Is it just me, or is winter without snow just weird? Coming from Fort Drum where snow was par for the course, JBLM has been strange with its rainy winters, terminally gray skies, and smatterings of snow – if you’re lucky. I bought the boys new snow bibs at the beginning of the winter, but I guess I jinxed things because we’ve only had one tiny snowfall here. So, I decided that while Ryan was TDY, it was time. We made the trip East to find winter, and it delivered in spades! We spent our entire Saturday playing in the snow at the Snoqualmie Pass.
From JBLM, the Snoqualmie Pass is only about an hour and a half away which, in my opinion, is too easy for a quick snow day filled with fun and play. So, we packed up all our snow gear, plenty of drinks and snacks just in case we had trouble on the pass, and headed out towards Hyak around 9 AM. Mieke was a dream and slept the whole way there. The boys played on their tablets, which you might remember we bought for our trip to South Africa and we use solely for travel purposes. It was pretty funny though; there was no snow for about 90% of the drive. We got to Rattlesnake Lake where I’d originally hoped to stop, but it was still around 40 degrees and there wasn’t even a dusting on the ground. About 20 minutes further into the drive, however, the ground got whiter, the temps dropped, and suddenly we were in a winter wonderland.
I didn’t have big plans. I didn’t want to ski, and I didn’t want to spend beaucoup bucks taking the kids to a dedicated snow play and sledding area. Instead, we had low expectations and simpler standards. We headed towards the Gold Creek area by Hyak (we went there this past summer), bought a one-day Sno-Park pass, and bundled up for a little hike together. The boys insisted upon bringing their shovels because they wanted to dig, so with Mieke strapped to my chest and a shovel in each hand, we made the approximately one-mile snowy hike out to the pond and mountain viewpoint.
In hindsight, we probably should have had snowshoes to make things a little easier, but luckily the snow pack was pretty solid, so we didn’t have a hard time making our way out there. Honestly, it was heavenly. The air was so fresh, the sky was intermittently cloudy with spots of beautifully clear sunlight. A storm was brewing, so the wind was brisk, and we just soaked up every ounce of it. The boys dug, built a baby snowman, made snow angels, and ran around like little madmen. For Mieke, this was her first time experiencing snow, and she loved it – until she stuck her little hand in it 😉
It amazes me that a winter wonderland is less than two hours from base, and all it takes is a little bit of wherewithal to get out there and start playing in the snow at the Snoqualmie Pass. If you’re in the area and dreaming of winter, it’s within reach! Here’s what you need to know:
- Your normal Northwest Pass is not valid for parking in the winter; you’ll need to purchase either a one-day or annual Sno-Park pass onsite or online – they’re $20 or $40, respectively
- If you have snowshoes, bring them! It will make your hike a bit easier
- Dogs are welcome
- The easiest accessible snow areas without paying for resort fees are the Gold Creek/Hyak area, away from the summit
So, tell me – do you love playing in the snow as much as we do?