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Trip Report    

Methow Valley Winter Trails

Saturday, Jan 10, 2015; Klipchuck CG via Hwy-20 and FS-300 west of Mazama, WA

This trip was a Winter Trails event [] in the Methow Valley region. Winter Trails Weekend offered two days of Nordic skiing and snowshoeing, all of which was coordinated by Chris Ensor of the Seattle Branch. The objectives were threefold: 1) to encourage people to participate in self-powered outdoor winter activities; 2) to introduce people to The Mountaineers; and 3) to also introduce, or re-introduce, them to the Methow region, which was hard-hit by last summer's Carleton Complex wildfire. The 4:30 drive time from Seattle effectively mandated making a weekend of it. Guests (non members of the Mountaineers) as well as members were invited to sign up for these trips, so they had to be at the Beginner (Easy) level.

At 9:00 AM on Saturday, Jan 10, 2015, ten of us met at the end of the plowed section of WA-20/North Cascades Highway just west of Mazama. I thought this was a great turnout, given the distance from Seattle, and the fact that eleven others had signed up but then canceled. For five participants, it was their first Mountaineers trip. For two, it was the first time they'd put on snowshoes. It was a wonderful opportunity to make a positive first Mountaineers impression. The snow-covered road had been well-packed by snowmobiles, skiers and snowshoers, so we carried our shoes past roughly 25 parked snowmobiles at the start, and continued on for 2.2 miles to the junction with Forest Service road 300, while doing bits of the Basic SS field trip on the way. FS300 was far less traveled, so we put on the snowshoes and proceeded "making a road" through 1/4-inch breakable crust over 4-6 inches of softer snow for another 1.3 miles to Klipchuck Campground. The route, from trailhead to campground, gradually gains about 750'. At the campground, I shoveled snow away from the door to a pit toilet (they were unlocked) while others cleared a picnic table. We started back after a 30-minute lunch and bathroom break, arriving at the cars at 3:15 PM. The temperature hovered around freezing all day, and the skies were cloudy, preventing views of Delancy Ridge and The Needles.

Photos at