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Lanham Lake, Stevens Pass Area, Washington 1/06/2005

Well, I started late but the dayhike was short, I was hoping the temp would rise some it was about 14 degrees this a.m in Wenatchee. I't 55 miles one way to the Stevens Pass Nordic Center (about 4.9 mi. east of the top of the pass). The roads were all dry, an occasional flurry here and there. At the trailhead I was the only vehicle and I saw no other people the entire day. The trail proper was compact snow with only about 1-2 inches of fresh snow, although off the trail it could get pretty deep. When I went around some blow down I sank to my thigh one time. The trail gains about 1300' over 1.5 miles to Latham Lake but if I did a topographic profile for absolute elevation gain and mileage I believe it would be more. The trail is the linear kind with almost no switchbacks, kind of an up the gut approach, I could have used some instep crampons but managed just fine using trekking poles with snow baskets, although I brought along my snowshoes and strapon crampons not knowing the area or what to expect. The entire route is via forest to the lake with the exception of an open area where powerlines cross and they create quite the buzz, otherwise absolutely beautiful snow laden forest. My barometric altimeter was off as I kept ascending on the trail, it said I was at 4600' but the problem with that is the lake is the high point at 4100', I thought damn this is a workout and stopped dropped my pack and had a GU and a Snickers Marathon Bar, hoping the lake wasn't to far away and of coarse once I started hiking again it was about 100 yards up trail. The snow had become heavier and steadier, visibility around the frozen lake was poor, I had some trail mix and headed back down. The roundtrip took 2 hours 15 minutes and the snow was coming down so heavy that my own tracks were covered on the way back and there was 4 inches of new snow on top of the truck (that's almost 2 in. / hr.). Another 55 mile drive back on now snow covered roads home for 110 miles roundtrip. It was a nice dayhike though. I have some good pics I am getting ready to upload.

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