A hike in the snow is much different than a normal one.
Today, I went on my first hike that involved any significant amount of snow. I had a blast, but it was definitely a bit different from my typical hikes.
The location was Mount Pilchuck in Washington state. To the west, it overlooks Skagit Valley and both my homes, past and present, Orcas Island and Seattle, are visible from the top. To the east, the Cascade Mountain Range sits ominously, ever watchful of the great pacific northwest. I was accompanied by my sister for this glorious Easter hike.
The first thing I noticed that was different about this hike was the obvious one — it was cold. Because there was still snow on the ground (in April!) the air temperature had to be pretty chilly; it was around 45 degrees the whole day, partly cloudy.
The next thing I noticed that it was pretty slick. The snow made it quite easy for me to lose my balance and take a small tumble down to my knees. I’m fairly tall so I bet I looked like a huge fool to any lucky spectators of my missteps. I certainly wasn’t super well-equipped for the snow considering that I was wearing shorts and a pair of Nike running shoes. Every slip into the snow meant a cold patch for hours so I had to be extra careful.
Once I got into the hike a bit and was steadily walking up the mountain, the temperature wasn’t really a problem. Actually, for most of the hike, I was just in a t-shirt and shorts and perfectly comfortable. It was a beautiful sunny day with a slight amount of cloud cover — perfect hiking weather.
As I hiked further and further up the mountain, and more sun hit the mountainside, I began to get pelted with cold droplets as I walked beneath the myriad of pine trees. While it was somewhat refreshing being doused with not too much ice-cold water, it did get a little old after a while.
Once my sister and I reached the top of the mountain, we were exhausted. Hiking in the snow certainly took more energy out of me than any regular hike that I was accustomed to going on.
We stopped at the top for a while and ate some snacks. Because there was a pretty badass lookout tower at the top, we decided to take our break there. As we sipped on our water and ate our granola bars and beef jerky, we looked out below us and scoured our kingdom. I’ve never even owned a house or a even a room outside of my dorm room, but I felt like I ruled everything in my sight.
I was the king on top of the mountain.
Once I got off my high horse and came back to reality, it was time to set off back down the mountain. The sun was starting to go down and the air was growing colder.
The descent was more difficult than I thought it’d be. If anything, I thought that it would be a bit easier than the trek up, but I was dead wrong. The trip back down probably took around the same amount of time, but I fell down quite a few more times. I managed to get a bit wetter and colder in the process.
The sun had melted a large amount of the snow that was present on the trail and that meant for a much soggier trip on the way back. Icy rivers ran willy nilly down the mountainside and more slush, cold and muddy, was produced for us to step and/or slip in.
We eventually made it back to the car, just as the sun was setting, safe and sound. A little cold, but safe nonetheless.
So, what’s my opinion on my first snow hike?
It’s a good one. I really enjoyed the hike! The weather was great, not as cold as I would expect a snow hike to be; the views from the top were awesome. But, however, for any future snow hikes, I will need to prepare accordingly. That means some water-proof shoes with better grip, a warmer hat, and some sunscreen. I had no idea that snow could reflect the sun like that; I actually got a fair amount of sun from the hike today.
I’ll be out conquering more snow-covered landscapes in no time.
The Rating: 82/100
Pro: Everything looks better with the right amount of snow.
Con: Snow means cold temperatures and slippery slopes.
My name is Jack Russillo and I’m a college freshman who just moved to the big city (Seattle) from a small town in the middle of nowhere. Every day I rate something on a scale of 1 to 100.
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