we were doing our about-face, we spotted this snow cone covering the top of a fir tree.

On the way home, we took off on Exit 62 to see where we had been, and it really was the Crystal Springs Sno-Park, which we suspected.  It appeared to be a prime snowmobile place - ugh - and they even had a place to rent frigging snowmobiles.  The whole parking area was filled with the characteristic blue smoke and attendant smell.

The low cloud ceiling had remained all day, and we suspected that the day had been gray and rainy at home, but once we got over the Pass to the west side of the summit, there was only a thin layer of high clouds, and the sun was shining on the hillsides.  Oh well...

To celebrate a nonetheless good day of snowshoeing, we stopped in at the Tres Hermanos (or the Tres Hermanskies as we like to call it) Mexican Restaurant in Redmond on the way home.  Now, if only tomorrow wasn't Monday, all would be well...

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