Monday, January 25, 2016

Winter Hike and Sledding at Mount Olympus Wilderness

Earlier this month I had an exciting winter date. After church on a Sunday morning we met for brunch at the Porcupine Grill. We had a great, filling meal so that we would have lots of energy for our winter hike and sledding excursion. After filling our bellies, we went to REI to pick up snowshoes, but after consulting with the staff there we concluded that it wouldn't be necessary and instead we got chain treads instead. 
Heading up the trail
We drove up the canyon to a trailhead a few miles up. We geared up at the car, grabbed the sled disc and headed up the trail. The snow was breathtaking and the spikey treads helped our feet grip as we climbed up the mountainside. We stopped often to look around and enjoy the views... and horse around a little by throwing snow. We also stopped occasionally to let skiers and snowboarders pass. My companion said that people liked to hike in, on snowshoes or spikes like us, and then would ski or board back down.

We stopped after just over a mile in to let several skiers pass and ended up talking for quite a while. When we tried to continue on, we discovered that the next part of the trail wasn't well enough packed to continue on with just our spikes; we should have gotten those snowshoes after all. 

We decided to turn around and head back down - making use of the sled disc of course. He gave me a good push, and down the mountain I went. Trying to stay on the path and avoid going over the edge to the river was a challenge. I wiped out, on purpose, a few times to avoid greater danger, but oh did I have fun! (The next day I had a good little bruise on my knee to prove it!)

After a few more pushes down the trail, I stopped before crossing the bridge over big sharp rocks. We were almost down the trail and walked the rest of the way. Taking the chains off, we hopped in the car and headed back down the mountain where we stopped at a sports bar to catch the tail end of the Seahawks game. It was a great introduction to winter hiking and I hope to do more.

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