Saturday, March 1, 2014

Hiker Wash, Winter Version

 Every morning on the Washington PCT, Scout and I stared glumly at the beautiful lush meadows, the captivating thin ribbon of trail flanked by thick vegetation. Lovely, yes, but we also knew what awaited us...the dreaded Hiker Wash.

In case you aren't familiar, Hiker Wash (which can also be Runner Wash or Mountain Biker Wash) occurs when saturated vegetation comes in contact repeatedly with carefully dried shoes, socks, and, if the brush is tall enough, the rest of your outfit. Your only outfit. For days. You might think that this is a nice thing, and it could be, were the temperature warm, but if it's warm....the brush is dry. No, Hiker Wash is a chilly morning phenomenon, and who could blame us if we rejoiced to see other hikers traipsing in front of us, taking Hiker Wash for the team.

I can't fully convey the horror of frozen toes in dripping socks, so I will leave it at that. Until today, when I unexpectedly found myself with no trail companions, and decided to undertake the Slog of Brutality, otherwise known as the hike to Aneroid Lake. It's hard to get people to go with me on this hike in summer, let alone winter, when postholing along at a blazing pace of one mile per hour is common. So I seized the day. I was only going to hike to the bridge...but something happened..and I ended up at the lake.

And discovered...winter Hiker Wash! The trees were laden with snow, and as I passed, each one released a fluffy cold shower. Soon I was covered with snow. I didn't mind though--it was entertaining.
Hiker Wash waiting to happen.



Pete's Point. My husband once skied down from the notch on the right side.

The lake was frozen and I sank into two feet of snow.

Happy.




10 comments:

  1. I did not know about winter hiker wash. Looks gorgeous out there!

    (And I thought hiker wash was a given in "Wash"-ington)
    :-) Scout

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  2. Beautiful! I'm glad you were able to hike up there and share your photos and story.

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  3. Awesome pictures Mary!
    I've never been to Aneroid lake, but I have looked down at it from the ridge line at Dollar lake on the Bonny lakes side. It would be so cool to see the Wallowas up close in the winter time. I know them well in the summer but not winter. I imagine it's like a whole different place with a whole different world of beauty to offer.

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  4. What Kim said....I've looked down the valley to Aneroid Lake from the ridge line near Dollar Lake after camping at Bonny Lakes. Would love to see the lake close up....but couldn't have kept up with the Hiker Winter Wash trek. Was there a trail at all?

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    1. There was a trail...skiers had been up there recently.

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  5. So glad you went. Definitely a 'happy' experience!

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  6. Great job! That's a stiff hike, but with great rewards! Did you have snow the entire way?

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    1. Yes, snow from the trailhead. Pretty deep off the ski track.

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  7. Awesome hike! I had some runner wash on my trail run today. The ferns are getting a little too big for the trail.

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  8. It's OK if the trees are just shedding snow on you (so long as you're wearing something to keep it off your neck), but if the temperature gets a little above freezing then walking under evergreens in the winter can be like walking in the rain.

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