Snowshoeing Forest Road 1284, White Pass, Washington, Spring 2017

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A black and white landscape photograph of Hogback Ridge under a blanket of early spring snow as viewed from Gifford Pinchot National Forest Road 1284 in Lewis County near White Pass, Washington.
“Snow-covered Hogback Ridge from FR1284, White Pass, Washington,Spring 2017”
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Well on this outing, I learned what I should have known, that you can’t always trust old guide books for accurate information, especially in the case of scenic views for landscape photography.

I’m a sucker for old Pacific Northwest trail guides when I come across them in thrift shops. I’m always looking for new locations to explore, and sometimes these old books have destinations some of the newer guide books exclude. Some for good reason.

Not that any trip into nature is bad, it’s just when I’m in the outdoors, I like to bring back photographs to share my experience.

A black and white panoramic photograph of the Clear Fork Cowlitz River valley and the surrounding snow covered Coyote Ridge in the Goat Rocks Wilderness Area as viewed from Gifford Pinchot National Forest Road 1284 in Lewis County, Washington.
“Coyote Ridge Panorama, Lewis County, Washington, Spring 2017”
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I have an old copy of “Cross-County Ski Trails of Washington’s Cascades & Olympics”, circa 1983. When the words “views” and “clear cuts” are mentioned in a 34-year-old guidebook, that should have been a clue for me. Over time, clear cuts grow back and become forests.

I chose a route, just down the hill from White Pass, Washington, along Gifford Pinchot National Forest Road 1284, titled the Route 71: Yellow Jacket Road. Quotes from the book include: “…maximum views for a minimum climb…”, “…the best in mountain scenery…”. That it was, at one time, until the trees grew back.

A black and white landscape photograph of the snow covered mountain ranges in the Goat Rocks Wilderness Area as viewed from Gifford Pinchot National Forest Road 1284 in Lewis County, Washington.
“Goat Rocks Wilderness, Washington, Spring 2017”
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All kidding aside, it was a beautiful day on my snowshoes. The weather was perfect, warm spring temperatures and partly cloudy skies. The route I traveled was about 7 miles round-trip with only a 480-foot elevation gain (a nice easy route since I haven’t been on my snowshoes for a little while).

Through the forest, I was able to see the beauty of the Washington Cascades and the Goat Rocks Wilderness Area as outlined in the guide book. And even in a few areas, I was able to get mostly clear photographs of the surrounding mountains free of trees sticking out within the frame of my photo.

A black and white landscape photograph of Old Snowy Mountain and surrounding mountain peaks in the Goat Rocks Wilderness Area as viewed from Gifford Pinchot National Forest Road 1284 in Lewis County, Washington.
“Old Snowy Mountain, Goat Rocks Wilderness, Washington, Spring 2017”
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One mistake I made was not bringing my poles along for the hike. Why would I need them for such an easy trip? I would soon find out why they would have been a good item to bring along.

At the end of the road, I climbed a snow-covered embankment to get a better perspective to photograph Old Snowy Mountain, and while ascending, I slipped a little but thought nothing of it.

A black and white landscape photograph of Hogback Mountain under a blanket of early spring snow as viewed from Gifford Pinchot National Forest Road 1284 in Lewis County near White Pass, Washington.
“Spring Snow, Hogback Mountain, Washington, 2017”
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It wasn’t until later, on the hike back to my car, when I realized that I pulled a groin muscle. Oh, how I wish I had my poles with me then. It was a very painful walk out. You don’t know how great it felt when the sight of my Land Cruiser came into view just before darkness fell.

It wasn’t the most productive day of photographing the Washington Cascades as I had hoped, but I did come back with some landscape photographs that I really like. And any day in nature is a great day in my book.

A black and white landscape photograph of an old silver stump above a blanket of early spring snow along Gifford Pinchot National Forest Road 1284 in Lewis County near White Pass, Washington.
“Old Silver Stump, FR1284, Lewis County, Washington, Spring 2017”

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You can view additional landscape photographs from this day at my gallery titled “Forest Road 1284 Snowshoe, White Pass, Washington, Spring 2017”.