Wenatchee Crest Snowshoe

Hello 2016!

Here in the PNW, the heavens have opened and dumped lots of snow onto our mountains. Last year, my husband and I purchased our own set of snowshoes. By new years day, I was ready to get out and get my first snow hike in. I did a ton of research on the best snowshoe hikes in the area. There were a couple of good ones in Snoqualmie Pass, but I was worried about the crowds.  We decided to drive up to the pass to see how busy it was. From the freeway, I could tell that the roads near I-90 were a zoo and we drove onto Blewett Pass.  We came up to the Blewett Sno-Park, and there were parking spots! Going the extra miles away from busy Snoqualmie Pass really paid off.

The hike was beautiful, and the views were spectacular! We saw lots of people on the trail, but it didn’t feel crowded. I can’t wait to get out and do it again.

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Related links:

WTA Wentachee Crest Snowshoe Guide

Winter in the Methow Valley

I’ve been visiting the Methow Valley for a few years now, but this was my first winter trip. When planning the trip a year ago, we decided that this would be our time to try Nordic or skate skiing.  After all, the Methow Valley has over 120 miles of trails. Maybe it was the fact that we were so excited about our new snowshoes, but we decided not to try it this year. The Methow Valley had about 80% of the normal snow pack but there was not any fresh snow. Regardless if you ski or not, the Methow Valley is awesome in the winter.

We stayed at the Sun Mountain Lodge, and the views from the lodge are awesome. You can see mountains every time you turn around. By day we snowshoed on the trails and by night we were sipping beer at the Old Schoolhouse Brewery.

The Sun Mountain Lodge doesn’t have TV, and the internet was terrible. I did not have cell coverage the whole weekend, so it was a pretty great escape from life.

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We always spend the trip home dreaming about our own Methow Valley homestead. I even looked up the school district to see if I could possibly work there. With only 600 students, they probably don’t need a full time psychologist. Oh well, a girl can dream. See you again soon Methow Valley!

Helpful links

Methow Winter Trails

Snowshoeing at Paradise

Have you ever tried a new activity and quickly wondered why you have gone your whole life without that activity?

That’s exactly how I felt the first time I went snowshoeing.

In the PNW, we’ve had an awesome winter. (Although, it’s not so great for snow, which is unfortunate since I’m finally at a point in life where I can afford to ski.) One Saturday in January, my husband and I woke up and checked the webcam at Paradise on Mount Rainier. There were clear blue skies despite the low land fog.  We didn’t have snowshoes and we were not sure if we could rent some there. As we neared the park, we drove past a sign that advertised snowshoe rentals. About $30 later, and an hour later we made it to the parking lot.

We didn’t exactly know where to go, but there were tons of people snowshoeing up the mountain so we followed everyone up. There didn’t appear to be any signs so we really have no idea how far we went or what trail we were on. (Not very helpful am I?)

The views were amazing, and I was once again in awe at the beauty of the mountain. I love this state!

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P.S. When it’s sunny with highs in the 40’s, you really don’t need to wear tons of layers or snow gear. Unless of course, you want to sweat a lot.

Whislter, BC

When I was in middle school (about 15 years ago), my parents and I went up to Whistler, BC for a weekend. They bought a timeshare, and neither of us have returned since.

Initially, my husband and I originally planned on bringing our mountain bikes up. But as I was doing research about mountain biking in the area, I got a little intimidated by the Whistler Bike Park. It looked pretty technical, and way above my skill level. As soon as we drove into town, I knew that not bringing the bikes was a mistake. There are miles (or should I say kilometers) of paved and gravel biking trails. Everyone there was biking! I was constantly reminded that I left my bikes at home. So if you’re not an aggressive downhill rider, here is some information about biking trails in the area. There are a lot of paved trails for road bikes too. Don’t make the same mistake that I did!!

Whistler valley trail

Lost Lake trails

In the summer if you buy your gondola pass 5 days in advance, you get a second day for free.  Luckily we saw that deal exactly five days before our trip.  We spent two days up on Whistler and Blackcomb Mountain. First we rode up to the top of Whistler Mountain. Then we rode the chairlift up to the peak.

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We then rode of the peak to peak gondola. That was a really cool ride!!

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At Blackcomb, we rode the chairlift down to the upper village.

Since we didn’t have our bikes, our weekend activities included shopping, strolling through the village, and watching the hawks game at a sports bar.

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We were in town for two of the summer concerts. We went to one of the concerts. The band was really fun and I really enjoyed it.

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Whistler is such an awesome place to visit year round. This is a place I’d like to visit every couple of years. Maybe next time I’ll come up during winter and go skiing (another thing that I haven’t done since middle school).

Neahkahnie Mountain Hike

About a week before my trip to Seaside, a friend posted a picture of her on top of this mountain on Instagram. So I decided that I needed to hike it on my trip. I’m so used to looking up hiking information in Washington. We have an organization called Washington Trails Association that publishes an awesome website with lots of great hiking information. There doesn’t appear to be an Oregon version of that website. I had to look in like three different places to find the information I needed.

The trail guides all say that the hike is 5.1 miles as a loop. I opted to just hike up to the look out and back, which was about three miles total. There are a few different lookouts on the mountain, I chose to hike up to the South Peak.  From Seaside, we drove south on highway 101. The trail head isn’t hard to find, but you have to be looking for it. There is only a small hiker sign pointing to the road you take. The road is on the left hand side (if you are driving south on 101), and it is between mileposts 41 and 42, not quite 2 miles north of Manzinita. Just drive up the road for a little bit until you see the trail head.

Next, start climbing up the mountain. At one point, we came to an four way intersection and we continued strait which took us to the south viewpoint. There is a short scramble up to the top but later we found a better trail to get up there. Either way, I’d suggest to climb to the top of the rocks to get a better viewpoint.

The view is pretty spectacular, especially on a clear day.

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After that, we just hiked down and drove home.

More information:

Portland Hikers Field Guide

Oregonhiking.com

Summitpost.org – South peak information