Tuesday, October 31, 2017

SNOW!

Sunday I woke up and felt the urge to hit the road as soon as my feet hit the floor ;-) We traded our 4x in last week and bought a Highlander off-road car and I wanted to see what it would do on a long drive … and I wanted to visit Lake Tipsoo too before it was too late this year. So hubs made a fresh pot of coffee & filled the thermos while I dressed and started packing a lunch; I got the cream of the crop when I married this man :-D

At Packwood I needed a sugar lift, so I nipped into the store parking lot – and walked out with an 8 piece chicken order as well as the candy bar I went in for; LOL. Even though there was a lunch tucked behind the passenger seat, the chicken smelled soooo good, I just had to have some of that too :-)

Mt. Rainier seen from Packwood, WA

Packwood is the gateway to the Mt. Rainier National Park; the 3 Passes (White Pass, Chinook Pass & Cayuse Pass) are a little past the Park entrance. We’ll be taking Chinook Pass to reach the Lake, then going through Wenatchee National Forest before heading home via White Pass - this all makes a beautiful scenic loop back through Packwood.

I was anticipating the scenic beauty of the Lake, but I was not prepared at all for THIS sight! I squealed with delight, and Hubs laughed as he always does when I get excited about snow: I’m a genuine snowbaby … born in the snowy month of December; snow is in my blood and I am always happy to see it …

FRESH SNOWFALL!
SNOW, SNOW, SNOW; I am a happy day-tripper.
Mt. Rainier seen coming into Chinook Pass.

This is bear country – last time we were day-tripping up here, a black bear ran across the road right in front of our 4x pickup truck as we were approaching the parking area at Lake Tipsoo.

The snow at the lake was melting in the hot sunshine, but it was still icy and slick due to all the foot traffic, and there was still quite a bit of snowfall on the ground – fairly deep in some places – so there had been a significant snowfall earlier in the week. I wish we had been up here when it was falling! But, this pleasant surprise is better than nothing …

Fresh ice-packed-snowfall at Lake Tipsoo.

This little foot bridge leading out of the parking lot makes me smile every time I see it because I used to pantomime Billy Goats Gruff here with our granddaughter Alyna when she was about 3 years old. I had hoped to be able to bring Azariah here and replay the whole thing at the same age, but that doesn't look like it will ever happen - it's a complicated situation.


Little pond before we reach Lake Tipsoo; overflow from Lake Tipsoo also drains into this pond under another footbridge.
Upper end of Lake Tipsoo.
Second footbridge; here we begin our mile and a half long hike around the Lake.

Have I mentioned how excited I am to see all this fresh snowfall? In all the visits we’ve made here over the years, we've never been here when there was snow on the ground. I felt like a kid visiting a mysterious wonderland even though this place is a familiar place … today it feels wonderfully brand new and mysterious:


Hubs saw a little dark colored frog duck under a corner of the crusty snow here and pointed it out to me; it will probably be digging in and hibernating in the lake’s mud by the end of next week ...

Fresh snow hugging the watery bank of the Lake.

Had we known there was fresh snowfall here, we would have brought our boots with us. But it wasn't too bad - our feet stayed relatively dry the whole hike with strategic foot placement:

Slick icy snow patches and deep watery puddles were on the trail all the way around the lake – it was treacherous in places for soft sided sneakers, so careful footing was of paramount importance.
Brilliant red Fall foliage. So pretty against the blinding white snow in the bright sunlight.

I slid a bit on the slippery trail here, and torqued my back some; the sunshine had turned the trail to a thick ice hazard. I made a mental note to make sure our walking sticks are always in the car from now on for occasions like this where they are greatly needed. It was encouraging to hear that I was not the only one squawking when my feet slid on the slick stuff – the hills resoundingly echoed with other excited and unprepared visitors having the same trail issues …

Walking the trail got increasingly riskier ... but we managed okay.
Mt. Rainier peeking over the prettily frosted alpine meadow surrounding Lake Tipsoo.
The Lake is already experiencing seasonal shrinkage; in the Spring and early Summer months it is full of water lapping at the edges of the walking trail.
Mt. Rainer from the bend of the Lake ... heading around the backside.
Such a pretty place to be today. Despite the snow, it is actually fairly warm with a 65-degree temperature.

I could live in the mountains and never feel like I was missing anything. Solitude suits me just fine - and the alpine beauty is breathtaking.

Unfortunately my husband does not share my sentiments for tranquil solitude (he likes bright lights and social activity), so I have to console myself with periodic visits to the preferred high country:


Coming to the end of the loop hike; this is my favorite spot on the whole trail.  For months I long to be PART OF this captivating atmosphere ... and for 5 minutes – in this moment, in this place – I am.

