Friday, February 3, 2012

In honor of Margaret

Location: Snoqualmie Pass

Distance: 9 miles

Elevation: 2,800 feet

Mount Margaret is a peak I’ve wanted to do since covering the story of a Mount Rainier National Park ranger by the same name that was gunned down New Year’s Day. The route was less than extraordinary, but the rare bluebird skies this weekend more than made up for the Jeep road we followed for the first 1.5 miles of the trek.

The roar of the nearby highway made it difficult to fully relax into nature, but it wasn’t long before we traded speeding cars for the sounds of silence. The recent storm dumped several fresh feet of powder on the ground but we didn’t slap our snowshoes on until we were close to the summit. Occasional trees blocked our view of down below but it was mostly open, allowing for stunning glimpses of Keechelus Lake.

After pausing briefly on a ridge to watch the gusty winds blow ice crystals around us, we angled north into a stand of trees and immediately sank to our knees in snow. Deciding snowshoes would now be a benefit, we unlatched them from our packs and bent to strap them on but we were exposed on the ridge and the winds had turned fierce. By the time I got my shoes on, I’d lost feeling in my fingers, my hair tie was mysteriously missing and my hood refused to stay on. I would have wished for the winds to die down but I didn’t want to trade in the clear skies so I let Mother Nature do her best.

We trampled uphill, climbing steeper than we had been through a meadow, and kept our heads down to avoid the wind. The summit was craggy and nothing special. We stood atop it for about five minutes, snapped a few shots and then opted to head back to a less windy place to nibble our lunches. There were some stellar views of Mount Rainier in the distance as we veered off the path and meandered through the backcountry on the return. There was some debate about whether to follow Wolfe Creek drainage and hope it led back to civilization or to keep left and hope we’d eventually cross the road leading up. As luck would have it, we kept left and found the trail.

No comments:

Post a Comment