Jeff joined Eric and I today for our second snowshoe endeavor of the season. This time our plan was to head up to Lake Valhalla which is just east of Stevens Pass along Route 2. Luckily, we had no issues with the roads this time. The start of the snowshoe is a on parking strip on the westbound side of Route 2. From there the route description indicated that we were to walk up Smithbrook Road for 2.5 miles.

Smithbrook Road is not plowed for cars during the winter, but the road is well traveled by snowmobiles. Indeed a plethora of snowmobilers whizzed by on our walk up. There was no need for snowshoes on the hard packed road and we simply walked with our boots under bluebird skies and admiring some mountain views. But after over a hour of road walking we got bored and Jeff decided to take matters into his own hands. After cutting across some road switchbacks and passing Smithbrook TH we put on our snowshoes and turned off the road. Compass in hand Jeff cut a route through the forest, over half frozen creeks and several drainages aiming for the direction we thought Lake Valhalla was in. But to be honest there was no true end objective to this trek. We were just happy to be out exploring in the mountains.

We never did find the lake. Instead Jeff, Eric and I ended up in a basin just below a mountain and surrounded on three sides by high ridges. Lake Valhalla, we figured, was on the other side of the high ridge. We had turned off the road prematurely and thus had not gained enough elevation to clear the ridge… even though when we were off trail we climbed about 1000 ft. Scaling the ridge was definitely possible, but we decided to call it a good days work. The basin we ended up in was lovely and we stayed here for lunch. Jeff even brought out his stove to boil water and make mashed potatoes.

The return trip was much faster since were were going downhill and no longer route finding. We ran into several snowshoers on the trail we had cut out and a few xc skiers on the road. Perhaps we will come back with out skis next time. Another snowshoe trip that ended up being completely different than the original plan… but still fun!

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