Winter at June Lake

On Saturday morning I ventured up to an area near Mount St. Helens not knowing if I’d be hiking or snowshoeing.  It was cold and rainy at lower elevations, so I was banking on snow higher up.  That turned out to be the case. There was white stuff steadily falling when I was within a few miles of my destination. I was happy to see it.  Fresh snowfall is beautiful, plus it’s something that we’ve been needing.  When I reached the parking area there were a handful of snowmobilers getting ready to roll.  We were all excited to get out and enjoy the snowy, serene landscape.  I strapped on my snowshoes, threw on my pack, and off I went.  Trekking wasn’t bad at first since I was following a path recently groomed by a few snowmobiles, but once I reached the trail to June Lake, I had my work cut out for me.  I was in charge of making fresh tracks.  It sounds cool, right, but holy shit, it’s a ton of work.  I’d go about 25 steps and have to rest.  My snowshoes were sinking in about a foot.  I thought I was in decent shape, but this was kicking my ass.  A little way in I passed a primitive encampment tactfully thrown together with tarps.  I heard some noise from inside as I approached, but didn’t see anyone.  I kept moving.  It was a slow-go, but the alluring snow-covered landscape kept me invigorated.  Once at the lake, I was like, ahh.  It felt good to rest.  I took in the scenery and snapped some photos.  After spending about a ½ hour at June Lake, I decided to head back.  I really wanted to explore more of the area, but the thought of snowshoeing further didn’t sound very appealing.

June Lake, ISO 100, 28mm, f/16, 1/25 sec.

Lakeside, ISO 100, 24mm, f/16, 1/4 sec.
You can see the snow falling as streaks in this photo!

The return trip proved to be so much easier.  I had made somewhat of a dent in the path and it was mostly downhill.  By downhill, I mean a slight, gradual descent.  On the way back, I stopped to take another photo or two of scenes that I had bookmarked in my mind when I was heading in.  When shooting the photos, I could hear the heavy snow falling off the trees and hitting the ground.  It was the only other sound besides my breathing that I could hear in the well-insulated forest.  Along the way, I came across another guy snowshoeing with his pup.  His dog had way more kinetic energy than we two humans.  He was so excited!  After that, I finally reached the make-shift campsite that I passed at the beginning of the trail.  This time there were 2 older gentlemen and one middle-aged man getting ready to snowshoe.  They asked how the lake was.  I said it was lovely and asked them how they faired overnight.   They told me they meant to make it to the lake, but that they got a late start and didn’t end up to where they established camp until 9 pm.   They also said they stayed up until 3 am playing cards.  The youngest of the three said that it was really cold.  I told them that I was super impressed.  I hope that I can still keep on truckin’ later in life like the (2) older fellas in the group. 

Snow Cones, ISO 200, 27mm, f/8.0, 1/25 sec.

The remaining part of my mini-adventure didn’t provide anything noteworthy.  I made it back to my rig unscathed, which is always a win.  I took off my wet garments and started up my ride to warm up the cabin.  On the way down the road, I passed a cool tree grove (maybe an Ash stand) and decided to throw the truck in reverse, park on the side of the road and take a few more photos.  While I was there, a Forest Ranger pulled up in his pick-up not noticing that I was nearby.  After a brief moment he saw me, we waved at each other and he rolled on.    

Wild Woods,  ISO 100, 24mm, f/16, 1.3 sec.

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