Pacific Crest #2000, Beaver Lake, Lodge Lake, Divide Lake
Nov 27, 1998
- Type of Outing
- Day hike
Pacific Crest #2000 South, Beaver Lake, Lodge Lake, Divide Lake
Elevation Changes: Starting elevation at Snoqualmie Pass was 3000 ft. Gain 500 ft to Beaver Lake, drop 300 ft to Lodge Lake, then gain 500 ft to Snoqualmie Summit Ski ridge where I camped. Ascend 200 ft from here to Divide Lake. High Point of trip: about 3900 ft.
Round Trip Distance: about 5 miles
This was a solo, overnight, snow-shoeing exploration of the Snoqualmie Pass area south of I-90. I decided to give mother nature a break from the pollution of my car and took a Greyhound bus to Snoqualmie Pass. Yes, my car works fine. The main reason for taking the bus was to free my conscience from the thought of further adding to mankind's pollution of the air (for just this weekend), but taking a bus also has its advantages. You don't have to worry about your car getting snowed in, vandalized, stolen, or torn open by a snow-plow. In addition, it's not so bad having someone else do the driving for you. Anyway, Greyhound drops you off at this A-frame house called the Trading Post (or something like that). I may try out the bus to Steven's Pass some day.
I put on my snowshoes and just headed out through the forest in back of the Trading Post. I had to cross a couple roads before I got to the ski area. The Snoqualmie ski areas were still not open at this time. The slopes had a very few, small spots where grass could be seen through. These occurred near creeks, and places where the grooming equipment scraped the snow away. I headed up the ski area, and made my way to Beaver Lake. The weather was very foggy, and lightly snowing off and on. Beaver is a small lake, and there is a chair lift that goes over the northern tip of it. The Lake was completely frozen except for its northern outlet.
From there, I descended down to Lodge Lake, trying to follow the Pacific Crest Trail . I encountered a set of fresh snowshoe prints, and ended up following them, but I never saw the people that made them. It was pretty much off-trail traveling, because the PCT was not much of a trail to follow anyway when its covered in 2 and 1/2 feet of snow. There were a bunch of little creeks that had to be crossed on the way down, but I made it down to Lodge Lake by lunch time. The lake was covered by a thin, blue, slushy looking, ice layer.
I then decided to climb up to the ridge to the south and east. I was carrying a 50 lb. pack, and although this was only a 500 ft climb, it took me over 2 hours. It was completely off trail, and the snow was deep, and heavy. My snow shoes are 9""x29"", and they were not adequate floatation for me (170 lbs. + 50 lb. pack) in these snow conditions. The way got much steeper as I neared the top of the ridge, and I kept falling down into the deep snow. Needless to say, it's not that easy getting up when you've got a huge, heavy pack on your back, and you've sunk up to your thigh in snow, your snow-shoes are stuck under some tree branch and have 10 lbs. of snow on top of them, and your hands are sinking in so you can't pick yourself up. After much swearing, I finally made it to the ridge top. I was beat, and set up camp.
There were great views up on this ridge. There was fog here and there, but the views were mostly clear across the valley revealing the mountains of the Snoqualmie Pass area: Denny Mt., Guye Peak, Snoqualmie Mt., Kendall Peaks, Rampart Ridge. One could even see Granite Mt., and the look-out tower on the top. A little after it got dark I went outside to have a look. It was partly cloudy, but there were big spaces between the clouds that revealed the clear night sky. To my pleasant surprise, through one of the cloud openings, I could see Jupiter in perfect conjunction with the half moon! They were within 2 degrees of each other. The nice thing about snow camping, is you really don't need a flash light to walk around outside at night (especially under moon light). The night was calm and it snowed lightly only a few times, but there wasn't much accumulation. At night I read a book by candle lantern.
The next day was a good one. It was partly cloudy with clear views, and the sun came out now and then. I snowshoed along the ridge to the south. I saw a handful of snow-boarders, and one X-country skier. My original plan was to summit Mt. Catherine, but I was late in getting up. I visited Divide Lake, and came very close to Surveyors Lake, but didn't find it before I ran out of time. There was always a little bit of liquid water to be found at the outlets or inlets of the lakes I visited. The snow was about 3 and 1/2 feet deep up at this elevation. The snow was a mine field of air pockets that could be fallen into. These were created by the falling snow leaving open spaces under small trees and brush. I saw a completely white rabbit near Divide Lake. It let me come to within 6 feet of it. It sat there motionless for about a minute while I watched it. Unfortunately, as I was pulling out my camera, it hopped away.
I fell in a small creek on my way back, and since it was a cold clear evening, my snowshoe bindings froze up in a thick layer of ice. It was tough to get them off when I got back to the Trading Post. I took the Greyhound back to Seattle and this went pretty smoothly. Although I didn't cover a huge distance or make big elevation changes, I was pretty sore after this trip. Other trip reports and pictures at http://www.geocities.com/Yosemite/Gorge/4424/hikes.html