And then, too soon, we are on the road again leaving Lake Tipsoo behind and heading towards White Pass via the Wenatchee route. Typical snow closures for this Pass usually begins sometime in November, so I am glad we got to visit Lake Tipsoo this past Sunday before it is closed for the season. We'll see Mr. Rainer again in 2018 sometime. As early as possible - as soon as the Winter snow melts and the roads open again …


And then just up the road a piece and around the corner we ‘girded our loins’, so to speak, as we headed into Sasquatch country. Seriously - this is the region we heard him in. Mockers can scoff all they want to, but we are bonafide believers after that hair-raising camping trip in the Pleasant Valley Campground of Chinook Pass (https://jeastofeden.blogspot.com/2017/10/sasquatch-garlic.html):


This is where the Sasquatch event took place.

I had planned to snap a few pictures of the desolate wilderness area to post, but the access was locked up tight …

Pleasant Valley Campground closed for the season. Sasquatch will have solitude for a few months. LOL

Moving on, and relieved to be doing so; I was momentarily stunned and positively awed by the sudden sight of the brilliant bright yellow and softly muted gold of the seasonal turning of the Larch needles and the quaking Aspen leaves. 2 wonderful surprises in 1 day! Elohei certainly was favoring me this past Sunday :-D I should have taken pictures of all those beautifully brilliant trees a lot sooner than I did (by the time I did snap pics the trees had pretty much dwindled to nothing), but to be honestly truthful, my mind was so held captive by all the unexpected color that it took me a while to snap out of the astonishment – I think Fall will be my favorite time to come this way again, I mean, snow and bright leaves! Yes, definitely a Fall mini-vaca to schedule for future daytrips this way ;-)

Natches Aspen trees in all their golden Fall splendor; I was LOVING this road trip!
We left the forests behind and entered the high desert area. Both places have their own beauty, and both gladden my heart.
In White Pass we were rerouted to a detour along the Tieton Reservoir Road; it appears the reservoir is extremely low on water - this entire upper end is practically bone dry.
I was loving the bright golden leaves among the ever evergreen forests.
Pretty golden leaves were showering down on us along the way ...

Looping back towards home through Packwood, I caught sight of this weirdly papered building in my peripheral vision as we drove by …

WHAT on earth is up with that monstrosity!

And then the house behind it spoke volumes – NOT HAPPY at all to see this traitorous and hateful attitude taking root here!


aryan nations appears to be taking up residence in Glenoma.

On the brighter side of things – aside from the awesome scenery we enjoyed on our 8 hour drive ... we got 24.8 miles to the gallon with our new car on our 332 mile day-trip :-D Hands down, that beats what we got with the 4x pickup we traded, so Hubs isn’t grousing so much anymore; LOL. It was a difficult decision to make when we made the leap to downsize from our luxury high-end pickup to a tighter, run-of-the-mill-road-hugging car again (it still has a LOT of perks, but it is not nearly as luxurious as that pickup was), but we no longer have that spacious 2 car driveway we enjoyed at the last house … we have a tight fitting car port now and it freaked me out thinking about trying to park that massive pickup if I ever had to go into town alone – I need a football field to park any pickup; I’m just not good at it if the space is tight – so downsizing to a smaller vehicle makes sense all around. And Hubs is slowly accepting that logic. The mileage factor goes a long way in soothing the pain of the loss. That 4x was awesome; but that time in our life has passed, and the truck served it's purpose and had a good run of things even though the 4x was only 3 years old. When we bought this house in June … just a few months ago, we had no idea how much would change; but it’s all for the best in the long run – and that’s what we have to keep in mind. We are aging; and we need to make allowances for that. Sacrificing the eye-catching Sunset Bronze Toyota Tundra 4x for the Shoreline Blue Pearl Toyota Highlander was one of those logical allowances (no pictures until it’s washed again).

Not only is the mileage great, but it’s spacious (I can get all my Bazaar bins in the back; or a full load of groceries: these things were hard to do with the truck when the weather was bad), and Azariah – when he’s visiting us – won’t be packed into his car seat among it all like a canned sardine; the monthly payments aren't as steep as the 4x was; and more importantly ... I feel comfortable parking it in the carport: when Hubs isn’t riding shotgun and ‘helpfully’ nagging me to do it the way he ‘would do it’ (eyeroll).

Helpful nagging aside … have I mentioned that my gentle giant is the greatest husband?

He IS! For sure :-D