Saturday, March 22, 2014

Ski day at Hyak on the John Wayne Trail

A replica of the old Hyak railroad station it now houses the public restrooms.  The interior is heated and has hot running water, a true luxury.  On the left side of the picture just out of view is a popular sledding hill.  On weekends the sledding hill is often used more than the Nordic ski area.  This was a weekday but there were still several families with small children sledding there.

 The parking lot at Hyak

 This is where we get on the trail, put on the skis and set out.  In the background on the hillside is the Hyak downhill ski area.

The sun was shining; the day was perfect, time to go to cross county skiing near Snoqualmie Pass at Hyak along the John Wayne Trail.  Our previous ski trip here a couple of weeks earlier was in blizzard conditions with the wind chill factor at near zero and almost no reasonable visibility--we couldn't see the mountains, for example, so not optimal conditions at all.  

This is an old railroad bed consequently mostly flat as it follows along the shoreline of Keechelus Lake.  I have driven on the other side of this lake many times but this was the first time skiing on the far side of it.  The name means few fish.  The lake is a reservoir formed by Yakima River and the Keechelus Dam with the water used for irrigation. 

Keechelus Lake

The tracks

This was the first ski day that really did require sunscreen, sunglasses, and the removal of extra clothing.  At 35 degrees F it was not much above freezing but with the elevation and the sun shinning so bright I got plenty warm with the exercise.   The trail is groomed until the end of March hence these nice clean tracks. 

We stopped at a shady spot near some trees and took off our skis to sit in the snow and have a little snack.  At first we thought we would get further off the groomed area but Bob made a small post hole and shouted a warning just as I made a much deeper one.  His was up to his boot top mine was up past my knee and took some effort to get my leg out.   It seemed prudent to pack down some snow a few feet from the tracks then put our insulated pads down so it wouldn’t happen again. 

This was probably my best ski day so far, 4K or about 2.5 miles with no falls or even wobbles.  I did not have much trouble keeping my eyes up looking ahead and felt confident in the tracks.    Here are some photos from our day. 

A warm spot where the snow had melted 

A small waterfall with icicles

Snowy woods

Snow on top of Alta Mountain

McClellan's Butte

On the drive home we made a quick stop at Week’s Falls on the South Fork of the Snoqualmie River.  The water was clear and green though not much water is flowing right now.  The falls will be more spectacular when the snow starts to melt. 

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