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.
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.
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.