mt. ellinor

This year we're making an effort to actually get out and explore, rather than just saying we will and then getting to October and realizing we only hiked once all summer.  Not that we did that last year at all.  Anyway.  So far this year we've gone on two hikes and we're finally all geared up to go on an overnighter here pretty soon!  The weather is still a bit iffy and chilly for our first backpacking trip, but by the end of May we'll absolutely have at least one under our belt!
On Saturday we woke up around six and sleepily shoved all our gear in the car, piled Dusty on my lap and went to pick up two friends who were also accompanying us before fueling up with some fresh coffee and heading south.  Mt. Ellinor is pretty close, just off of Hood Canal, and the drive out is tree lined and beautiful.  We got there around 9, slipped on our hiking boots and hit the trail.  The first part of the hike is a relatively shallow incline through giant evergreens and open, mossy terrain.  As we started to get higher some dusting of snow started appearing below our feet, and eventually we were hiking on foot-wide path through snow drifts.  

Eventually you emerge from the forest into more sparsely treed, much steeper terrain.  The snowy trail transformed into a stairway made from footsteps and some portions felt uncomfortably close to vertical, but the views of mountain ranges and Lake Cushman were breathtaking.  Dusty was a hardcore little trooper and stuck with us the whole time.  I think if we'd known how steep the end of the hike was going to be we probably would've left her at home, but her tiny little legs carried her all the way and she had a blast.  When we decided to get a Corgi we thought that it might not be the best dog for taking with us on hikes, since they have such short legs and are pretty small dogs, but she's turned out to be such a wonderful adventure-Corg.

The weather was amazing until we got to the top and it was so socked in, visibility was barely at 20 ft.  Everything was pure, bright white except for a few blurry trees.  We couldn't really tell where the trail went so we ended up turning around a couple hundred feet from the peak, but there wasn't a view anyway.  I think we might try to go back and take the summer trail up to the peak later in the year.

To go down the steep snowy incline we hiked up, we had to glissade down, which is basically just sledding down without a sled.  None of us knew how snowy it would be so we all had just regular pants on, which meant that my butt was frozen by the time we got to the bottom, but it was pretty exhilarating.  One of our friends took a GoPro video of the glissade, but I haven't seen it yet, so here's a youtube video of the Mt. Ellinor glissade to give you an idea (edit: he just uploaded it!).  
As we got down into the trees again we got to watch a flurry of snow make its way across a valley, eventually surrounding us with gentle white flakes.  By the time we made it back to the car we were ready to peel off our wet socks and replace them with warm, dry, fresh pairs.  We stopped in Hoodsport to grab some food from the grocery store deli.  I'm pretty sure no food is more delicious than whatever you eat after a big hike.  We sat at a picnic table, soaking in the spring sun, drinking bad coffee and eating chicken strips, corn dogs, and pizza.  The drive home was rainy and the car was full of sleeping hikers.  I spent most of the rest of the day laying in bed working on my laptop.  After hiking 6 miles and ascending over 3,000 ft. I decided that being horizontal was they way to spend the rest of the day.  This week is supposed to have gorgeous weather, so we might have to find another hike to take advantage of the sun!