Friday, July 29, 2011

21 May 2011 Snoqualmie Pass and the APE Cache

This was the day for us to find the last cache of the Triad and actually get to hike along Snoqualmie Pass. Since it was the end of May, I had not bothered to pack any warm clothes. Ali was prepared to hit a cold trail, and I was brave enough to try. She was smarter though and quietly routed me to the parking lot of an REI store and suggested since we were there I might as well get something warmer. ;-)

I settled on a fleece jacket and we were on our way. When we reached the parking area below the pass, the car thermometer read 46 degrees. Do I really have to tell her how smart she was to route me to REI before we left?

The trail was awesome. It was a great walk up to the pass with snow, roaring streams, and spring wildflowers. We grabbed a find on the largest container I have ever seen and made our way to the old rail bed.

By the time we reached the rail bed, there was more snow on the ground, intermittent rain, and really low elevation clouds.

As we were walking out, we were surprised by a couple returning who said the tunnel entrance was open. We had expected the entire tunnel to be closed until late summer as they made repairs. We stopped for the APE cache and all others on the way before finally reaching an open tunnel entrance. I misbehaved and walked a good ways into the tunnel. It was incredible. I really wanted to try the whole walk (although I found out later that would not have been a good idea).

Ali is that you?

After we found all the hides on the trail up to the tunnel, we headed back to the trail head and decided to make an attempt at reaching Lake Annette. After climbing over the remains of an avalanche, we made it to the cache at the Avalanche Shack. While we were there a local came along the trail from the other direction. He had been on the trail for almost seven hours with an attempt to reach Lake Annette. After speaking with him for a bit, we sadly realized that visiting Lake Annette would not be part of this journey.

Remains of an avalanche.

After leaving the pass, we returned to the nature trail starting near the parking area and walked that trail. The western version of skunk cabbage is a very showy flower. We enjoyed the majestic cedars that lined the trails.

Mountains, Snow, and Fog ruled the day...

We cached our way to the Hyak Trailhead and tried to approach the tunnel from that direction. It was here that I learned an attempt to walk the tunnel would have been a folly.

The snow was much deeper at Hyak and the day had become even grayer. We tried for a couple last finds along the pass heading away from the tunnel and finally surrendered to the deeper snow.

It was an amazing day. Little did we know that we would be one of the last finders of the APE Cache.

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