Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Where Did All the Snow Go?

Mount Rainier from Glacier View.
What a crazy winter it has been in the Pacific Northwest.  The seasonal term itself could be debated this year, and accused of being a no-show.

How crazy is it?  One can currently drive to many trailheads's over 4,500', such as the Glacier View trailhead in the Glacier View Wilderness outside Mount Rainier National Park.

I coupled this hike with a climb of Mt. Beljica a couple of weeks ago.  What's crazier than being able to access this area so easily in February?  Hiking the almost completely bare trail all the way up to the summit of Glacier View!  This hike typically isn't available until early to mid-July!

What are current snow conditions around our state?  Well, Hurricane Ridge in Olympic National Park currently reports 4" of snow on the ground.  Their web cam shows bare ground currently.  They should have 87" right now.

Mount Rainier from Glacier View.
Mount Baker, which should be sporting 138" of snow right now, has only 22".

Snoqualmie Pass?  Reportedly there is 21" of snow, but I haven't seen it in any of the posted pictures.  Ski operations finally threw in the towel a week ago and closed shop.  They've claimed the closure is temporary, but with the forecast dry for the next three weeks, it likely will be for the season.

What does this mean for us outdoor lovers?  Hiking season is upon us!  One thing I've notice on the hikes I've been getting out on is the lack of people on the trail.  On a Saturday hike up Glacier View, I didn't encounter a soul the entire hike up or down.  On my climb of Mt. Beljica, I met only a couple and their dog in Beljica Meadows.  That was it.

So, its time to push aside your skiing disappointment and grab your hiking boots.  After all, how many opportunities will you have to hike to typical July destinations in February?

See you on the trail!