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.

Mt. Teneriffe Snowshoe, March 2012

Mt. Teneriffe
Date: March 16, 2012
Difficulty: 7 out of 10
Distance: 11 miles roundtrip
Elevation Gain: 3,838 ft.
Time: 5 to 6 hours
Location: Near North Bend, Washington
Users Group: Hikers & Dogs Only
Permits: Discovery Pass
Trail Conditions: Wet to very deep snow
Hiking with: Rick Massie & my wonder dog Macho

The Cascade Mountains was getting dumped on by the snow gods and I have been missing the snow action due to my travels and I wanted to get another big snowshoe hike in before I traveled out again. Rick Massie drove over to my house and we loaded up my Bimmer and took off towards North Bend, Washington.

Due to all the snow, the avalanche danger was high….so we decided to snowshow the service road on Mt. Teneriffe. This road is wide and has elevation gain of over 3,800 feet, perfect for a snowshoe work-out and safe too. There was only one other car at the trailhead when we started and we caught up with the two of them about two miles up; one of them had a broken snowshoe and we ended up giving him a couple of straps to fix it. As we passed them, Rick and I were breaking snow and it was getting deeper with every step. After fifty yards of plowing through the deep snow, our legs would start to burn; we took turns taking the lead to give each other a rest.

With the trail already broken, the other two caught up with us around the four mile mark. We let them pass us, but…within twenty yards, there were already exhausted. All four of us ended up taking turns taking the lead. We ended up having lunch at the five mile mark, it’s my favorite part of the trail….a long stretch of the road that is exposed and has big views. After descending and total exhaustion we stopped at our usual spot, North Bend Bar and Grille for a beer and food.

Gold Creek Snowshoe, January 2012

Gold Creek
Date: January 15, 2012
Difficulty: 5 out of 10
Distance: 4 miles roundtrip
Elevation Gain: 2,000 feet
Time: 3 to 4 hours
Location: Exit 54, I-90
Users Group: Hikers & Dogs Only
Permits: Snowpark Pass
Trail Conditions: Fresh Snow
Hiking With: Jim Darmiento, Rick Massie & Macho

After a few weeks without any new snow in the mountains, it started to dump fresh snow and continued all day. I just flew back from San Francisco the night before, but….with the new snow, I wanted to finish the weekend off with a trip to the mountains. I met up with Jim Darmiento and Rick Massie at Starbucks in North Bend, Washington. Our plans was to snowshoe Source Lake near Alpental Ski Resort, but….because the new snow, every skier/snowboarder was out and there was no parking to be had at the trailhead. So we headed off to Cold Creek snowpark which was only a couple of more miles down the road.

This snowpark (really just a side road to park) requires a permit that you can buy for $50 for the year or a daily permit at $20. The trail itself is pretty much a service road, but…it’s still has elevation, beauty and it’s very serene. We stopped for lunch and boiled up some water for coffee and pouch Teriyaki Beef & Rice that we all shared. We ended the day at North Bend Bar & Grille for a couple of cold beers and hot food.

Mt. Teneriffe Hike, March 2011

Mt. Teneriffe (via forest road)
Date: March 18, 2011
Difficulty: 7 out of 10
Distance: 11 miles roundtrip
Elevation Gain: 3,838 ft.
Time: 5 to 6 hours
Location: Near North Bend, Washington
Users Group: Hikers & Dogs Only
Permits: None Required
Trail Conditions: Snow starts at 2 miles and gets deeper
Hiking with: my dog Macho

After a couple of weeks of snow, I knew snowshoeing anywhere today would be fabulous. I wanted something close to home and plenty of room on the trail for Macho. Mt. Teneriffe forest road can be boring at times, but….I knew 7 miles of open road would keep Macho entertained. We hit snow at 2 miles and I stopped and put on my gators and snowshoes. Of course the snow just got deeper and deeper….what a workout.

Source Lake Hike, February 2011

Source Lake Trail
Date:
February 24, 2011
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: 12” to 20” of fresh fluffy snow
Hiking with: Mike Curry & Lance Leasure

The Cascades have been receiving snow for the past week and I knew snowshoeing on Friday morning would be perfect timing.  I picked up a couple of good friends, Mike Curry and Lance Leasure at 8:00 a.m. in Seattle and we headed off to Source Lake.  I took our normal route out of town, first avenue to Starbucks by the baseball staduim and onto I-90.  We parked at the last parking lot in the Alpental Ski area and got out in the 18 degree weather.  I brought Macho (dog) along and he got out with us, he stayed busy bothering strangers in the parking lot as we put our snowshoe garb on.

We got about a hundred yards in on the trail when Macho stopped, he had ice balls on the bottom of his paws.  I decided to take him back to the car, because it would only get worse for him the further we went.  There really wasn’t anybody else snowshoeing today, maybe it was too cold or it was a Friday morning….but, there were a few skiers that had their ski skins on.  Besides the cold weather, it was a great day for snowshoeing, tons of fresh snow and the sun was out.  We decided to trek past Source Lake and up to Snow Lake following a couple of skiers.  We stopped near the top of the bowl at 4,600 feet and headed pretty much straight down in waist deep snow.  The snow was deep, but light and actually easy to snowshoe in.  After getting back to the car, changing into some warm dry clothes, we headed to my favorite after hike hangout, the North Bend Bar & Grill for a hot bowl of Jambalaya soup and a cold beer.

