Mt. Rainier Snowshoe, February 2018

This is the first time I have played in the snow on Mt. Rainier with snowshoes.

Little Saint Helen’s Snowshoe, November 2017

Little Saint Helens
Date: November 5, 2017
Difficulty: 5 out of 10
Distance: 7 miles roundtrip
Elevation Gain: 1,200 feet
Time: 4 to 5 hours
Location: Exit 47, I-90
Users Group: Hikers & Dogs Only
Permits: Discovery Pass Required
Trail Conditions: Packed Snow
Hiking With: Linna Freeman, Matt Kerby and my Wonderdog Macho

This was a wonderful way to spend a Friday in the mountains.

Mt. Baker Trip, March 2017

Six of us spent a 3 day weekend in Glacier, Washington enjoying the Mt. Baker area and the vast open country for snowshoeing.

Hex Mountain Snowshoe, January 2017

A group of us thought we could find the top of Hex mountain….but we were a few peaks off.

Huntoon Snowshoe, December 2016

Huntoon Point Snowshoe
Date:
December 10, 2016
Difficulty: 7 out of 10
Distance: 5.2 miles roundtrip
Elevation Gain: 1,200 feet
Time: 4 to 5 hours
Location: Very End of Highway 542; Near Mt. Baker Ski Area
Users Group: Hikers & Leashed Dogs Only
Permits: No Permits Required
Trail Conditions: Fresh Snow (Powder)
Hiking with: Linna Freeman and my wonder dog Macho

We chose Mt. Baker area for our first snowshoe outing this winter.

Huntoon Point Snowshoe, March 2016

Huntoon Point Snowshoe
Date:
March 19, 2016
Difficulty: 7 out of 10
Distance: 5.2 miles roundtrip
Elevation Gain: 1,200 feet
Time: 4 to 5 hours
Location: Very End of Highway 542; Near Mt. Baker Ski Area
Users Group: Hikers & Leashed Dogs Only
Permits: No Permits Required
Trail Conditions: Packed to Fresh Snow
Hiking with: Linna Freeman and my wonder dog Macho

I must give recognition and my appreciation to my beautiful wife Linna for discovering this fabulous snowshoe route. We left at 6:00 a.m. to make this 140 mile road trip up North from Seattle to the Mount Baker Ski area. You actually pass the ski area and park at the last parking area, this area is quite large but it was rather full when we came back to our car.

Starting early is no secret when it comes to hiking or snowshoeing in the state of Washington. Our state is filled with nature loving active people that enjoy our vast network of hiking/snowshoe trails just as I do. If you start around mid-morning or later you will find yourself sharing the trail with abundant of active people. For me…start damn early or stay home, I love fresh snow, quiet trails and the tranquility in the early morning hours.

This is the first time on this trail so we followed a few people at the start and pretty much stayed away from previous trails and made our own path to Huntoon Point. After a long day of tromping through the snow we ended our day at Sura Korean Barbeque in Lynnwood, Washington.

Hex Mountain Snowshoe, March 2016

Hex Mountain Snowshoe
Date:
March 12, 2016
Difficulty: 6 out of 10
Distance: 7 miles roundtrip
Elevation Gain: 2,600 feet
Time: 3 to 4 hours
Location: I-90 exit 80; Near Cle Elum Lake
Users Group: Hikers & Leashed Dogs Only
Permits: No Permits Required
Trail Conditions: Packed to Fresh Snow
Hiking with: Jim Darmiento, Linna Freeman, Matt Kerby and my dog Macho

Knowing that our Northwest snowshoeing season is ending soon it was time for another snowshoe experience and my wife Linna will not do the same mountain twice so I was tasked to find a new peak for us. Hex Mountain goo.gl/y5tL2N has been popping up on trip reports on Washington Trails Association and I thought it was time to mark this mountain off my list. Maybe I would have done this peak sooner if it was a bit closer to home, but 180 mile round trip is a lot of travel time and you’ll need to drive over the weather beaten Snoqualmie pass twice.

Our exploration party consisted of my lovely wife Linna and my good friends Jim Darmiento and Matt Kerby. None of us have attempted this trek before and we had a difficult time finding the trailhead but managed to find the right area to start. Well…we had to ask a few people after driving back and forth along Cle Elum Lake a couple of times.

Due to a lack of snow at the base of the mountain we packed in our snowshoes until we hit enough snow to put on our Tubbs Flex VRT 28 goo.gl/4U8DAP snowshoes. I must add a Freeman review about these snowshoes because I truly love these badass snow stompers. I am overwhelmed how easy it is to secure the Tubbs Flex to your boot, their patented Boa closure system is fast and easy to use which is extremely important when you are putting them on in freezing weather. The round control knob or Boa dial is large enough to use with thick gloves and the foam pad that wraps around your boot when you are turning the knob distributes the pressure of the binding equally across your boot. Not only is the Flex VRT is easy to put on, they are very comfortable to wear all day on all types of terrain. I own five pairs of various snowshoes and this season I am only wearing my Tubbs Flex VRT’s!

