This weeks snow shoe trip started at White River canyon. We hiked past the sledders to and begin our the trek up the canyon and immediately got a great view of Mt. Hood.
About 200 feet up the river, we headed off through the trees to meet up with the ski trail. This trail is to take us to the Yellow Jacket trail and to the Pacific Crest trail. After the last heavy snow, we could see no tracks of previous hikers, and were apparently the only ones who have chosen this route so far today. If we can, we stick to the marked ski trails. These trails are marked with blue plastic diamonds nailed to the trees. The object here is to find the first one, on the near side of a large tree. Then, based on the angle of the ones posted on the far side of the tree, you should know which direction to head from there. The theory is that you should see another set of markers from very near the previous set. Then simply just follow the markers. On this occasion, we had a bit of difficulty following this simple plan. On some occasions, the snow has stuck to the trees in such a way as to obscure the markers making it harder to spot from a distance.
More often, we found that with the heavy snow pack, many markers were at ground level. On two separate sections, we lost the trail completely, we suspect because of covered markers. The marker on this tree is very nearly covered by the high snow level.
On those times, using the maps and compass we were able to get ourselves relatively on track. We did however do some wandering (now would be a good time for a G.P.S.), and eventually stumbled on the Pacific Crest Trail marker. If you look close you will see our tracks heading right past the marker on the other side of that tree, thereby heading off in another direction for a hundred yards or so before making our way back and spotting the marker on this side of the tree.
One word of caution, is to steer clear of the larger trees when possible. On days like this one, where the temperatures were above freezing and the sun is out, the snow that has been accumulating on the trees then melts and falls. Mostly as an irritating rain, but sometimes as a larger mass that falls with a wumphf, (like that?) and the big ones can really hurt. Just as importantly is to avoid the tree wells, with the soft snow, it is possible to fall down into one of these wells. There is a likelihood of injury and it can be very difficult to get out, especially without help. We both carry ropes in our packs for such a possibility.
Despite all our wandering in the unmarked territories about White River, we did find a service road on Boy Scout ridge. We stopped for lunch in a clearing with another great view of Mt. Hood. We were actually in search of another spot very close by, where I proposed to Honey 4 years ago this week.
Didn’t find that spot. But this one was very nice as well.