Thwarted Again By Snow

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July 2, 2018

Yes, I’m talking about snow in July.  We embarked upon one of our favorite hikes today.  We went on a hike to Sauk Mountain three years ago on June 21 (blog post here).  The original hike was in warm sunny weather.  It was cloudy when we left today, but I was optimistic the weather would clear.  When we got to the trailhead, it was still cloudy and 40 degrees F.  I was still optimistic the weather would clear (not having paid attention to today’s forecast).  We arrived at the trailhead and only one car was parked there.  Last time we hiked here, the place was packed.  We met the  other hiking pair as they was coming down.  They were finishing their hike as we got started.  They said there was lots of snow on the top and it was snowing.

I was still optimistic.  Regis was ready to throw in the towel, but not me.  We trudged up the mountain in the fog.  There was little to see except the flowers on the side of the path.  I had forgotten how tough this hike is.  There are 26  switchbacks.  Once we got within .7 miles of the top, we hit snow.  Dart did his ecstasy run and showed off how he could make it through the snow without sliding down the mountain.  This snow was very slippery and I gave up fast.  We stopped to have water and a snack and it started to sleet.  I know many of  my friends and relatives are dealing with the heat.  We were sitting in the snow while being pelted with sleet on July 2!  What’s up with that?

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Regis and Dart near the top of Sauk Mountain. It was not really possible to get past this point. Dart enjoyed the snow and when the sleet started, we headed back down.

We couldn’t get to the top because the snow and we froze because of the sleet and blowing wind.  We turned around and headed back down.

On the way down, the clouds parted a few times to give us glimpses of the view.  When we got back to the campsite, it was mostly sunny.  Regis and Dart sat outside and we set up our beach umbrella to give Dart some shade.  This morning Dart was romping in the snow and\ in the afternoon he was dozing under his beach umbrella.

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View of the Skagit River from Sauk Mountain at the end of the hike when the clouds parted.
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View of the Skagit River from Sauk Mountain toward the end of the hike. This is Regis texting Jason who hiked with us 3 years ago in the warm and clear weather.
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A view of some of the 25 switchbacks on the Sauk Mountain Trail. The trailhead parking lot is located just right of top center.
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Dart enjoying the afternoon under his beach umbrella.

Partial description of US Forest Service Trail #613:  “The trail begins in high mountain meadows offering wildflowers and spectacular vistas the entire length…..A 360-degree panorama of the North Cascades is provided at the old lookout site.  On a clear day, Mt. Ranier can be seen to the south, Puget Sound and the San Juan Islands to the west, and the rugged Cascade peaks stretching to the east.” The trail starts at 4300 feet and rises 1200 feet in elevation.  It is 2.1 miles to the top and considered a more difficult trail.

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This little guy was eating some vegetation on the side of the Sauk Mountain trail.

Needless to say, the clouds blocked those spectacular views.  But, we saw lots of wildflowers and got a good workout.  And, Dart got another romp in the snow.

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Some of our neighbors at this campground. They don’t seem to care about Dart, but Dart has some issues with these guys.
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One last picture from our last hours at Port Townsend. The gulls hang around this spit, but this particular morning an eagle showed up and broke up the party. All the gulls left. It appears that a bird was killed and this immature eagle is having breakfast. There were two crows hanging around hoping for scraps.

5 Comments on “Thwarted Again By Snow

  1. Switchbacks are good. Just think of what the trail would be like going straight up the mountain. I leave for CO in two days. I should see a few switchbacks here.

    • I don’t know about the Rockies, but there is still plenty of snow in the Olympics and the Cascades. Either it snowed a lot this winter and/or it’s cool this summer and not melting very fast. The Rockies had a lot of snow when we drove by in Montana. Be prepared!! Have a great trip.

  2. I’ll take colder temperatures and sleet over the heat and humidity any day. According to the National Weather Service, it’s 87 degrees F at the Inner Harbor in Baltimore (it’s 8:54 AM), with a dew point of 73 degrees. Just walking the half-mile from the parking lot to my office gave me quite the ‘glow’ this morning.

    I’m really enjoying your posts! Thanks for getting me out of the basement of this building for a few minutes, even if it’s just in my head…

    • well we woke up to 46 F this morning at 5:30 pdt and we are NOT at elevation! This is turning out like our canada trip last year, freezing in the shadows roasting in the sunshine!

      • It’s a matter of opinion whether I would call it roasting. I was sitting in the sun yesterday with a long sleeve shirt on. That’s not roasting.

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