We really didn’t follow a trail up but blazed our own route to the summit…well we thought it was Hex peak. We hit some pretty steep terrain making our way to the top weaving through the trees. Maybe the distance and lack of fresh snow kept people way from this mountain because we only saw one other group of people…just as it should be. I am looking forward to this trek early next season with fresh heavy snow all the way to the base of the mountain.

We ended our day with lunch at the Roslyn Café in Roslyn, Washington.

Source Lake, February 2016

Source Lake Snowshoe
Date:
February 19, 2016
Difficulty: 6 out of 10
Distance: 4.8 miles roundtrip
Elevation Gain: 1,400 feet
Time: 3 to 4 hours
Location: I-90 exit 52; Alpental Ski Area
Users Group: Hikers & Leashed Dogs Only
Permits: No Permits Required
Trail Conditions: 8″ to 10″ of fresh fluffy snow
Hiking with: Jim Darmiento, Rick Massie and my faithful dog Macho.

Timing is everything when it comes to snowshoeing and we hit a perfect day with 8 inches of new snow. The only time I like tromping in the snow is when it’s fresh and I am the first one marching on it. Only way this can happen is if it snowed the night before and you get up damn early to get to the snow first.

I met up with my good friends Jim Darmiento and Rick Massie in North Bend, Washington and we drove to exit 52 off of I-90 past Alpental ski area. We made it to Source Lake in good time and we decided to turn around at the lake due to avalanche conditions.

We came across only two other snowshoers that was nice enough to take a few pictures of us. We wanted to end our day at the Mt. Si tavern, but they were not open yet so we found ourselves at our old hangout North Bend Bar & Grill.

Denny Creek Snowshoe, January 2013

Denny Creek Trail
Date:
January 26, 2013
Difficulty: 5 out of 10
Distance: 9 miles roundtrip
Elevation Gain: 2,300 ft
Time: 4 to 5 hours
Location: I-90 exit 47
Users Group: Hikers & Leashed Dogs Only
Permits: Northwest Forest Pass Required
Trail Conditions: Packed Snow to 8″ to 12″ Of New Snow
Hiking with: Linna Wei (wife) & Macho (dog)

Linna Wei (wife) and I decided that we needed to get our overly active dog Macho out for some serious exercise and taking him out in the snow will wear the overbearing terror out every time. We had a late start today so we didn’t make it up to Melakwa Lake, but our objective today was to get out of the house, exercise Macho and do some snowshoeing…goal accomplished.

On the way back home (Seattle), we stopped at Blue Ginger in Bellevue for some hot Korean soup. When I am with my wife we usually will stop at a Korean or Chinese restaurant after hiking or snowshoeing, but when I am with my homeboys we normally hit the North Bend Bar and Grill in North Bend, Washington.

Bend Trip, April 2012

Jim and Ione Darmiento was nice enough to invite Linna and I for a three day weekend in Bend, Oregon with their daughter and her husband. Bend is home to one of many microbreweries and to Mirror Pond which where our four bedroom rented house was located, right on the Deschutes river. We drove down on Thursday which was around 6 hours of driving from Seattle. They were barbecuing up chicken and hamburgers when we showed up.

Friday was mainly checking out the city starting with breakfast at a local cafe. I stopped at REI to get some local hiking maps and get the inside scoop on snowshoe trails and where dogs are allowed. After spending money at REI we headed for the local Safeway, Linna wanted to cook a huge pot of chicken thighs and vegetables that night for everyone. After Linna marinated the chicken, we decided to adventure out some and check out the snowshoe trailheads and determine if there was enough quality snow or not. After checking out three snow-parks, I was leaning toward this summer trail next to a snow-park which was directly across the highway from Mt. Bachelor. It had good snow and elevation, but it didn’t allow dogs. Jim and family went skiing as Linna and I were exploring, but we both made it back about the same time. Jim and I checked out the neighborhood micro-brewery before dinner, 10 Barrel Brewing www.10barrel.com that had outdoor seating…we didn’t have much time but we able to down two powerful pilsners before dinner was served.

Next day was snowshoe day and I decided to snowshoe up the summer trail on Tumalo Mountain even though dogs were not allowed. As we were getting our equipment on, a sheriff in a large Dodge Ram pick-up pulled in and parked for about 10 minutes, by the time we were ready to go he took off. We quickly got Macho out of the kennel and headed up. The climb was steady and straight up….almost perfect conditions for snowshoeing. The higher we got, the less trees there were to take cover from the warm sun. The whole weekend was in the mid-seventies and sunny, so waterproof sunscreen was a must. We made it to the top in about 1 1/2 hours and spent about a hour on top having our peanut-butter sandwich and taking pictures. That night we all went out to Chris’s Grill www.gregsgrill.com for dinner.