Welcome back! 2022/2023 season is here!
Dec. 8th, 2022
Welcome back everyone! I for one am looking forward to a new season and loads of fun. This may be about my 8th or 9th year of these news blogs and I’ve written over a hundred of them. Keep in mind that these are not meant to be word art, but news - short and sweet.
Here we go, I think I will start on the west side and work my way over to Salmon La Sac and Blewett Pass.
Annette Lake Trailhead parking will be a Sno-Park this year in addition to Asahel Curtis / Denny Creek. Woo hoo, more west side availability! Finding snow removal contractors to work so far from their base, have equipment suitable for the job and be interested in plowing such a heavy snow area is tough. Luckily someone took the job. Thank you to the Snoqualmie Ranger District for tackling this lack of parking problem. Permit required.
Next stop Hyak. Sled hill is closed while hill is prepped. All will be the same as previous seasons. Grooming / rolling commenced on the Palouse to Cascades State Park Trail (P2C) on opening day. This is the earliest in about 10 years or so!
Gold Creek – plowed and sani-cans in place. Park on north side of road only.
Moving on down to the other side of the lake – Crystal Springs – ha, the Sno-Park you can see from space. Well, not exactly, but it is rather gigantic. Plowed and sani-cans are in place. Erling Stordahl grooming reports you can read here. To summarize current situation – early season and still low snow levels so no set track. As is often the case, trees come down in these first few storms and our usual contingent of volunteers were not able to get out and walk the trails before the snow hit (hey – it’s been 10 year or so you know – our timing is a bit tweaked) so they are not as buffed out as we'd hope. The sled dog trails are rolled, but may be a bit thin in places. For you fans of Erling Stordahl, we will hopefully see Friday grooming this season and double tracks set most of the time.
Cabin Creek – still having some early season challenges with tree fall. Do not expect normal midwinter conditions there just yet and no set track until there is a bit more snow. South Loop was rolled, and will have grooming on an irregular basis this year. South loop is accessed out of the "back" lot - the 2nd lot.
Easton Reload – This is primarily a snowshoe and snow play destination, but if you wanted to ski the P2C, there is blocking water at this time for P2C access from parking. There is snow tho and a marked snowshoe trail along Cabin Creek (yes, there really is flowing water here)
Lake Easton State Park – still not quite enough snow here.
Going out towards Salmon La Sac – once you pass “The Last Resort” a Sno-Park permit is required, no special grooming sticker needed for this area. Please do not park anywhere where you block the fire station, turn around or travel-way.
The 1st official Sno-Park is the Cle Elum River Campground. Photo above is from this area. Some of you may remember this from the COVID winter as a temporary Sno-Park. It is back for the season. This offers excellent views, easy travel and is a great beginner snowshoe area.
The Salmon La Sac Campground is groomed for skiers with a skate lane and set tracks. This is a scenic area that is in a micro-climate consisting of cooler temperatures and plenty of snow. The grooming here will start Monday Dec. 19th. The schedule is for Mondays and Fridays as usual. If you want to snowshoe in the campground, there is plenty of room to travel off the grooming. Thank you.
Blewett Pass includes Squak Campground, Pipe Creek and Blewett Pass itself. I do not believe they have a snow removal contractor signed up just yet.
Many of our Sno-Parks were plowed by the agency that plowed the access roads, (not all of course) and then during COVID, many did not have to resources to take the Sno-Parks on and the Program had to scramble to find new snow removal contractors within just a couple months. This was a big big big job for staff to scramble to keep Sno-Parks open – statewide. Last season was the first season with this significant change of contractors and some of those are not coming back. Blewett is “out there” and staff is still working on finding someone willing to drive out and clear the lots.
Some tidbits. We will have a new Sno-Park out the West Fork of the Teanaway in the Teanaway Community Forest in a few years. This trails plan was years in the making and passed the SEPA checklist recently and now is in the process of obtaining funding for trail development. Trails plan link.
Remember to have a "Plan B or even Plan C" anytime you travel up this year. Maybe even pack a book or some games as emergency items. Secondly, never park where you are not supposed to. You know - "everybody else is" so why not. Just. Don't . Do. It. Implement your next plan.
Last tidbit: As for the Program, I want you to know that everyone is working really hard for all of us. The on the ground crews for I-90 (our area) are mostly the same as last season. As for land and program managers, we have some new faces and all of them are engaged, dedicated and doing their very best.