What are those knobs?
The approach to the winter solstice is proving to be a bit wetter than we would like. Snow rain snow rain repeat. At least there is enough snow to bring out the masses. Just wait until we are in full operation! Yikes. Online permit sales are brisk so far.
It appears that it still is a bit too warm for enough snow to accumulate for grooming to commence out of Hyak and Crystal Springs. The groomer operator was out today to check snow levels. In order for the sled hill to open, they need to build the snow berm at the bottom and right now there is not enough snow to get that built. Lake Easton typically needs about 2’ to start grooming. Salmon La Sac will start grooming AFTER the holidays.
Maybe you saw the winter recreation articles in the Seattle Times last weekend and were disappointed with the note of the great skiing at Cabin Creek – it is! -- and is at capacity on weekends already! This was followed by another article encouraging readers to go snowshoe there, Nooooooooo, with a misleading statement about “grooming management” of the trails. The Sno-Park program manages the grooming out of this Sno-Park. Please snowshoe at other Sno-Parks. Cabin Creek is really best suited for skiing. I equate it with skiing in a curvy hilly circle with hundreds of your best friends lapping around and around. You will find many new friends as there is a strong culture of skiing with many of them dedicated lifelong skiers. Now that Mt. Amabilis is groomed for skiing on a somewhat regular basis, you can get a fun long glide back down after your nice climb up to snow covered trees. It is a fun ski area. See Snowshoe page
South Loop (see image at bottom) out of the lower Cabin Creek parking lot is occasionally groomed and can be a great place to snowshoe. Or, take those snowshoes to Crystal Springs Sno-Park where there are open areas you can navigate through the trees!
If you are still getting your ski legs, gaining skills at Hyak or Erling Stordahl will allow time for confidence to grow and eventually be ready for the fun glacially deposited hills at Cabin Creek.
Speaking of hills, that little knob on the South Loop, along with Ozbaldy in the core of Cabin Creek and the knobs in Erling Stordahl are sedimentary rock remnants (Geologists named this group the Naches Formation) that resisted eroding away while alpine glaciers came and went scouring and depositing lacustrine sediments and mini moraines. Officially described as glacial drift (glacial rock debris). See banner image and conclusion image. We like these knobs since they are “hydrologically stable”. Compare top photo with bottom (they are not the same scale - I was too lazy to label).
Many of you are regulars up on the Pass and know the terrain of each Sno-Park and where to go when. For newbies, please reference the Sno-Park page on this website for a list of the Sno-Parks. On each page is a description of the Sno-Park, maps and many links.
For you snowshoe enthusiasts, please check out the snowshoe page. The Cle Elum Ranger District outlined some places to snowshoe available for download.
For all of us, reference the Trail Etiquette page. In this extremely heavily used corridor, this is important.