Artist Point Snowshoeing

Ben and I went snowshoeing at Artist Point last weekend. It is about 2.5 hours outside of Seattle but so worth getting up early to make the trip, and the end of the drive through snow-covered evergreens is gorgeous. We both agree this is the most beautiful snowshoe hike we’ve done yet.

The area was crowded on a Saturday but didn’t feel overrun, and in this case it helped us see where the trail started when we spotted other snowshoers and cross-country skiers. It was also great to have some tracks already set so we didn’t have to be the first to trudge through the deep snow.

 

As you can see, the mountain views at the top of this hike were spectacular. It took some work to get up to the top but wasn’t a long hike, and going down was a breeze…if only we’d had carried along a sled for that part! 🙂

If you are interested in snowshoeing but not sure what gear you need, here’s my list:

  • Snowshoes (Which you can rent from REI in Seattle for $15—I assume other REIs in snowy areas would be similar but haven’t researched that.)
  • Warm clothes—but you probably won’t need to be as bundled up as for skiing. I wear my regular “hiking” outfit with an extra shirt, and add yoga pants underneath my hiking pants. I also make sure to have two layers of warm socks, two pairs of gloves (I do wear ski gloves), a hat, scarf, a warm winter coat
  • Sunglasses (Regular sunglasses are fine. The wind won’t be in your face like downhill skiing so you don’t need googles.)
  • Sun block!
  • Regular hiking boots—you can strap hiking boots right into the snowshoes. You don’t need fancy shoes.

If you already hike it’s pretty easy to transition to be ready for snowshoeing. We didn’t need to buy anything extra except our snowshoes, which we got on sale at the end of the season last year.

Even though Ben and I LOVE the idea of skiing we’ve chosen showshoeing as a cheap alternative for awhile. Most of the snowshoe areas around here are in national park or national forest boundaries, so entrance fees are minimal or free. Snowshoeing is a really fun way to play in the snow and see beautiful winter scenery without the expense involved in skiing/snowboarding.

 

 

Skyline Lake Snowshoeing

The mountains are always there to welcome us back; in the summer with wildflowers, in the winter with piles of snow.

snow, upside-down cake of clouds,
white, freon scent, you build
even as you empty the world of texture —

excerpt from Relearning Winter by Mark Svenvold

This snowy trip was the Skyline Lake Snowshoe Trail near Stevens Pass ski area (which explains the ski photo above). It was crowded on a Saturday; a short but tough climb uphill to a snow-covered lake.

Snowshoeing at Mt. Rainier

We went snowshoeing at Mt. Rainier two weekends ago and it was amazing; they call that visitor’s center Paradise for a reason. (It’s just as breathtaking on a clear day in the summer.)

There was no snow on the roads when we drove up but it was snowing pretty hard once we got there. We tromped around the mountain for about an hour, stopping a LOT to take pictures. I couldn’t help myself with the camera…I was like a kid in a candy store with all that snow!

^We didn’t expect the jumping photo to turn out but it is pretty good^

^I even made a video of the snow for your enjoyment! ^

The roads can get dicey in the mountains so I’m glad we made this trip when we did. I would 100% recommend this if you’re in the Seattle area in early-mid November with a day to spare. Mount Rainier tweets the current road conditions: @MountRainierNPS, and REI in downtown Seattle rents snowshoes too if you don’t have your own.

I should mention, as a sort of disclaimer, that we couldn’t see Mount Rainier at all even though it was hovering right above us. The heavy snow and fog hid it completely. I’ve learned not the expect to see THE mountain so I wasn’t disappointed.

I’m already looking forward to when Ben and I can return for more snowshoeing at Mount Rainier National Park!

Winter Wonderland

Snowshoeing at Mountain Loop Highway, Granite Falls, Washington State

Ben and I went on our first snowshoeing adventure on Saturday. We drove about an hour and a half outside of Seattle, a little past the town of Granite Falls, and found ourselves in a winter wonderland. This spot turned out to be the perfect place for inexperienced snowshoers like us. It’s a highway that is closed during the winter so you drive until the road is no longer plowed, park, and start walking. It is flat and extremely easy to navigate.

On the way home we stopped at an amazing espresso hut, which hit the spot after being out in the snow all day. (We’ve noticed lots of these in our driving around the state. They are little teensy coffee shots in parking lots. You can get gourmet coffee almost anywhere.) I got a delicious white mocha with two shots of espresso. There were a few huts to choose from. We picked a place called Happy that was in a parking lot immediately after you get back into Granite Falls. And now we have a punch card so we’ll have to be loyal. Ha!