Kendall Peak Lakes -- February 15, 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 tried to marshal the troops for this snowshoeing trip, but it turned out that the only person available was our old hiking buddy Rick. We got up at 6:30 AM on a dark and rainy morning, and had we not agreed to meet Rick at the North Bend Factory Outlet Mall at 8:00 AM we likely would have stayed in bed. But we got rolling and successfully met up with Rick as planned, after encountering heavy rainfall on I-90, especially east of Issaquah. We all headed from North Bend through the rain and snow up to the Sno-park at exit 54 on I-90, where we loaded up and trooped off into the woods. The temperature at the trailhead was 30 degrees, and it snowed throughout the day - sometimes light and other times quite heavily.
I-90 to exit 54, left and under I-90, then straight to the Sno-park. Up the hill on FSR-9090 to FSR-2235, then to the Kendall Peak Lakes Trail. Round trip: 9 miles in 6 hours. Elevation: 2200' up, 2200' down. No apparent avalanche danger areas.
A proud Rick looks forward to trying out his new snowshoes.
As we started up the hill the snow started to fall more heavily.
Rick gets ready to head off the trail and up the hill on the first of several shortcuts we took. It was largely thanks to our early start that we had the extra time available to take these shortcuts.
After getting back on the trail and pausing for a brief brunch, we resumed the uphill slog.
As can be seen here, the visibility was quite limited, which was unfortunate since this route has many great views, weather permitting. This is taken from the saddle, looking north toward the invisible Kendall Peak.
The intrepid Rick crests the saddle.
We turned left at the saddle and headed up the hill toward the first lake,
where we paused briefly, then headed up toward the second lake,
pausing to take some pictures of each other,
as the snow continued to fall.
Sue climbs up the small canyon just below the lake.
The lake is in the depression just beyond the rise in the foreground.
We decided that we needed a lunchtime snow bench overlooking the lake, so we all kicked in, literally, and created a good tromped-down foundation. Here we are finishing up, with Sue and Rick standing on the seating surface. Although Sue appears to be using the shovel, she actually never really did any shoveling, and was just trying to make it look like she had. At several points during the construction it became apparent that we could have used a good architect, and Jack's services were sorely missed.
Rick stands proudly atop the bench.
The guy on the right actually did all of the work.
Now for our reward: Having lunch sitting on our freezing butts in the snow. We were eager to try out our new bright orange "Hey rescue guys! Here we are! Come rescue us!" attention-attracting lounge chairs. They worked great, and hopefully we will never have to wave them around over our heads in an effort to attract help. And we're still sorry about Rick having to sit on the plastic garbage bag, but we only had 2 of the chairs.
This is the view we enjoyed during lunch.
We lounged around after finishing lunch and finally decided that we had sat around freezing long enough and "broke bench", packed up for the hike back to the car, and headed out.
It was decided (by a 2-to-1 vote) that we would not hike out to Kendall Knob from the saddle, and headed back down the main trail, taking several shortcuts that presented themselves, thereby saving ourselves considerable time and effort.
One last stop for a few quick Costco Peanut Butter Crackers and a gulp of water.
This is a shot of the last shortcut we took as we neared the car.
All in all, it was a nice snowshoeing day. But then, after hiking around in the fog and clouds all day, when we got back to the car some blue sky was starting to appear, and once we got over the pass on the way home the sky was blue and cloudless, and the sun was shining brightly on the snow covered mountains. Oh well...