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Snowless Hiking at Sheep Lake

Sunday morning was a hot one last weekend, so Dani and I started early. We had talked about other hikes in the area, but heat isn’t something either of us love much (and she has it even cooler, as she lives in the shadow of the Olympic Mountains). So we picked an easy hike, The Pacific Crest Trail, from Chinook Pass to Sheep Lake. It is neither long, nor hard. A very simple 2.5 miles.


With our very low snow year here in Washington, it is easy to still be shocked. This is the view, looking back west-ish to Chinook Pass (which is to the right, hidden by the trees), this is the cold side of Naches Peak, which the PCT runs along, heading south-bound. That section is often buried or holding deep avy runs of ice/snow until late July. I would suspect by this weekend the PCT there will be walkable.


Having said that, our section, heading north bound, had zero snow. Yes. ZERO snow. First week of June isn’t normal. This should be second week of July at minimum. There was only one tiny creeklet running and I doubt it is running now.


Walking into the lake basin it was very, very odd. You could see where the little snow had suddenly melted out (it never got thick this winter) and everything was green. Again, it felt like mid-July. Yet…the flowers had not shown up. So very confusing to the senses.


Dani, at the lake.


The back side of Sheep Lake is my favorite place to sit. You get breezes coming up, and it wasn’t buggy overall to begin with. The fish were jumping though!


And where there were flowers, it felt like a panic for them. The glacier and avy lilies hurriedly coming up, with the first paintbrush and lupine right behind. Even the blueberries and huckleberries are putting on quickly, before the little water runs out.


It will be an interesting summer, to see how the season goes.

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