Strange days, these are. When wives conspire and organize trips there's no telling what will come next. Of course, we're certainly not going to fight so Scott, Eric, and I met up and headed out from Exit 45.
Usually, one would drive up to one of two trailheads, but snow and blowdowns tend to complicate that approach. Lesser men might walk up the road. However, the magic of mapping software allowed us to draw a straight line (the "as the crow flies" approach) from the car to the first big switchback on the road.
There wasn't a ton of snow. In fact, another foot would have made life much easier. Instead, we slipped and slid even on our snowshoes on the thin snow. After crossing a creek, dodging blowdowns, and staying just to the side of the really steep terrain we found ourselves right at the switchback. A truly amazing feat of navigation for three noodleheads in the woods.
A set of tracks headed off the road immediately cutting the next switchback. And then again at the next switchback. We cut a full mile off the road approach and found ourselves at the summer trailhead amazingly early in the evening.
We followed the well-trod trail up to Talapus Lake and then went a bit off-trail to Olallie. We found ourselves back on the trail by the lake shore and called it a night. Earlier, we had talked about continuing, but there wasn't any real value in that. Instead, we discovered that fudge is wonderful/evil and orange Accelerade and vodka makes a pretty decent screwdriver.
Twice between arriving at the lake and getting back to the trailhead I demonstrated my bravery and manliness by screaming like a little girl when snowbombs dropped nearby. The snow was wet and heavy and they left monster craters, but perhaps my reaction was a tad extreme.
We tallied about 2,100 feet of gain over 7.5 miles. That means I need just a touch over 10,000 feet before the end of the year. I'm sure you're as anxious about this as I am. Trust me, I'm doing the best I can.