Pan-o-RAMA! Using the groomers to climb high.

Days like this in January are rare like a wolverine sighting. I’ve talked before about input & output in the context of wilderness experience…yesterday was 95% output.

  • Elevation gain: 3400 ft
  • Mileage: 12 mi
  • Time: 6 hours

aw2On a hike to Baker Lake a few weeks ago, I was struck by the relative lack of snowpack and wondered how far a low-clearance all wheel drive could make it up the Forest Service road above the lake. Turns out, all the way to the berm created to keep monster trucks off the groomed snowmobile paths. aw5A couple of years ago, Gwen and I snowshoed a similar approach to some high snowy meadows and were passed by about 3 dozen sleds all leaving behind a two-cycle induced petrol-plasma that our working lungs had no choice but to inhale. Yuck! Yesterday, Dusky the-ever-loyal-dog and I saw only two!aw26I foolishly assumed there was only one road that lead to the destination of a summer trailhead. Nay, there were forks and branches of FS roads that I somehow managed to navigate, even with zero signage.aw27It was my first time trying out micro-traction devices. WOW! They proved incredibly efficient at traveling the hard pack snow and sections of ice and not nearly as cumbersome as crampons.aw7I had been eyeing this butte from a distance and was heartened to find it getting nearer and nearer as we climbed. After a late start (got out of the car at noon) the winter sun was already starting to dip quickly. But, I knew that there would be jaw-dropping views up there and so, changed out foot tools to snowshoes and headed up. Straight up.aw16Once we gained the ridge the way was as clear as the sky. And thus began the creation of many, many panoramas.aw21aw12And some close-ups:aw24

The Pickets!

The Pickets!

aw8

Mt. Shuksan

aw17And one last pano’ on the way back down:aw25Still five miles from the car sans headlamp (“bad, bad hiker”) it was a starry walk back!

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