|DECEMBER 26, 2010 A Mountaineers snowshoe. Nine
of us piled into two cars for the drive to snowy Stevens Pass, where the
forecast called for as much as 3 to 5 inches of snow during the day.
It was calm and a chilly 27º when we
reached the trailhead. In the course of the year since my
snowshoe trip here in January,
I had forgotten how pretty these woods are. The trail climbs
steadily alongside Lanham Creek for a quarter of a mile, breaks out into
a clearing under power lines, then disappears into a snowy forest of
conifers. Here the terrain levels out and becomes a
delightful walk in the snowy woods before the trail starts a serious
climb. We took a wide detour around a large area of blown-down
trees, and in doing so had to descend a very steep slope. The
route down the hill became slippery and difficult to hike down, so the
last few hikers, including myself, opted to slide down instead of walk.
A short distance later we reached the shores of Lanham Lake, where it
began to snow.
Visibility was reduced, and we did not see Jim Hill Mountain on the far side of the lake. The edge of the lake was not frozen solid, and those of our group who hiked around the lake had to choose their route carefully. The other half of us found shelter from the snow under the graceful branches of a large Douglas fir. We didn't linger long at the lake and chose a return route that avoided the steep hill.