On the auspicious 12/12/12, Hana and I arranged with the generous owners of the Scenic Hot Springs to hike up to the pools. It is very important to contact the owners beforehand and arrange dates and times for a dip, as they are kind enough to allow the general public access to these amazing pools (link is below). Read: Super Important–this is a valuable resource, and permission is REQUIRED to access the hot springs!
It was our first snowshoe together, and we certainly enjoyed it! The snow was deep, requiring snowshoes, especially as the trail climbed 1,100 feet through dark forest and clear-cut. It was snowing lightly when we started, and the clouds and mists drifting slowly through the Cascades made for a beautiful setting when the canopy would open up. The hike itself was almost entirely uphill, across a few streams that melted furrows through the snow. We kept climbing the path, this being our first trip (and hopefully, not our last!) to the hot springs, we kept wondering how much further to go–a familiar feeling to all you hikers and adventurers out there! The end is always just around the bend, or just up one more hill! We finally arrived at a long section where the hot water run-off had left the path snow-free, and we knew we were actually close. We stripped our snowshoes for the last section, and finally crested onto the slight contour that led us above the pools. It was amazing–here we were, not more than an hour and a half away from metropolitan Seattle, and there was a completely isolated pool, overlooking the snow covered firs. We stripped down, freezing until we got in the 101 degree water, and relaxed. The water was hot, the snow was coming down in larger and larger flakes, melting off the surface, one couldn’t imagine a better place to be. I smoked a pipe, enjoying the therapeutic waters, as the snow came down thicker and thicker. Finally, we decided that the coming storm and fading light may make for a more interesting trip than we had planned on and re-dressed to head back down the mountain. It was a great snowshoe–highly recommended!