Waptus Creek Hike, February 2011

Waptus Creek (Snowshoe)
Date: February 13, 2011
Difficulty: 3 out of 10
Distance: 8 miles roundtrip
Elevation Gain: 600 Feet
Time: 3 to 4 hours
Location: Near Roselyn, Washington
Users Group: Hikers, Horses & Dogs Only
Permits: No Permits Required
Trail Conditions: Snowpacked
Hiking with: Linna & Macho

Pratt Mountain, December 2010

Pratt Mountain (snowshoe)
Date: December 30, 2010
Difficulty: 7 out of 10
Distance: 9.5 miles roundtrip
Elevation Gain: 3,200′
Time: 6 to 8 hours
Location: I-90 Exit 47, Washington
Users Group: Hikers & Dogs Only
Permits: Northwest Forest Pass Required
Hiking with: Lance Leasure

With all the snow in the mountains, there are only a few small trails out there without any snow and those trails don’t have much elevation gain or view.  So, if you want to hike a respectable trail, you will need snowshoes.  I wanted to get in one more hike before my holiday was depleted and had the yearning to snowshoe Pratt Mountain.  I picked up my friend Lance Leasure and we stopped at Starbucks on before heading to the Pratt Trailhead at Exit 47.

It was a beautiful sunny day, but very cold for the Puget Sound area, it was a chilly 27 degrees starting off.  The parking lot was filled with snow, but…luckily there was a small area plowed for parking.  We put on our gators, but decided to put the snowshoes on when we really needed them.  The trail started off with 4 to 6 inches of powdered snow and slowly got deeper (http://bit.ly/eC9un0).  About 2 1/2 miles on the Pratt Lake trail we decided it was time for the snowshoes.  Even with snowshoes, we were still sinking down over 2 feet.  Running out of time, we turned back approximately 3.1 miles from the trailhead ( right before the view point of Olallie Lake).  Even though we didn’t summit Pratt, there will be plenty of snow this season to attempt it again in snowshoes for the next 4 months.

Pratt Mountain, March 2006

Pratt Mountain
Date:
March 16, 2006
Difficulty: 8 out of 10
Distance: 14 miles roundtrip
Elevation Gain: 3,600 feet
Time: 6 to 8 hours
Location: I-90 Exit 47, Washington
Users Group: Hikers Only & Dogs Only
Permits: Washington Forest Pass
Hiking with: Linna Freeman & Dr. Rick

I told Linna that it would be a short hike/snowshoe trip.

Source Lake Snowshoe, December 2009

Source Lake Trail
Date:
December 4, 2009
Difficulty: 5 out of 10
Distance: 6 miles roundtrip
Elevation Gain: 700 ft
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: Hard pack snow
Hiking with: Linna Freeman, Patricia Chow & Garth Heuchert

We met up at Starbucks, exit 17 off of I-90 determine our hike for the day.  The bitter cold was still hanging around, but…it was going to be a beautiful sunny day.  Knowing that Garth brought along his new MSR snowshoes, I thought it would only be right to get into some snow.  There wasn’t any fresh snow for the last 4 or 5 days, so…and the only place to get into snow right away from the care would be the pass area; Source Lake was the lucky winner.  We put on our snowshoes as soon as we got off the parking lot; it wasn’t really necessary…but they provided the traction needed on some slick areas.

Winthrop Ski Trip, January 2006

It has been a long time since I have been to Wintrop cross country skiing.

Mt. Teneriffe, December 2010

Mt. Teneriffe (via Kamikazi Falls)
Date:
December 22, 2010
Difficulty: 7 out of 10
Distance: 10.5 miles roundtrip
Elevation Gain: 3,838 ft.
Time: 5 to 6 hours
Location: Near North Bend, Washington
Users Group: Hikers & Dogs Only
Permits: None Required
Trail Conditions: Dry up to Kamakazi Falls, snow at 2,800 ft.
Hiking with: Dr. Robert McElroy

Rob and I met our at usual location, off of I-90….exit 11a and got to the trail around 8:00 a.m..  Since I hiked/snowshoed up the service road last week, we decided to take the Kamikaze Falls trail to the summit.  This is a much shorter route versus the long, sometimes mind-numbing 7 mile service road.  The Kamikaze Falls route has been listed from 3.3 to 4 miles long, either way, it’s a steep assent.

We made good time up to the falls (elevation 2,633′), we took a break to take a few photos of the 150′ waterfall.  After a couple of poses, we kept trekking up the steep slope and eventually hit snow around 2,800′.  The snow started to get deeper and we decided to put on our gators and snowshoes on around the 3,700′ point.  After 3 hours from the trailhead, we hit the beautiful white summit….and of course we took a few more pictures.  We descended the safer route via service road….and endured the 7 long miles down.  According to my heart rate moniter/calorie counter, I burned 4,100 calories and my heart rate peaked at 167.