Monday, January 4, 2016

Lake Easton - XC skiing

Bob has anxiously been waiting for enough snow in the mountains to go skiing.  He went to Hyak to do downhill on Wednesday last week and announced that there was enough snow for us to do cross-country skiing on Friday.  Plans were made to try Lake Easton State Park, a mostly level easy cross-country area for beginners like me, located on the east side of Snoqualmie Pass.  Since it is a State Park it requires a Discover Pass and also a Sno-Park pass during skiing season.  Once off the freeway the drive through the woods was magical and gorgeous with a snow covered road and trees.

Last year we did not have enough snow for any of the cross-country ski trails to be open and groomed and there was barely enough for Bob to downhill ski a few times.  This year we have lovely snow already.  It was a clear, sunny, brisk 12 degrees F when we parked the car but after a couple of hours it was up to 20 degrees F.  My hands were so cold in the beginning that I did not want to take off gloves to use the camera which meant Bob had to take all the pictures.  Hands and feet warmed up quickly with the exercise and all was well.  

We had hiked here at the beginning of November when the lake was at low water level and there was no snow.  Now the water in the lake is frozen and covered with snow except for where the river enters. 

Along the trail there are signs and markers to identify the destinations and levels of difficulty.  

I am still a complete novice so we stuck to the blue (easy) trails and did approximately 3 miles round trip.  We had hoped to make it to the big bridge but met two men on snowshoes who said the bridge was closed and the grooming stopped just before the bridge.  We went to the end of the groomed trail then turned around and returned to the car.  Not too bad for a first time out.  No falls either much to my relief.  At one point when the return trail looked steep and had a curve at the bottom Bob suggested that I take off my skis and walk down to avoid a possible fall.   I was happy to follow his suggestion and ended the day with only the expected few achy stiff muscles and no bruises.

The groomed trails (with tracks for xc skis) follow along side the frozen snow covered lake and wind in and out amongst the trees.  Although there were lots of cars in the sno-park area most folks seemed to be using the snow play area for sledding and tubing.  There were a few people on snowshoes and a few xc skiers but it was not over crowded at all.  

There was even a group of people having a picnic in freezing weather!

The ride home on the freeway

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