Hyak To Lost Lake Road

     Due to the lousy conditions in the mountains I spent the weekend in town. Monday is supposed to be the only day this week without rain. With that in mind I took off from work at 12:00 and headed to the pass. My goal was to go from the Hyak sno-park to the far end of Lake Keechelus. The limiting factor was daylight. I was on the trail at 1:15 and sunset was at 4:15.

     Snow conditions are as good or better than anything I saw last year. The Summit has 70 inches and I would guess that there is about 50 inches on the Iron Horse. It looked like the route was groomed within a day or so and another 3 or 4 inches had falled since then. There was one set of tracks and many snowshoe prints in the middle. It was about 34 degrees when I started so I had great grip but so so glide. The recent snow has really flocked all the trees. That alone was worth the drive. I passed two women half a mile along. The single track now had only one set of pole prints. It was almost untouched snow. Within a mile all but one set of snowshoe prints ended.

     My only concern was the site of the old snow sheds. Avalanche danger was listed as high above 6000-7000 feet and I was at 2450'. The snow shed site had a good layer of snow with no traces of slides. There is still not very much snow on the hillside above.

     At 4 1/2 miles the lone skier had had enough and the track ended. From here on I had to make my own. The snow was well compacted so it only slowed me down a little. At 5 miles I reached the bridge over Roaring Creek. It took me 67 minutes and I still had 30 minutes until my turn around time. I continued to slog along and reached the Lost Lake Road at 2:40 with 5 minutes to spare. I used them to wolf down a sandwich and get a drink. 1:28 for 6 1/2 miles was not bad for me under those conditions.

     The trip back was just as enjoyable. I saw many animal tracks and just the one ski track. Not a trace of ice on the whole route. My return time was nearly identical to the time going out. I reached the car at 4:21 just as darkness set in. My headlamp stayed in my pack. I saw the two women near the start and one snowshoer who was coming back as I skied out. That was it. 13 miles and near solitude at one of the most crowded cross country ski sites. What a great way to start the week.