Hitch 2 Snoqualmie and Skykomish Ranger Districts

After being completely spoiled our first hitch with sunshine and not a drop of rain, the weather gods reminded us that we are in the Pacific Northwest by providing us with overcast skies and rain for the first three days of hitch number two. Team one (Pip, Mark, Solomon, and Garrett) got our boots wet right away as we hiked into Pratt Lake, a popular spot near our Snoqualmie Pass home base. We spent the next three days wandering around the area surveying camp sites. Our spirits were not dampened by the soggy weather, nor was our productivity. By the end of the third day we had surveyed close to 50 sites, traveled to 5 different lakes (Ollalie, Pratt, Lower Tuscohatchie, Windy, and Kaleetan Lake) and
completed about 25 miles of hiking.
We hiked out on a Sunday and were reminded of our close proximity to Seattle. When we are out in the wilderness during the work week (Mon – Fri) we don’t see a lot of other people out hiking. On the weekends, however, the entire scene changes. On Sunday there was a constant flow of traffic on the trails which put our site inventory work into a different perspective, and allowed another moment to be thankful for the week day time we get to spend in “our office.” After only two complete hitches, we have all at least once taken a moment to exclaim to the group how lucky we feel to be participating in this particular Corps program.
We returned to our Snoqualmie headquarters Sunday evening. We spent the evening restocking our food, drying out our gear, and filling our stomachs with big bowls of hot chili. The next day we tied in with Group two and traveled to the Skykomish district for the second half of our hitch.

-By Solomon West

SCA crew 8 and 9 which composed of Elliott, Sarah, Sara and Phill started the hitch off in a little bit rain near our home base at Snoqualmie Pass. We completed 3 day hitches to Talapus Lake, Mason Lake and Sunday Lake. Talapus and Mason Lakes are very popular trails and lakes because of their easy access and proximity to the Seattle area and on Saturday to Mason Lake there were hundreds of people hiking the same day we were. Sunday Lake was a little bit different of a story….it seemed as if we were the first people to hike the overgrown, windfall-filled trail in about 15 years. After an adventure to find the trail while driving tens of miles on US Forest Service roads and unmarked gates and after bushwacking our way about 3 miles over streams and through salmonberry fields, we reached the lake. A few of the campsites were surprisingly well used as we saw garbage and other items recently left behind. It was a struggle to find many spots as the trail was covered in downed trees and debris but we successfully inventoried the lake and made it back home.

All the SCA crews rejoined on Monday and we headed to the Skykomish area to survey Dorothy, Bear, Deer, and Snoqualmie Lake. After a couple of great days we headed down the road a few more miles and set up camp at Trout Lake and surveyed Malachite, Copper, Little and Big Heart Lakes. During the evenings we all swam, played cribbage and Solomon and Sarah had an infamous garlic powder incident that will be remembered well.

We all had a great time exploring the lakes around Skykomish and North Bend and cant wait or Hitch number 3 to see some more!

-Phill VanKessel