looked like a pretty dismal
weekend. Lots of rain in the lowlands and in the passes below 3500'.
We kicked around a few ideas and decided to go for a snowshoe trip to
Kendall Peak Lakes. The start is at only 2600' so we might have rain to
start and finish. We met at Eastgate at 7:50 am. Traffic was especially
heavy for that time of morning. It was lightly raining at my house and
it kept raining most of the way to Snoqualmie Pass. We did lose most
of the traffic at the pass. Rather than buy a pass on the Internet, we
decided to see how bad the weather was before committing to a 25 day
Sno-Park pass. It was overcast but not raining at Hyak. we went over to
the big state park lot and purchased a pass. We headed back to Gold
Creek and there were many cars parked but inexplicably the good spots
next to the sanicans and the interchange were empty. We took one. By
the time we were packed and ready to go it was 8:45 am. That is pretty
late for us to start. The short road was the slipperiest part of the
trip. The road was plowed but a sheet of ice. I walked very
slowly and managed not to fall. At the end of plowing is a car bridge.
The end of it has mostly eroded away. The dirt walkway is
a couple feet wide.
It was windy at first but that did not last. We chose not to put on
snowshoes at first and that was a good decision. The track was well
packed and our boots did not sink in at all. We passed a few slower
hikers who were wearing snowshoes. As we ascended, we entered
the mist. The trees became flocked with snow and visibility
minimized. We had a little light rain and light snow. It was very
light. When we reached the viewpoint over to the ski area we saw
nothing. Not the highway below and not the ski area. We were completely
in dense clouds. Just before we reached the switchback to the right we
went above 3500'. Any precipitation should be snow now. The snow began
to be less consolidated as we neared what we call "The T". The road
makes a sharp right turn and climbs up to the ridge top. Years ago, it
was a T junction. A road went left, crossed the creek on a bridge, and
climbed up a clear cut point.
We used to turn left, cross the bridge, and go off trail to the lower
Kendall Peak Lake. There ere tracks at the junction but we could not
see a track heading left. We put on our snowshoes and decided to go
left. The bridge is long gone so we had to drop down to cross the
creek. Sometimes, with less snow, it is challenging to get down and
climb back up. This day it was easy. We sank a consistent 4-6 inches
with each step in the soft snow. We no longer had a packed trench to
walk in. The grade down and up was fine. There was a snowbridge across
the creek. We continued along the old road until Gary spotted
an old spur road heading uphill. We stopped to take off a layer as
breaking trail uphill really heats you up. Years ago it was easy to
navigate the clearcut. Now trees have grown up and we aimed to avoid
any thickly packed trees. Gary did a great job and we had no trouble
The grade flattened and we descended slightly to a big meadow. It was
now snowing. I put on a windshirt. Along with the light snow the wind
was now blowing at times. It was really cold taking off a glove for
photos. From the meadow, we climbed again. This led to the lower lake.
On our off trail route we ran into ski tracks several times. At the
lower lake we picked up a track heading up to the middle lake. At the
lower lake we saw a group on the other side of the snow covered lake.
We arrived at the middle lake at 11:13 am. The wind was gusting into
double digits. We went down to the shore and had our lunch break. Snow
was blowing off trees at the left end and gusting down the lake. It was
much windier out there than on the shore. I put on my jacket for a
fourth layer. Everything but my puffy layer.
We spent a chilly 31 minuter at the lake. I was ready to get going
again. Our last snowshoe trip was to Lower
Kendall Lake on 4-15-22. On that
trip My rubber bindings on my other snowshoes broke. First one and then
the other binding. I had to post hole my way out from the lake to the
trench on the ridge. That was no fun. Our next previous snowshoe trip
together was to Nordic
Pass on 1-09-21. That day,
John's snowshoe binding broke and he had to boot it out. We ended up
hiking to near Granite Lakes that day. On this trip we joked that it
was Gary's turn to have a snowshoe break. His did not. As we left the
middle lake John's binding broke off his snowshoe. Uh oh... His other
snowshoe was doing the same thing. We had that good trench down to the
lower lake. On the way the second snowshoe broke. John was doing fine
without them. Crossing the lake we came to a point where there was
slush. We had to cross it. It looked bad but I was able to walk across
After that we had to follow the trench through a forest of small trees
to the ridge top and the end of the road we followed on the way up. In
a spot near a tree John fell in knee deep. Otherwise, it went well. At
the ridge, the trench was very compacted. John had to trouble walking
all the way up from there. I was afraid the ridge would be wind blown
but that was not the case. There was some wind but it was not bad. The
hike down the ridge was fast and scenic. The trees were heavily flocked
with fresh snow. Farther down the trees are tall with a wide swath
through them. Very scenic. Since John had no snowshoes, we passed on a
trip out to the viewpoint. There would have been no views anyway. We
passed other people at times all the way down.
On the road down from the ridge to the "T" junction the trees were
especially beautiful. We stopped for a lot of photos. We took a short
break back at the junction. It did not look like anyone else had
followed the track we had set in the morning. We had exactly 3 miles to
go. The trench was even more compacted than on our way up. It was soft
if you stepped out of the trench. Farther down it was much different.
It looked like a lot of people went part way up and then went down. The
trench turned into a wide packed road. At the last big switchback left
we stopped and Gary and I took off our snowshoes. The last mile seemed
to take forever. The rain held off all the way down. We reached the car
at 1:51 pm.
This trip worked out much better than we expected. The rain held off.
At most, we had a little wet mist. Having a little snow falling was
fine. We did see other people but far fewer than on most weekends.
Perhaps the overcast and rain west of the crest kept people away. The
wind up high was an annoyance but most of the trip had little to no
wind. We did keep our streak alive at three straight broken snowshoes.
I hope that one does not continue. Most of the trip had heavily flocked
trees and that is always a treat. When I drove home from Eastgate it
was raining most of the way. We left Seattle for the mountains and
missed out on the rain. That is a real treat on a winter weekend.
Click on thumbnails to get
Trees Are Now Flocked
Gary & Mist
Across The Creek
Onto Spur Road
Off Trail Snowshoeing
Photo Time For John
John At Lower Lake
Gary At Lake
Crossing Lower Lake
Big Post Hole For John
Looking Back To Lakes
Back In Clouds
Out Of Cloud
Snow Covered Tree
Descending from "T"
More Flocked Trees
Leaves In January?